Late-night hosts on Trump’s budget: ‘Make the poor live on squirrel meat again’

Comics, including Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, discussed the budget cuts in the presidents latest proposal, which would affect many of his core voters

Late-night hosts on Tuesday took aim at the Trump administrations latest budget proposal and its extreme cuts affecting poorer citizens.

On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert spoke about the name that its been given: A New Foundation for American Greatness. Hes building that foundation out of the ground-up bones of poor people, he joked.

The budget proposes cuts to programs that wold help feed and provide medical care to children. I know this is an unpopular opinion these days, but I believe that children should go to the doctor and eat, he said.

What he found strange is that the whole thing is particularly cruel to one minority group in particular: Trumps voters, which led Colbert to develop a new slogan for Trump: Make the poor live on squirrel meat again.

He also spoke about the proposed reduction to the National Cancer Institute. Trump said wed be sick of winning and hes ready to deliver on the first half of that sentence, he said.

Another cut would be to the Centers for Disease Control. Whenever that thing inside of Steve Bannon bursts out and goes airborne, we will not be prepared to handle it, Colbert joked.

He briefly discussed new reports that Trump had hoped to muddy the waters in regards to the Russia investigation. Muddy the waters also Trumps environmental policy, he said.

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, the host spoke about the former CIA chief John Brennan confirming that there was contact between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. However, still no contact between Donald and Melania, Meyers said.

He also took aim at the grand title of the new budget. Boy, you can tell that from the name Trump loves this budget, he said. When he doesnt love something, hell give it a boring name like Eric.

Trumps first foreign visit is also to include a visit with the pope. I cant wait to ask him why he wears that ridiculous thing on his head, said the pope, Meyers joked.

Finally, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host spoke about how Sean Spicer feels about having Trump leave the country. Lets just say he had the first good week on the job in quite some time, he said.

He then showcased a spoof trailer, imagining Spicer as Tom Cruises character in Risky Business as the freaker of the house. It was called Spicy Business.


Good guy dad used putty to save this turtle’s life

A turtle’s shell is essential to their protection. A damaged shell makes the creature vulnerable, and can even sometimes be fatal.

Luckily, there are heroes that care about the wellbeing of our scaly friends, like this Reddit user’s father.

On Monday, Daniel Hollenback who goes by the username Sublimebro uploaded photos to Reddit of a turtle whose injuries were healed thanks to his father’s efforts. The tiny turtle came back a year later looking better than ever.

Adorably, the Reddit user’s father presumably the above mentioned Ken marked a “Ken’s Body Shop” on the putty patch.

Although Ken’s writing didn’t survive, the turtle thankfully did, and people made car repair jokes about it.

Most importantly, Hollenback’s father handled the situation just like an animal lover should.

This dad apparently has a history of performing heroic animal deeds. Hollenback uploaded a video of his father playing with a raccoon that they rescued from their attic with the intention to relocate.

Faith in humanity and animals has been restored.

WATCH: Korean families separated for more than 60 years are reunited


Watch Jim Parsons tell white lies to help puppies find forever homes.

Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” joined “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert to help some delightful doggos find homes.

An estimated 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters each year, so Parsons and Colbert were not above a few funny falsehoods to help some puppies from New York’s North Shore Animal League find loving families during a hilarious segment on Colbert’s show.

There’s Max, the retriever mix who thought up the idea for Uber before anyone else.

He probably could’ve pulled it off if the Series A funding round went better.

Little Penny is a dachshund/miniature pinscher mix and a fashion maven.

She insists cargo pants are making a comeback. (Don’t hold it against her.)

The life story of border collie mix Jack Reacher was recently adapted for the big screen.

Sadly, test audiences didn’t care for a dog shooting humans, so the lead role went to Tom Cruise. Hollywood, amirite?

And sweet Lola is a shepherd mix who is great with kids though be warned, she’s a moon-landing denier.

Please go easy on the Neil Armstrong stanning in her presence. She’s not buying it.

The rest of the segment was filled with armloads of truly amazing doggos.

All of the puppies in the segment are adoptable, so if you’re in the New York tri-state area and looking for a new furry family member with a beautiful and mysterious past, check out North Shore for more information.


If You Love Your Pet, Why Do You Eat Animals?

All Animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. This famous quote from George Orwells The Animal Farm shouldnt of course be taken literally, but lets be beautifully ignorant for a moment and take the line at face value.

First people were gatherers and hunters. When animals or food/vegetables were scarce, our ancestors moved along to a new, uninhabited place and lived there until all the resources ran out. Once those were gone, they moved again. Nowadays such an existence is hard to fathom for various reasons, but I want to stress one: theres just no uncivilized places left to discover. Our life is organized. Instead of hunting we shop (although sometimes its hard to spot the difference), while those who travel are frowned upon, as they invade spaces inhabited by someone else. As promising as a long discussion of migration is, especially in regards to whats happening in Europe, the topic of this article is the modern version of hunting and the morality behind it.

Shopping is the organizing element of capitalist society. To eat you must buy. Even when wanting to grow your own food, you need to pay for the land, the seeds, the water, etc. Obviously, thats the hard way. The easy way is to just buy food in eye-pleasing packages and containers. The food in our shopping basket is emotion- and labor-free. The Marxian division of the worker and the product of his work is nowhere truer than in the food industry. This also applies to meat, as the suffering is hidden from our eye, so its easy to assume that no sacrifice was involved in the production of a delicious chicken wing or a strip of bacon.

The de-personalization of meat is in great opposition to the very individual character of pets. Specialists urge us to think twice about making the right decision regarding our future dog or cat. The decision should obviously be character- and not looks-based, yet people are often unable to handle the dominant Yorkshire Terrier who pees in their bed, or the American Staffordshire Terrier who eventually bites someone because they did not raise him to be a loving and cuddly dog that it naturally is. In result, pounds are overcrowded with dogs and cats, whose owners failed them.

Still, these dogs and cats are at least given a chance. This chance is completely people-dependent, often based on pure luck, and yet, its more than other animals usually get. Cows prefer to live in herds, and they form strong social relations with other cows. A cow is only able to constantly produce milk by staying in the cycle of pregnancy-birth-pregnancy. Thats why usually after just four years the cow is useless and sent to a slaughterhouse, despite being able to live up to twenty. After being born, the calf is almost immediately taken away from his mother and dependent on its sex, sent to slaughter (boy) or grouped with other calves (girl) to repeat the same cycle as its mother. When their child is taken away, mothers cry. Very loud. The same is true for sheep and goats. Chickens also live in flocks, but its hard to decipher their emotions. And dont even get started on fish, who clearly dont suffer, because if they would, they would find a way to inform us about it, right?

Unless youre able to hurt kittens or puppies in which case, fuck you try taking them away from their mothers just as they were born. Their mothers would fight for them tooth and nail. Since cows arent able to do that, its safe to assume that they dont care that much for them. As for their children, in what way is eating veal that much different from eating a kitten or a puppy? Because they are bigger? Or maybe dumber, because they dont react when being called by their name? If that is the case, my dogs must be among the dumbest pets in history.

Historian Eric Baratay in Le point de vue animal. Une autre version de lhistorie tries to present history from the point of view of animals. He focuses on the artificial classification and control exhibited by humans. For example, before domestication, pigs were very mobile, while todays pigs can barely walk. The same is true about todays cows or horses, which are the result of crossbreeding, genetically modified to fit mans purposes. According to Baratay one of the most visible examples of the change of attitude toward pets/animals is the way they are buried, as once an animal is seen as an actor its impossible to simply dismember its corpse and throw it away.

Its estimated that people eat around 146 billion animals a year. In the United States 99 percent of annually slaughtered animals come from factory farming. Theyre confined since birth, often not seeing the light of day throughout their short, suffering-filled lives. Its safe to assume that not for one moment do their experience happiness. Words like factory or industry farming hide the fact that they feel and live. If someone would treat cats or dogs the way we allow pigs or chickens to be treated, he or she would be sentenced to prison just like Michael Vick. The football player was universally ostracized, because he treated pets like other people treat animals, and it was only because he was raised in a culture that allowed for that type of classification. Im not a member of his offensive line to defend him, but his case proves that theres something very wrong in the way we classify beings.

The division between animal and pet is very artificial and culture-based. In some parts of Asia dogs are animals, because theyre food. In Polish language a different word applies to the death of a human (zmar died) and an animal/pet (zdech dropped dead). Language allows us to feel safe in the world if were able to name something, we know it, hence have no reason to be afraid of it. When something is unknown hence has no name or classification its something to be afraid of or, in the case of animals, ignore. Well never be able to fully understand them, as they never allow to be fully understood. They dont want to get to know us, spend time with us or simply like us, and quite frankly, its hard to blame them.

William S. Burroughs was right in claiming that language is a virus from outer space. The language that we speak also influences our morality. Julie Sedivys article in Scientific American shows how peoples perception of events changes when the events are presented in a foreign language generally, people tend to be less moral. Since no one speaks animal, its safe to assume that morality must be actually foreign to animals. If that is the case, why should we even care?

In her book,Status Moralny Zwierzt (Moral Status of Animals), Urszula Zarosa introduces the idea of potential sensing referring to not only animals or pets, but people whore in a comatose state, little kids and the elderly so those who lack a fully-formed conscience. Theres just no way to differentiate between all of those living beings, so why should they be treated differently? Animals have no obligations towards humans and vice versa. The best thing we could do for them is to simply let them be and accept them for who not what they are. What we call them shouldnt be important, as opposed to what they feel.


Paddington Bear author Michael Bond dies aged 91

Creator of marmalade-loving bear from Peru, whose last story was published in April, has died after a short illness

Michael Bond, the creator of the beloved childrens character Paddington Bear, has died aged 91.

Bond, who published his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, about the marmalade-loving bear from deepest, darkest Peru, in 1958, died at home after a short illness.

The author, born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1926, kept writing until his death. His most recent Paddington story, Paddingtons Finest Hour, was published in April.

His daughter, Karen Jankel, told the Guardian the whole world was lucky to have had her father, whose legacy would live on for ever through his creation.

A statement from publisher HarperCollins said: It is with great sadness that we announce that Michael Bond, CBE, the creator of one of Britains best-loved childrens characters, Paddington, died at home yesterday aged 91 following a short illness.

Jankel said: Its a shock to everybody. For me, he was the most wonderful father you can imagine, so obviously our loss is personal. But its wonderful that hes left the legacy of his books and Paddington that will live on for ever, which is really very special.

The whole world is lucky to have had him Paddington himself is so real to all of us. Hes still a part of our family and were very lucky.

Jankel said it was incredible that her father was still writing up until his death.

For him, writing was his life. It was wonderful he could continue writing until the end, she said. Because Paddington and his other characters were so real to him, he became alive to everybody else.

You can tell just by reading his books what a lovely person he was. I never came across anybody who disliked my father. He was one of those people that people instinctively warmed to and he was as funny as a person and delightful as he was in his writing and as a father.

Tributes poured in from figures in the literary and entertainment industry.

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown in the film adaptation and its sequel, set for release later this year, said in a statement: It seems particularly poignant that we should learn of dear Michael Bonds death on the last day of shooting our second film about his unique, loveable creation.

In Paddington, Michael created a character whose enthusiasm and optimism has given pleasure to millions across the generations.

Michael will be greatly missed by his legions of fans and especially by his wife, Sue, his family and of course by his beloved guinea pigs. He leaves a special legacy: long live the bear from darkest Peru.

Presenter and writer Stephen Fry tweeted: So sorry to hear that Michael Bond has departed. He was as kindly, dignified, charming & lovable as the immortal Paddington Bear he gave us.

Childrens author and comedian David Walliams wrote: I had the great pleasure of spending time with #MichaelBond A dazzling wit & perfect gentleman.

On meeting him I realised he was #Paddington.

Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry series, said: Michael Bond created that infinitely rare thing: an iconic, utterly original, instantly recognisable and memorable character. He was one of the greats.

The novelist Matt Haig, who worked on the Paddington film, said: Michael Bond created an icon of childrens fiction. The Peruvian immigrant bear is one of the quirkiest but somehow most emotionally real childrens characters, both fantastical and domestic. We should all have a marmalade sandwich in honour of his creator.

As well as Paddington, Bond created characters including Olga da Polgaand A Mouse Called Thursday along with a series of novels for adults, featuring the detective Monsieur Pamplemousse.

More than 35m Paddington books have been sold worldwide, spawning toys, TV programmes and most recently the films.

Ann-Janine Murtagh, HarperCollinss executive publisher of childrens books, said: I feel privileged to have been Michael Bonds publisher he was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers.

He will be for ever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffel coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations. My thoughts and love are with his wife, Sue, and his children, Karen and Anthony.


A potentially rabid squirrel is terrorizing residents of Brooklyn

Residents in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, are on high alert for an tiny rodent terrorizing the neighborhood.

New York City Health Department warns locals that there is a potentially rabid squirrel on the loose that has attacked and bitten at least five people on separate occasions. Although squirrels rarely have rabies, officials urge those who have been bitten to seek medical treatment.

According to the New York Daily News, all the squirrel attacks occurred near the Parkside and Ocean Ave. entrance to the park. Four of the five bite victims have been identified, and authorities want the fifth person, bitten while jogging, to come forward to help catch this crazed creature.

One of the bite victims is 7-year-old Maria Guerrero. According to WABC7, Guerrero’s family said the squirrel leaped into the air and sank its teeth into the child’s arm, completely unprovoked. When Guerrero’s dad tried to pry the animal from his daughter’s arm, it relentlessly came back for more, attacking two more times before climbing up a nearby tree. WABC7 correspondent N. J. Burkett tweeted photos of Guerrero’s bitten and bandaged arm following the attack.

The young girl said that the creature looked like a “flying squirrel” because of the way it leaped onto her arm. She needed stitches and is being treated preventably for rabies.

Another victim, Leku Percival, shot a video feeding the squirrel when it bit him on the fingertip. He said he’s convinced that this is the same crazed squirrel that is terrorizing the neighborhood. Although he has not seen a doctor, after hearing warnings from health officials, he plans to get checked out within the next 24 hours.

City officials have begun posting flyers around the neighborhood urging residents to report any other squirrel attacks, and to seek medical attention immediately if bitten.

Brooklynites are taking caution from the animal, while, of course, making some jokes in the meantime.

The squirrel has not yet been caught, but health officials say that if the creature actually does have rabies, it’s probably dead by now.

If you see something, say something, and get this squirrel in cuffs.

WATCH: The touching, true tale of how a tiger and goat became best friends


In the chaos of Harvey, people brave rising floodwaters to rescue animals

Volunteers help shelter dogs out of flooded Houston.
Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

After Hurricane Harvey made landfall last week it wasn’t just the people scrambling to safety and away from rising flood waters — pets, farm animals, and wildlife needed help, too.

Stories and heartwarming images keep coming in of dogs gathered onto boats, horses freed from flooded paddocks, and pets reunited with their families. Good Samaritans are all about saving the furry creatures of Houston.

Save the mutts

A load of 35 shelter dogs were flown from Texas to Seattle to make room in Texas shelters for displaced pets. The rescue transfer helps families find their pets amid the flooding and keeps shelter dogs out of the flood zone.

A dog stranded on a car roof outside a Houston home was also brought to safety after a few rescue attempts.

The U.S. Coast Guard airlifted families and their pets to safety over the weekend.

Neighbors took in these dogs that had to be left behind during a rescue. The owner posted that the family reunited with them once it was safe to return.

PETA has been on a mission to rescue dogs from flooded homes and kennels.

And so many braved the waters to save dogs.

Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Image: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Don’t forget the kitties

Volunteers scooped up wet cats caught up and left behind in flooded homes.

Cat saved from flood waters.

Image: John Glaser/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

This woman held on tight to her cat, Gigi, after the pair were rescued in a boat.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Rabbits, parrots, and squirrels, too

Beyond cats and dogs, other pets and wildlife were saved in the deluge. 

A rabbit made it to a rescue boat after it was found floating in a flooded Houston apartment complex.

Rescue the rabbit!

Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A few feathers were ruffled, but this pet parrot was spared from the historic storm.


Even hundreds of baby squirrels displaced by the storm found help at a wildlife rescue center in Austin. 

Where’s Noah’s ark when you need it?

WATCH: Smiling rescued donkey is so happy to be back on solid ground


House Panel Considers Ban on Killing Dogs and Cats for Meals

  • Pet-slaughter prohibitions would be be extended nationwide
  • Dog-and-cat eating rare in U.S., angers animal-welfare groups

Making a meal out of a dog or a cat may soon land you in jail.

An amendment added Wednesday to a farm bill that was approved by the House Agriculture Committee would bar people from "knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption," as well as transporting or participating in other commercial activity related to eating pet meat.

Dog and cat slaughter is extremely rare in the U.S. and already prohibited in commercial slaughterhouses. But consumption of animals commonly considered as pets and companions in American culture still takes place among some immigrant groups. Only a handful of states, including New York, New Jersey and California, ban such small-scale butchering.

Violators would be subject to up to a year of imprisonment, a fine, or both. The proposal would be part of a reauthorization of Agriculture Department programs.

Organizations including the Humane Society of the United States have been crusading against dog-and-cat slaughter worldwide, with acting President Kitty Block calling the farm bill an "ideal vehicle" for advancing the ban. The amendment by Republican Representative Jeff Denham of California is similar to a bill introduced by Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida that has 239 co-sponsors.

The $867 billion farm bill approved by the House Agriculture panel would reauthorize all U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, including farm subsidies and food stamps. A new law is due by Sept. 30, when existing programs begin to expire. The Senate Agriculture Committee has yet to consider a proposal.


Isle of Dogs review Wes Anderson’s scintillating stop-motion has bite

Marooning a pack of dogs on a dystopian Japanese island, the auteurs new animation is an inspiringly detailed and surprisingly rough-edged treat

Its well known that for Wes Anderson, the world is one big toy box. The prodigious American auteur proved that with his last feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which turned its human cast into comic puppets placed in a gorgeously crafted train-set universe. Now he proves it again if anything, more extravagantly with Isle of Dogs, an animation which, like its predecessor, opens the Berlin film festival in scintillating style.

Anderson has tried his hand at stop-motion animation before with the Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox, but this new talking-animal entertainment is considerably more sophisticated and ambitious. Its set in a near-future Japan, where Kobayashi (voiced by Kunichi Nomura, one of the films co-writers), the corrupt mayor of fictional city Megasaki, has taken draconian measures to curb the spread of various canine diseases, including the dreaded snout fever. He orders all Megasakis dogs to be exiled to a bleak island, essentially a huge offshore trashpile.

Life there looks hopeless for its exiles until they get a visit from Kobayashis intrepid 12-year-old ward Atari (Koyu Rankin), in search of his beloved, long-lost Spots. A band of mutts led by battle-scarred stray Chief (Bryan Cranston) help Atari on his mission, which involves exploring the scarier parts of the island, a mix of industrial wasteland and abandoned funfair, with fully functioning mechanised parts. Meanwhile, a pro-dog student group including moppet-like American visitor Tracy (Greta Gerwig) are rising up against Kobayashi, with the help of research scientist Yoko Ono (voiced by Yoko Ono).

Visually and thematically, Isle of Dogs is steeped in contemporary Japanese pop culture and futuristic iconography, but it also draws on traditional influences not least in its witty allusions to Hokusai and other classic art. The result could have come across as shameless cultural tourism, but the film suggests real immersion in Japanese culture and cinema, with Akira Kurosawas epics an avowed model. Anderson also plays his linguistic hand subtly and wittily, leaving the Japanese dialogue largely untranslated rather than cater too obviously to the western audience.

Meanwhile, the dogs dialogue is performed in English by assorted western stars, including Anderson alumni Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton, along with Jeff Goldblum as the gossip-loving Duke. Scarlett Johansson also voices Nutmeg, a former show dog whos tougher than her silky fur suggests. She is Chiefs opposite number in a tentative Lady and the Tramp courtship, but their banter has a hardboiled edge of Bogart and Bacall.

Photograph: Youtube

The puppet dogs expressive eyes may occasionally well up with tears, but if theres one thing that Isle of Dogs isnt, its twee; Anderson and his story collaborators, who also include Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, firmly eschew the Japanese cult of kawaii, or cuteness. Visually, the styling favours the rough-edged plenty of scabs, ripped ears and torn fur. Shot at Londons 3 Mills Studios and Berlins Babelsberg, the film which also includes some traditional hand-drawn cartooning – is a breakneck succession of dazzlingly executed sight gags, including tooth-and-claw fights shrouded in thick cotton wool clouds. The character design is brilliant, too although not all the dogs emerge as individuals, and the laidback dialogue style means that the voices dont always differentiate them that much.

Still, the production design is consistently inspired and often quite beautiful: rippling glittery seas, a line of elongated doggie shadows marching along a wall of garbage, a multi-coloured hideout made of discarded sake bottles. There is so much detail in the breakneck race from image to image that Isle of Dogs will reward multiple viewings as much as any Anderson film, visually if not narratively. Alexandre Desplats minimalist score is also a pleasure, mixing taiko drumming, laconic jazz bass and the occasional dash of Prokofiev.

As with much of the directors work, you shouldnt expect a huge emotional payoff, and the one-liners are often as dry as Bonio. But this hugely enjoyable package shows an indefatigably fertile imagination letting rip in inimitable style and packing an eco-themed, antibigotry message as well. You can rest assured, Anderson aint selling us no pup.


Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up review luscious harmonies and lyrical heaviness

The bands third album is alternately intriguing and irritating, garlanded with wonderful orchestrations, gorgeous melodies and their trademark pretensions

Over on a website where music fans annotate lyrics Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold has recently been hard at work explaining his own song Third of May/daigahara. A track from the bands latest album, it now features 27 annotations in Pecknolds hand, covering everything from its allusions to the paintings of Goya to its use of homophones. There are even three paragraphs devoted to the songs structure: The first section of Third of May progresses linearly in time, describing events that did unfold but from some time in the future, until the final breakdown, when I sing the Was I too slow / Did I change overnight down an octave. Thats a voice that is meant to be from even later in time than the voice that has been singing the first section of the song, that the character isnt introspective to that extent until later on.

There is a compelling argument that Pecknold might have used the time he spent explaining his lyrics to instead write something more straightforward. But you can see why he felt he needed to offer some clarification of whats going on on Crack-Up. The album was recorded after a four-year hiatus, during which Pecknold studied at Columbia University and Fleet Foxes former drummer Josh Tillman unexpectedly became one of alt-rocks most intriguing stars. Understandably, some critics have been keen to contrast Crack-Up with Pure Comedy, Tillmans latest album as Father John Misty, but it seems to bear more comparison to Bon Ivers 22, A Million, another wilfully abstruse record made by an American alt-rocker who is disproportionately unsettled by a modicum of fame. On Crack-Ups predecessor, Helplessness Blues, Pecknold spent a lot of time fantasising about jacking it all in to live on a deserted island, or to run an orchard. Now, he seems to have decided he can continue but only if the music he makes takes a determined left turn.

Watch the trailer for Crack-Up on YouTube

The lyrics on both albums are elliptical and dense Crack-Up is clotted with literary and historical references, to F Scott Fitzgerald, Knut Hamsun, the US civil war, ancient Egypt, the philippics of Cicero, Katie Prices Perfect Ponies: Ponies to the Rescue, Book 6, etc. But while 22, A Million saw Justin Vernon warping his music and voice with electronic effects borrowed from cutting-edge R&B and dance music, Crack-Up takes a more organic approach to alienation. Unable to stop himself writing gorgeous melodies the album is full of beautiful passages of music, garlanded with Fleet Foxes trademark luscious harmonies and wonderful orchestrations Pecknold instead opts to repeatedly short-circuit them. At its most straightforward, Crack-Up features a digressive, segmented, prog-rock-style take on the sound of the bands first two albums, with mixed results. The most uncomplicated song here, Kept Woman, might also be the best, but theres no doubt that sometimes, abandoning the standard verse-chorus structure in favour of a more episodic approach leads to stunning juxtapositions. Take the lovely moment when Fools Errand suddenly shifts tempo midway through, slowing down as if exhaling; the way Naiads, Cassadies drifts into a wonderfully orchestrated instrumental passage; and the slow dissolve at the end of If You Need to, Keep Time on Me, where the song vanishes beneath a twinkling piano figure.

Watch the video for If You Need to, Keep Time on Me on the bands YouTube channel

On other occasions, songs are allowed to ramble without really going anywhere. More than once, the listener is subjected to the depressing sensation of looking at the time elapsed and realising that the track seems to have been playing a lot longer than it actually has. And sometimes Fleet Foxes feel as if they might be buckling under the weight of their own pretensions. Its not entirely clear whether Pecknolds solemn intoning of the lyric on I Should See Memphis sybarite women stood at attention, pacing the basement like Cassius in Rome, or in KINSHASA! is intended to be as funny as it is, whether its a parody of a portentous self-important singer-songwriter, or just sounds like one.

Other tracks are more aggressively disjointed, jumping from one section to another in a style that a charitable voice might suggest recalls the daring splices Brian Wilson made on the Beach Boys Smile always a Fleet Foxes touchstone and a less charitable voice might say sounds remarkably like someone randomly jabbing at the pause button. I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar, plonked at the start of the album in you-have-been-warned style, cuts from (deep breath) a lo-fi recording of dirgelike acoustic guitar and mumbled vocals, to discordant strings to a melange of propulsive rhythms and harmonies interpolated seemingly at random with more lo-fi acoustic mumbling to a hushed guitar and vocal interlude, to a field recording of Pecknold singing to himself as walks, to the sound of splashing water, to a recording of schoolchildren singing White Winter Hymnal, a song from Fleet Foxes eponymous debut album. It is alternately beautiful, intriguing and quite irritating, as bands turning inward and indulgent are wont to be. Indeed, you can say the same thing about Crack-Up as a whole.


A shelter made online dating profiles for 22 animals. The results are adorable.

Anyone who’s ever been on Tinder knows having a cute animal in the photo is usually a big hit.

But what if Tinder profile photos only featured that cute animal? And what if, instead of a millennial would-be hooker-upper, it was the adorable dog or cat itself looking for true love?

That’s an idea some animal shelters are toying with.

“We are always trying to come up with … creative new ways to get our shelter dogs out in front of potential adopters,” says Karen Hirsch, public relations director at LifeLine Animal Project in Georgia.

And experimenting with online dating for dogs and cats might just be working.

The harsh world of pet adoption is extremely competitive: About 6.5 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters every year, each seeking a good forever home. It’s too big a need for shelter operators to just sit back and hope they all get adopted.

That’s why you see adorable dogs on display outside the grocery store, partnerships with Uber that will bring puppies directly to you for playtime, and aww-inspiring social media campaigns like dogs in pajamas.

An estimated 50 million people worldwide use Tinder. So LifeLine and other shelters and rescues figure why not give it a shot?

After all, people using online dating apps are already looking for love and companionship — just maybe a slightly different kind.

Hirsch says they recently created profiles for 22 of their dogs and cats.

Photo by LifeLine Animal Project, used with permission.

Animal profiles are also showing up on Bumble, which is home to another 20 million users or so.

Like sweet Penelope here.

Photo by LifeLine Animal Project, used with permission.

Each pet is assigned to a volunteer who creates the profile and handles the conversations after a match.

“In a crowded shelter, pets often get overlooked, but on a dating app, the animal becomes an individual,” Hirsch says. “People learn about them and form a ‘virtual’ attachment.”

Photo by LifeLine Animal Project, used with permission.

Plus the witty banter is oodles of fun.

Photo by LifeLine Animal Project, used with permission.

For LifeLine, the experiment is still new. But Hirsch says people are responding to it incredibly well so far.

At the very least, Tinder and Bumble have proven to be great for word-of-mouth awareness-building on the importance of adopting shelter pets. The animals are getting dozens of matches. Hirsch says there have been more than a few online adoption inquiries, as well as people coming into the shelter to meet their “match” in person.

She also notes that one of the matches even became a regular volunteer at LifeLine.

This new animal dating idea has another upside for apps — and the people using them, too.

Dating experts are finding that people are getting burned out by online dating. Between “ghosting,” “cushioning,” “the slow fade,” and a bunch more of those annoying slang terms, humans out there are wondering if dating apps are even worth the effort.

For romantic love, who knows?

But now that you might just meet the dog or cat of your dreams, that’s not a bad reason to keep on swiping.


We aspire to be as happy as this little girl with a group of puppies

One young girl bravely defended herself against the gentle forces of cute from seven furry puppies and their tiny wet kisses. But sadly, in the end, she lost the adorable battle. 

Proud mom Emily Rook shared an adorable photo of her 8-year-old daughter Sofia, cuddling with a band of precious pups at their local animal shelter. 

Rook, an animal care technician, told Mashable that the picture was taken at the Humane Society of Washington County in Maryland. 

“The shelter was founded in 1921 and continues to care for a wide variety of domestic animals to this day,” CEO Kim Intino told Mashable. “Ms. Rook, upon supervisor permission, brought Sofia to help out during a bring your daughter to work day.” 

According to Rook, little Sofia accompanied her to work at the shelter to help feed and offer company to the animals before they were adopted. 

“This is not typical since the official age to volunteer is 12,” Rook told Mashable. “Sofia helps me with the fosters we take in.” 

Image: emily rook

Image: emily rook

Rook and Sofia have been fostering four-legged friends for more than four years and currently host 10 foster animals, many of which have come from neglectful and abusive homes or shelters. 

Image: emily rook

Sofia’s love for animals prompted her to take on different roles in caring for her furry friends, including feeding kittens and playing with animals in need of socialization and rehabilitation. 

“She is truly an animal whisperer and connects with them in a way that still amazes me,” said Rook. 

According to Rook, Sofia’s plans for the future have animal care written all over it. 

“Sofia wants to always foster animals that need help and would like to work in the shelter environment when she gets older after getting a veterinarian degree,” Rook said. 

We certainly have no doubt this little hero will do great things.  

Image: emily rook


They Added A Photo Filter When Taking Pictures With Their Pets This Is Hilarious

While Snapchat has been around for a while now, filters and their popularity have definitely grown recently. The technology allows you to digitally transform your face with everything from ears to full-on goofy disguises. At times, the results are hilarious…but sometimes, it’s just plain weird.

Just as taking selfies made its way to the animal kingdom, so have Snapchat filters. As you could imagine, the photos are pretty ridiculous:

Now give me sultry.

“I wear my sunglasses at night.”

“How do ya like my ‘stache?”

Everyone looks pretty unsure here.

This might give me nightmares.

This cat-bunny is a lil’ scary.

This is what happens when the cat pulls an all-nighter.


This dog is going to Coachella.

No one should use this panda filter.

If you’ve ever considered putting makeup on your dog, here’s proof for why you shouldn’t.

“Ma’am, do you know why I clawed your face?”


Here comes (unhappy) Peter Cottontail!

Fluffy’s feeling a bit zombie-like this morning.

I’m so glad cats and rabbits don’t look like this.

Harry Catter, is that you?

Doggy filter inception.

Well that’s not particularly flattering.

Awww, don’t cry!

Either way, she’s a cutie.

(via Bored Panda)

Have you ever used Snapchat filters on your fur friends? Share your photos in the comments!


Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever and the ones I can’t bear

He groaned at Valkyrie and despaired at Saving Private Ryan. The award-winning historian takes aim at the war films that make him furious and reveals his own favourite

For a long time now, my wife has refused to watch a war movie with me. This is because I cannot stop grinding my teeth with annoyance at major historical mistakes, or harrumphing over errors of period detail. She only made an exception when Valkyrie came out, with Tom Cruise playing Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg. Such a folly of miscasting was bound to be a hoot, and we were not disappointed, especially when Cruise saluted in that downward cutaway style as if he were still in Top Gun. But I was soon grinding away again when the director and screenwriter felt compelled to improve on history, by making it look as if the 20 July plot to blow up Hitler had still very nearly succeeded.

I despair at the way American and British movie-makers feel they have every right to play fast and loose with the facts, yet have the arrogance to imply that their version is as good as the truth. Continental film-makers are on the whole far more scrupulous. The German film Downfall, about Hitlers last days in the bunker, respected historical events and recreated them accurately.

The corruption of combat The 317th Platoon, regarded as the greatest war movie ever by Beevor. Photograph: Allstar/RANK

In my view, the greatest war movie ever made is The 317th Platoon, a French film from 1965 set during the countrys first Indochina war. This was the original platoon movie, whose format later directors followed but failed to match in its portrayal of characters and their interaction, to say nothing of the moral choices and the corruption of combat. It is followed closely by 1966s The Battle of Algiers, set during the Algerian war of independence. This was one of the first war films to adopt a quasi-documentary approach, and tackle the moral quagmire of torture justified by the need to save lives.

More recent imitators lack all intellectual honesty. They throw dates and place names on to the screen as if what you are about to see is a faithful reproduction of events, when they are simply trying to pass off their fiction as authentic. This is basically a marketing ploy that has developed over the last 20 years or so. Unfortunately, fake authenticity sells. People are more likely to want to see something they think is very close to the truth, so they can feel they are learning as well as being entertained. In a post-literate society, the moving image is king, and most peoples knowledge of history is regrettably based more on cinematic fiction than archival fact.

There are many examples of shameless deception, such as the notorious U-571, in which a US warship is shown to capture a German submarine and seize its Enigma decoding machine, thus enabling the Allies to win the battle of the Atlantic. Right at the end, in the credits, a brief text admitted that in fact it had been the crew of a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Bulldog, that performed the feat seven months before the US entered the war.

Shameless deception U-571 sees the US triumph in a war it had yet to enter. Photograph: PA

When promoting Enemy at the Gates, a fictitious sniper duel set in Stalingrad, Paramount Pictures even had the gall to claim: One bullet can change the course of history. I hasten to add that, even though Jean-Jacques Annaud invited me to come out to Germany to watch the filming, the movie had nothing to do with my book Stalingrad and I was not an adviser in any form.

The director was trying to woo me and persuade me not to be too severe on the question of truth, because we had found in the Russian ministry of defence archives that the whole story of the sniper duel portrayed by Jude Law and Ed Harris had been a clever figment of Soviet propaganda. I liked Annaud, but in the end I was not popular, of course, because Paramount had bought the movie as a true story. His great line was: But Antony, who can tell where myth begins and truth ends?

The real problem is that the needs of history and the needs of the movie industry are fundamentally incompatible. Hollywood has to simplify everything according to set formulae. Its films have to have heroes and, of course, baddies moral equivocation is too complex. Feature films also have to have a whole range of staple ingredients if they are to make it through the financing, production and studio system to the box office. One element is the arc of character, in which the leading actors have to go through a form of moral metamorphosis as a result of the experiences they undergo. Endings have to be upbeat, even for the Holocaust. Look at Schindlers List and the sentimentality of its finale, revealing that in movies only the survivors count.

The true story that wasnt Jude Law as a sniper in Enemy at the Gates. Photograph: Allstar/Paramount

I was asked by a large-circulation American weekly magazine to review Saving Private Ryan. My piece was spiked since it did not share the widespread adulation, and I still shake my head in disbelief when it is regularly voted the best war movie ever. It is nevertheless a work of intriguing paradoxes some intended, others not. Steven Spielbergs storyline rightly dramatises the clash between patriotic and therefore collective loyalty, and the struggle of the individual for survival. Those mutually contradictory values are, in many ways, the essence of war.

Spielberg said at the time that he sees the second world war as the defining moment in history. One also suspects that he wanted this film to be seen as the defining movie of the war. If so, it is a uniquely American definition of history, with no reference to the British let alone the Soviet role.

Eight US rangers under the command of a captain, having survived the initial D-day bloodbath, are detailed to seek out and save a single man, Private Ryan. The Hollywood notion of creativity often takes the form of cinematic ancestor worship but in this case, it is images and effects that are recycled. Spielberg may not even have included them consciously but, during the landing, the blood in the water in the first machine-gunning prompts memories of Jaws, another Spielberg film. And German Tiger tanks can indeed appear like prehistoric monsters, but when the sound effects of their approach later in the film resemble that of the Tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park, it all seems too much.

After a truly extraordinary opening probably the most realistic battle sequence ever filmed everything changes and becomes formulaic. The climax combines just about every cliche in the book, with a very mixed handful of men (almost a la Dirty Dozen) improvising weapons to defend a vital bridge against an SS Panzer counterattack. The redeemed coward and the cynic reduced to tears both ticking the arc of character box are straight out of central screenwriting. The US air force arrives in the nick of time, just like the cavalry in 1950s cowboy films. And to cap it all, the final frames are of Private Ryan, standing in old age amid the rows of white crosses in a military cemetery, saluting his fallen comrades as tears run down his cheeks.

So what, apart from milking our tear ducts with both hands, was Spielberg really trying to do? Was his revolutionary approach to realism the special effects and stunt teams make up the largest blocks in the credits simply an attempt to conceal a deeply conservative message, as some commentators claimed?

It was not quite as simple as that. Amid the horror of war, Spielberg seems to be trying to rediscover American innocence, that Holy Grail that existed only in the Rousseau-esque imagination yet was virtually incorporated into the constitution. Spielberg, like other Hollywood directors of the time, came from a generation scarred by the moral quagmire of Vietnam. He understood the national need, in the post-cold war chaos, to reach back to more certain times, seeking reassurance from that moment in history the second world war when the fight seemed unequivocally right. Tell me Ive led a good life, says the weeping veteran in the cemetery to his wife. Tell me Im a good man.

A stinker Mel Gibson in The Patriot. Photograph: Allstar/Columbia Pictures

You are, she replies, and the music begins to swell, with drum beats and trumpets. This representative of American motherhood appears to be reassuring the US as a whole. She seems to be speaking to a nation unable at that time to come to terms with its role in a disordered world, to a nation that, for all its power, can be bewilderingly naive abroad because it so badly needs to feel good about itself at home.

Even movies ostensibly showing corruption and criminality in the heart of the CIA and the Pentagon have to end on a nationalistic note, with a tiny group of clean, upstanding American liberals saving democracy. And it is, of course, hard to forget The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, that fearless symbol of Brit-bashing films, whether at Gallipoli or all woaded up in the Scottish Highlands as Braveheart.

Andrew Marr rightly called The Patriot, set in the American war of independence, a stinker. As he pointed out: Black Americans, in fact destined to stay slaves thanks to the war, very many of whom enlisted with the British, are shown fighting shoulder to shoulder with their white rebel brothers. The British are portrayed as effete sadists and serial war criminals, just as in other American films. The huge support of the Bourbon French, who helped win the war, is airbrushed out. And the fact that most colonists actually sided with King George is airily forgotten.

We will fight them on the pristine beaches Kenneth Branagh in Dunkirk. Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros.

Patriotism also permeated those British war movies of the 1950s and 60s The Dam Busters, Reach for the Sky, The Cruel Sea, The Heroes of Telemark, The Battle of the River Plate, Cockleshell Heroes. It camouflaged itself in self-deprecation, but the rousing march music in the finale always braced our belief in the rightness of our cause. We have long made fun of all the period cliches, unable to believe that anyone talked like that. But when researching my new book Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, I found that German officers really did say to the British paratroopers taken prisoner: For you the war is over.

One of my favourite remarks, recorded at the time by a junior doctor, is the reaction of Colonel Marrable, the head of an improvised hospital in the Netherlands, when Waffen-SS panzergrenadiers seized the building. Still puffing gently on his pipe, he says to his medical staff: Good show, chaps. Dont take any notice of the Jerries. Carry on as if nothing has happened. I have always been doubtful about the notion of a national character, but a national self-image certainly existed during the war and for some time afterwards. Perhaps that is partly why I do not react so angrily when watching films of that era. Also, they never used that weasel claim based on a true story.

Recent productions are a very different matter. Last years Dunkirk and Darkest Hour were strong Oscar contenders. Yet watching Dunkirk, you would have thought that CGI had not been invented. Where were all those 400,000 men and their discarded equipment on all those miles of empty, pristine beaches? The film also gave the impression that the air battles took place at low level over the sea when, in fact, Fighter Command was counterattacking at altitude and well inland. It also implied that the little ships, as Churchill called them, rescued more soldiers than the Royal Navy warships. Wrong again.

He never set foot on the Tube in his life Gary Oldman takes the underground as Churchill in Darkest Hour. Photograph: Alamy

Darkest Hour had even more historical inaccuracies. Gary Oldman fully deserved the best actor Oscar for his brilliant performance as Churchill, but those responsible for the script get nul points. I fear that anyone who agrees to be a historical adviser for a movie is putting their reputation on the line. The ludicrous scene of Churchill in the underground (where he had never set foot in his life) was not the only howler.

On becoming prime minister in 1940, Churchill remained in the Admiralty, but he generously allowed Chamberlain to carry on in Downing Street. His respectful treatment of his former leader is important because when it came to the crunch with Lord Halifax, over the question of asking the Italians to discover Hitlers peace terms Chamberlain supported Churchill and did not plot against him as the film suggests.

Also, why were so many scenes shot in the bunker war rooms when the Luftwaffe had not yet bombed London? I was so irritated, it was a good thing I saw it on my own. Another visit to the dentist, I fear.


Football crowd loses its mind as speedy squirrel makes it way in for a touchdown

Animals interrupting sporting events are often times even better than the games themselves.

The crowd went wild during a football game between Kent State University and University of Louisville on Saturday – but it wasn’t the players they were rooting for.

A speedy squirrel delayed the game, making his way down the end zone and scoring his first-ever touch down.  

OK, not really, but the crowd and the announcers were excited nonetheless.

Although climbing trees and hunting for nuts have prepared him for this very moment, the little guy soon tired of running and plopped down on the field for a quick rest. 

Fans expressed their adoration on Twitter for the courageous critter. 

This bushy-tailed athlete deserves a spot on any team.


Lions Gate CEO Gets $35.3 Million Pay Package After Starz Deal

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer received $35.3 million in compensation last fiscal year after acquiring Starz LLC and signing an employment contract that keeps him on the job until May 2023.

Feltheimer, 65, got a $1.5 million salary and a $12 million in cash bonus for the year ended March 31, according to a regulatory filing Friday. He also received 2.3 million stock options with a grant-date value of $16.3 million. His package includes a $5.4 million award of restricted stock that was his bonus for the prior fiscal year.

Lions Gate stock jumped 22 percent in the 12 months ended March 31. The studio is riding high on the success of its December release “La La Land,” which generated $445 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Half of the CEO’s options have a strike price that’s 25 percent higher than the closing price on the day the contracts were awarded. All of the award vests annually over five years, starting in May.

An executive at the Santa Monica, California-based company typically only receives an equity award in the year a new employment agreement is signed, the board said in the filing, indicating that Feltheimer’s compensation package will likely be smaller in the 12 months that will end March 31.

Of Feltheimer’s bonus, $7 million was tied to adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and other goals. The remaining $5 million was a special payment after Lions Gate completed its acquisition of Starz in December.

Vice Chairman Michael Burns, who entered into a new job contract keeping him until October 2022, received a $26.9 million pay package.


    This clever photo shoot delivers a hidden message about adopting pets.

    Homeless animals are a major problem all over the world.

    In the U.S., our shelters are jam-packed with millions of cats, dogs, and other furry friends in desperate need of a home. Sadly, far too many of them never find one.

    But in recent years, a powerful slogan has caught on in a major way: “Adopt, don’t shop.”

    Campaigns from places like PETA and the ASPCA encourage families to take home needy animals from shelters instead of buying designer pets from breeders. At least one recent survey shows that it might be working; the majority of Americans considering adding a pet to the family would reportedly be more likely to adopt from a shelter.

    It’s progress, at least.

    Now the idea of adoption as a way to fight animal homelessness is making its way to other parts of the world.

    India, for example home to a mind-boggling 30 million or so stray dogs is in desperate need of a way to shift the way people think about homeless animals.

    That’s why one organization staged a brilliant and emotional photo shoot to combat the problem.

    The photos, shot by World for All, show happy families two parents with a new baby, a young couple in love, a pair of giggling kids.

    But there’s something missing in each photo. Can you spot it?

    Cool, huh?

    The eye-catching ads were created to promote a giant Adoptathon in Mumbai and brought in a ton of extra foot traffic. According to PetaPixel, the Adoptathon was a big success, with over 40 homeless animals finding new homes in just one day.

    Not to mention, the images were a big hit in the photography/design community and with internet users all over the world.

    The message? Pets aren’t accessories. They’re members of our families.

    They need food and shelter. They need affection. But most of all, they need your love.

    If you’ve decided that something’s “missing” from your own family and that a four-legged friend might just fill the void, just know there are millions of them out there with plenty of love to give right back.

    All they need is a chance.

    *Campaign by McCann Worldgroup, Mumbai, Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman and regional ED AP, Pradyumna Chauhan, national creative director, Sharmad Khambekar, creative director, Pranav Bhide, art director, Pranav Bhide, copywriter, Archit Gadiyar, copywriter, and Amol Jadhav, photographer.


    Adorable puppy gets so many pets, he falls asleep

    Being a puppy is very hard work. Everyone knows.

    As a creature who is expected to look effortlessly cute at all hours of the day or night, and is subject to infinite number of pets and pictures, puppies really do deserve all the naps they randomly lapse into.

    So when we see Gordo, the puppy in this video, fall asleep literally in the middle of playing, we completely get it. You have a tough job, Gordo. Get all the sleep you can.


    This beached baby dolphin was rescued by an NBC reporter

    Reporters tend to keep their distance from the story, but when a baby dolphin needed help, one reporter rose to the occasion.

    NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders helped rescue a stranded baby dolphin on Marco Island, Florida during a storm surge caused by Hurricane Irma. Sanders’ rescue attempt was broadcast live on Today.

    Today reports that the dolphin had been brought back to the beach by a local after being found washed all the way to a sidewalk.

    Sanders reports the surges as measuring 4 feet, enough to wash wildlife ashore. After finding the exhausted dolphin on the beach, Sanders teamed up with a passing tourist to help it back into the Gulf of Mexico.

    The baby dolphin, who proved pretty heavy for two grown men to deliver back to the ocean, was nursed and carried into the oncoming waves — not an easy hurdle for a tired baby dolphin to tackle.

    It took about 10-15 minutes for the pair to get the dolphin into deep enough water for it to gain supported swimming momentum.

    Sanders stands on the shore cheering the dolphin on. “Come on buddy, you can do it,” he cheers. “It’s a struggle. I see him trying, he really wants to make it out there, he’s just really disoriented no doubt.”

    Sanders came across several other dolphins along the beach, including an adult needing a group of local Florida residents to assist in its rescue:

    Today pointed out Sanders’ lengthy career in hurricane reporting (he’s covered over 60) and the fact that he’s been part of dolphin rescue stories before, so serendipitously, he knew how to perform a rescue.

    Precisely where Sanders was standing hours earlier, a group of Florida residents rescued yet another dolphin, picked up by Fox 4:

    Looks like Sanders has started something.


    Students return to school after Parkland shooting with help from some therapy dogs

    Two weeks have passed since a deadly mass shooting killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the resilient students and faculty are beginning to come back to their classrooms.

    The return comes after several tough days spent organizing to fight for increased gun control and mourning the teenagers, football coach, and athletic director who lost their lives during the tragedy.

    In wake of the traumatic event, the school’s principal, Ty Thompson, thought some therapy dogs would help provide extra comfort upon return, and the photographs are pretty precious.

    Thompson’s been very active on Twitter sharing updates and encouragement in the days following the shooting. 

    He was sure to post photos of the first days back in February, inculding several of faculty members cuddling the therapy dogs, and one of students smiling with a dog in class. He explained that the dogs have been “a major source of healing.”

    Nine of the dogs are from Lutheran Church Charities in Illinois and have reportedly been a big hit with the students. Some students showed their love for the dogs on social media, sharing photographs and thanks.

    In fact, the pups were such a big hit that Thompson invited them back, increasing the number so more students could benefit from the animals.

    The official Instagram account for Humane Broward’s Animal Assisted Therapy also shared several photos of students smiling with the animals, explaining the dogs “participated in classes all day, made lots of new friends and provided unconditional love and comfort.”


    Why wolves mate for life and 22 other interesting things to know about these animals.

    In movies, wolves are often depicted as terrifying, snarling creatures that threaten our heroes.

    What kid can forget the pack of growling wolves that chase Belle’s father right up to the Beast’s castle?

    Authors such as Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault all wrote children’s stories where the “big bad wolf” was the ravening villain, willing to do anything to fill his belly even impersonate grandma for a chance to eat Little Red Riding Hood!

    Over and over throughout history, literature, and movies, the wolf was used as a metaphor for trickery, evil, and cruelty. As a result, it’s easy to assume that these animals are actually something to fear.

    But wolves don’t deserve this bad rap.

    They are actually pretty amazing animals, and they play an important role in nature. For example, did you know that wolves can smell their prey from almost two miles away which is about 100 times better than humans?

    Here are 23 other interesting and important things you might not know about the gray wolf:

    1. Gray wolves are the largest member of the wild dog, or Canid, family.

    Also known as the timber wolf, common wolf, or, in scientific circles, Canis lupus, the gray wolf is an ancestor to domesticated dogs. As adults, they can be four to six feet long and weigh up to 175 pounds.

    2. Despite their name, they do not always have gray fur.

    They can also have white, brownish-gray, or black coats.

    3. They were once the worlds most widely distributed large mammal.

    Gray wolves were found all across the Northern Hemisphere, including in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

    4. But they lost much of their former range because of conflict with humans.

    These animals were perceived as dangerous to humans and a nuisance to farmers, so they were often hunted, trapped, or poisoned. In the United States, a government-sponsored extermination plan at the beginning of the 20th century largely wiped them out from the Lower 48 states only about 10% of their former range remains in the continental U.S. today.

    5. They are usually not dangerous to people.

    Wolves are actually fairly timid creatures that would prefer to avoid people. Attacks on humans are very rare. In fact, there have been very few recorded wild wolf attacks on humans in North America. In the past 100 years, no lethal attack by a wild, healthy wolf has ever been confirmed in the Lower 48 states.

    6. While we often picture gray wolves in colder places, they can actually live in a variety of habitats, from Arctic tundras to forests and mountains to prairies and grasslands.

    But whatever habitat they are in, they still need access to a large area of contiguous land to roam with lots of prey. Wolves don’t like to stay in one place for very long.

    7. Gray wolves are very social. They live, travel, and hunt in packs of seven to eight.

    Each pack is usually led by an alpha female and male and is made up of their extended family, including pups and older offspring.

    8. The alphas often lead the hunt for prey, choose den sites, and establish the packs territory.

    How big one pack’s territory is, though, depends on how plentiful their prey is. Some packs occupy just 20 square miles, while others are known to roam over hundreds of square miles in search of food.

    9. The alphas can mate for life.

    Usually, only the alphas breed, in order to keep pack numbers down. They mate once a year, from late January through March, and the mother usually gives birth to four to six pups in a den about 63 days later.

    10. When theyre born, wolf pups are blind and deaf.

    And they only weigh about a pound. But they grow up quickly after about 10-14 days, they can open their eyes and ears, and by the time they are two weeks old, they are learning to walk (shakily). Then it only takes about another week for them to start venturing outside the den for the first time.

    11. The whole pack helps care for the new pups.

    The pups start off reliant on their mothers milk, but after about three weeks, they are ready to eat meat. Because they are too young to hunt themselves, all of the older pack members take turns hunting and regurgitating meat to feed the pups.

    12. Pups only start learning to hunt with the pack when they are six months old.

    They practice their hunting skills first by playing with both their siblings and with “toys” (bones and feathers). Then they start using the skills they learned from playing to hunt small animals before joining the pack on larger hunts.

    13. When pups are fully mature, they often disperse from the pack.

    Dispersing wolves have been known to travel 50 to 500 miles looking for a mate, open territory, or both. While dispersing, they usually travel quickly, as it is dangerous to be a lone wolf. One radio-collared Wisconsin wolf traveled 23 miles in one day.

    14. Gray wolves have a complex communication system.

    They communicate with each other through a range of sounds, including barks, whines, growls, and howls, as well as through body language, dancing, and scent marking.

    15. Each gray wolf has a unique howl, which allows other pack members (and scientists) to recognize them.

    This enables pack members to communicate with each other over long distances. Howls can be heard up to six miles away.

    16. But they dont actually howl at the moon.

    They are more active at dawn and dusk, though.

    17. Wolves usually eat large hoofed mammals such as deer, elk, and moose.

    But since taking down big animals can be dangerous, they usually hunt the old, young, sick, or injured ones so they don’t get hurt themselves. In some cases, they have been known to hunt livestock or pets which is part of how they originally got their reputation but only when their natural prey is unavailable, making such attacks relatively rare. One wolf is capable of eating 20 pounds of meat in one meal.

    18. But they arent picky eaters.

    They’ll also eat smaller prey such as beavers or rabbits, and they are known to scavenge. They even eat some insects, nuts, and berries.

    19. They can survive more than a week without eating anything at all.

    20. They can reach speeds of up to 40 mph when chasing prey.

    But only for a short time. When the pack is on the move (not actively chasing food), they usually travel at 5 mph.

    21. They are good swimmers, allowing them to chase prey in water, too.

    22. Gray wolves play a key role in helping keep their ecosystems balanced and healthy.

    Because wolves are apex predators meaning they are at the top of the food web they help keep elk and deer populations in check. This can help other plant and animal species thrive by preventing overgrazing or defoliation. Their hunts also provide “leftovers” for other scavenging wildlife.

    23. Gray wolves need our help.

    In 1978, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the gray wolf as endangered in the contiguous United States, which makes it illegal to hurt or kill them. However, in recent years there have been a number of campaigns to de-list the wolf from these protections.

    Gray wolves are still misunderstood and feared by people all over the country and the world. That’s why it’s important to keep dispelling myths about wolves because these animals are pretty amazing.


    Sunny Pawar in Lion: He was just a normal boy; now a Hollywood star lives in our area

    The eight-year-old actor received a heros welcome as he returned home to a slum from the Oscars. His family are dealing with the fame from his role in Lion

    Its 11am and the Pawar family are dressed to impress. The women have put on sparkling saris and the men are in clean, ironed shirts. The man of the moment, eight-year-old Sunny, the child star of the Oscar-nominated film Lion, is inside the house, getting his face aggressively powdered by an aunt, while an uncle sprays him with perfume and adjusts his oversized jacket. Ive come at a bad time, clearly, but the family are polite enough to invite me to stay as they prepare for a photo op with a local politician.

    The domestic chaos is a stark contrast to the glitzy, star-studded life Sunny has led for the past three months while touring America to promote the film. Sunny plays a young Saroo Brierley, who was separated from his biological mother aged five before being adopted by Australian parents. The film, based on Brierleys autobiography, A Long Way Home, has received international acclaim, including six Academy Award nominations and two Bafta wins.

    Sitting outside his family home in the Kunchi Kurve Nagar slum near Mumbais airport, Sunny recalls being whisked around the world with an international film crew. It was like a dream, he says. Neither he nor his father had left India. First Kolkata, then Indore, then Australia and then America for three months.

    The whirlwind journey ended last week after the Oscars, where a beaming Sunny was lifted into the air by the host Jimmy Kimmel, as The Lion Kings title track played in the background. Some have criticised Kimmel for using Sunny as a prop in a racist joke, but Sunny doesnt see it that way. It was fun. I loved it, he says.

    Sunny and his father returned to India on a flight that landed at 2am on Wednesday. A swarm of local news crews and journalists greeted them at the airport along with a mob of relatives. He has brought a good name to our whole family, says Raviraj, a distant relative who was there. We all went and nobody knew where the arrival gate was, so all of us were squashed in that airport lift, going up and down until we found him.

    They beat drums, they set off fireworks, says Dilip, Sunnys father. They brought flowers and covered him with garlands. The reporters crowded around him, Sunny look here, Sunny do this. They even came back to our house with us, and they stayed until 4am. They wouldnt leave until Sunnys grandfather shouted at them for harassing the kid, he says.

    In Mumbai, home to the worlds most prolific film industry, making it into the movies is the epitome of success. Thousands of people travel to the city from small towns and villages around the country every day, hoping to be cast in a Bollywood blockbuster. But with a tightly knit, powerful film fraternity that rarely embraces outsiders, successes like Sunnys are few and precious. He was selected from over 2,000 children, says Dilip. They came to his school to do auditions, and the director says he was a natural in front of the camera.

    Sunnys family are from humble origins. His father used to sweep streets, but was fired for having too many days off to take Sunny to auditions. For the past two years, he has been Sunnys business manager, touring the world and helping him practise lines on set. I never, ever thought Id reach this point in my life, says Dilip. My first son, and he has made me so proud.

    The film has turned Sunny into a local hero. Posters slapped on the slums walls read: Congratulations Sunny on your achievement. Outside the house, the family have set up a stage, carpeted in red and covered in confetti left over from a welcome home ceremony. There is a floor-to-ceiling photo montage of Sunny meeting American celebrities, as well as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

    Children from the slum who wander past after school point excitedly at the pictures, whispering, Thats Sunny meeting the Rock, referring to the WWE wrestler-turned-actor, Dwayne Johnson. All of them claim theyve watched Sunnys film, though its easy to call their bluff as none of them recognises Dev Patel, the films lead actor, who also starred in Slumdog Millionaire. He must be some singer or something, says one child. No, hes Sunnys acting coach, says another.

    He was just a normal little boy, says Vasu, Sunnys mother. Now everybody says, Oh, a Hollywood star lives in our neighbourhood. Overnight, Ive become the mother of a movie star. She admits she hasnt seen the film yet. I was waiting for Sunny and his dad to come home so we could watch it together, as a family. But Im so proud.

    Sunny was only five when he started auditioning for the role of Saroo. Between travelling to locations for shoots, he attends the government-run Air India Modern school where, he says, he gets none of the benefits of being a movie star. None of the kids treat me differently. Its exactly the same as before. They havent even seen the film, he says.

    The role has given Sunny new ambitions. I want to work in Hollywood, Bollywood, everything, he says. Ive learned so much, like the sign language of the director for example. When he signals, I know I have to be sad, he says. Its hard work. You have to follow all their instructions and you have to try to show real emotion, from the heart.

    Nobody ever taught him to act. He learned it on his own by watching TV, says Dilip. He loves watching Rajinikanth, he says, referring to a south Indian actor whose film release dates have been declared holidays by companies in an effort to avoid hundreds of staff requests for leave.

    I like his action scenes, says Sunny, jumping in. I hope I can work in an action movie like that one day.

    Though Dilip and Sunnys tour of America coincided with Donald Trumps arrival in the White House, they remained oblivious to rising anti-immigrant sentiment sweeping the country. We got there when Obama was still president so we didnt have any visa troubles like I know others have, Dilip says, in reference to Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian film-maker who could not travel to America to receive his Oscar because of Trumps travel ban. We did not feel for a second like foreigners there. The people there have done so much for us, says Dilip. When you go to work, they give you so much respect and love. The whole public is appreciating Sunny, they made him a suit to wear, they took him to the Oscars. They treated us like we were members of their family, really. There was no question about race or religion.

    Despite their new fame, the family still live in their same small house. I ask naively to see Sunnys bedroom. Dilip laughs. This is chawl, madam. There are no bedrooms here, he says, referring to labourers accommodation. He shows me a brightly coloured room with peeling paint and bare walls, except a Ganesh-themed calendar. Here we roll out mattresses and sleep.

    Outside, in a metal cupboard, the family keep their valuables. Perfumes and jewellery are pulled out, tested and replaced, as they rush to get ready to visit the local politician who has asked to meet Kunchi Kurve Nagars new star. I ask how many people live under the same roof. Its our whole extended family, Dilip says. Ive never counted but it must be more than 50 of us.

    Sunnys family were initially reluctant to let him work in the film. One of Sunnys aunts had cancer, she was very sick. At that time, we were trying to sort out all his passport, visas, so he could travel. Then she died, and in our tradition, you have to spend a month in mourning. So we were going to pull out of the whole thing, Dilip recalls. I had told the producers no, we cant come. But then the family really supported us. They said, no you have to go, its such a big opportunity for Sunny. And he really wanted to do it. So we went.

    Two taxis pull up outside the house and the family pile in. The politician is waiting, one relative says, hinting that our interview has concluded. I ask Dilip what he plans for Sunnys future, and whether he will go back to work. Lets see, he says. For now, all our days are filled with doing interviews and meet-and-greets. Sunny will go back to school, he will take his exams. But maybe he will get more film work. Who knows? We havent planned anything.


    Behind the scenes of every cute baby panda, there’s a mama bear.

    On Sept. 4, 2016, the conservation status of giant pandas was updated from “endangered” to the less critical “vulnerable.” That’s great news!

    After all, who wouldn’t want to see more of these fluffy little faces in the world?

    Ever wonder what a 5-month-old panda looks like? #worldwildlifefund #wwf #panda #babyanimals #adorable

    A post shared by World Wildlife Fund (@world_wildlife) on

    The announcement, made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, came after a documented 17% rise in the wild panda population over about the last decade.

    “The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity,” stated Marco Lambertini, the director general of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

    The public’s reaction to an increase in baby pandas? “Awwwwwww.”

    GIF via Disneynature’s “Born in China.”

    But there’s someone else behind the scenes of these cute baby pandas and all the conservation efforts: the mother bears.

    Panda cubs at breeding centers and zoos get a lot of help from their human caretakers. But for pandas in the wild, a strong mother-cub relationship is necessary for survival. Without it, all the international efforts to save the species would have no effect.

    Here are a few things that make the mother-cub bond in pandas so special:

    When baby pandas are born, they’re about 1/900th of their mother’s weight.

    Newborn panda cubs average 3.5 ounces about the size of a stick of butter. Yes, a stick of butter! They don’t open their eyes for up to two months, and they’re basically immobile for three.

    Panda biologist Dr. David Kersey, an associate professor at Western University of Health Sciences, explains in an email, “Among mammals with placentas, the giant panda cub is the smallest offspring compared to the mother.”

    Because they’re born so early, wild panda cubs spend up to two years with just their mothers.

    Newborn pandas are altricial, which means they’re essentially helpless. For the first couple of weeks, Kersey writes, the mother rarely ventures outside the den, “spending nearly every waking moment rearing and nursing the cub.” During this time,”she relies solely on energy reserves to sustain herself and milk production.”

    Even as the cub ages and the mother returns to foraging, it still relies on her for warmth, protection, food, and more.

    Giant pandas don’t live in groups and the males never stick around after mating, so the cubs spend time exclusively with their mother until they reach independence. For two years, the pair does everything together; every day is a lesson in survival.

    By the time a wild panda cub leaves its mother, it has all the skills and knowledge it needs to survive on its own.

    At around 14 months, cubs begin eating bamboo on their own. Between 18 and 24 months, they wean from the mother and the pair separates.

    Giant pandas are still a vulnerable species, but their numbers are improving.

    The WWF estimates that there are about 1,864 pandas left in the wild, spread across 20 or so pockets of bamboo forest. The species’ biggest threat is habitat loss due to development in the region and climate change.

    Despite their low numbers, the progress that pandas have made over the past decade is a great sign for the future.

    But as Kersey writes: “Our work is certainly not done. The protections and efforts afforded to the giant panda while it was endangered helped in improving the species numbers.” The future of the giant panda shouldn’t have to rest solely on those mother bears. The species is going to need our help, too.

    Want to learn more about these amazing animals? See “Born in China” during opening week and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to the World Wildlife Fund to benefit wild pandas and other threatened species.

    Watch the “Born in China” video here:


    James Corden gave out ‘consolation puppies’ at the Grammys

    Yes Seinfeld gets a puppy. As if just being Seinfeld isn't reward enough.
    Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

    Okay, so instead of a prestigious award they got a puppy.

    At the Grammys on Sunday, host James Corden didn’t just dish out those little golden gramophones. “Consolation puppies” were handed out to nominees who didn’t win their category.

    Jerry Seinfeld (who was nominated for Best Comedy Album) was given a puppy called Roxy and Corden described her as “a biter”.

    Many were happy to see the pups at the event.

    But not everyone was so thrilled about living dogs being handed out as prizes.

    Mashable reached out Grammys to find out where the puppies were sourced and what happened to them after the ceremony but they were unavailable for comment. We will update the story accordingly when we receive a response.


    House cat attempts face-off with actual lion

    Oh, tiny cats. You have the DNA of the big cats, so why not challenge them as if they’re your equals?

    YouTube user BigCatDerek uploaded a video of his cat Baggy challenging a lion named Noey who lives in his animal rescue facility. It’s like the cat version of David and Goliath, if the two were separated by a wire fence.

    “Baggy,” her owner called out. “You will lose!”

    But she didn’t listen. Because Baggy’s a brave, courageous kitty who’s just ready to pounce.


    Judge Judy decides a case in seconds after an excited dog recognizes its owner

    The love and loyalty between a pet and its owner is like no other, and thankfully, Judge Judy knows it.

    On a super emotional episode of Judge Judy a dog owner fought to get his lost dog back from a woman who claimed that she bought the dog legally from someone on the street, implying the dog is rightfully hers.

    After Judge Judy ordered the dog to be brought into the courtroom and placed on the floor, it became obvious who the dog’s real owner was. The tearful reunion between the pup and the man was all Judge Judy needed to rule that these two be together once again. She couldn’t ignore the happy little jumps of the doggie when he saw his owner. Even the woman who allegedly bought the dog knew it, too she knew that once the dog was put before his rightful owner, it would be a done deal.

    We’re so happy these two are back together again. We love to see people, and pups, this happy.


    Guggenheim Museum pulls three artworks featuring animals after threats of violence

    Works in an exhibition of Chinese art that included reptiles eating insects and dogs on a treadmill are removed from show in New York following outcry

    New Yorks Guggenheim Museum will remove three art pieces from an upcoming show featuring Chinese conceptual artists, amid accusations of animal cruelty and repeated threats of violence.

    The museum will not exhibit three pieces during Art and China after 1989: Theatre of the World two videos featuring live animals and a sculpture that includes live insects and lizards over concern for the safety of its staff, visitors and participating artists.

    The Guggenheim has been embroiled in controversy since the show was publicised, with animal rights groups calling for the the works to be pulled and a chorus of celebrities condemning the museum.

    One of the videos, titled Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other, is a recording of a 2003 live performance in which two pairs of pit bulls faced each other on treadmills, held back by harnesses so they could never make contact. Over the course of the video, created by artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, the dogs grow weary and can be seen salivating more and more.

    Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary, the museum said. As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art.

    The shows signature piece Theatre of the World involves an enclosure housing hundreds of insects and reptiles that devour each other over the course of the show. A reference to the animals eating each other was removed from the Guggenheims website.

    The artist, Huang Yong Ping, withdrew the artwork from a show in Vancouver in 2007 after a local animal rights group requested modifications.

    A second video, A Case Study of Transference, made in 1994 by Xu Bing, features a boar and a sow mating, both stamped with gibberish made by mixing Chinese characters and the Roman alphabet and is meant to represent the contrast between complex writing systems and the wild nature of the animals.

    The three artworks are a tiny fraction of the roughly 150 pieces that are part of the exhibition, which is set to open in October.

    Just last week the Guggenheim defended showing Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other, saying it was an intentionally challenging and provocative artwork that seeks to examine and critique systems of power and control.

    Contrary to some reports, no fighting occurred in the original performance, it added.

    But those comments failed to assuage the anger of animal rights activists, with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals saying the performance caused the dogs pain and distress.

    Such treadmills are typical of brutal dog fighting training regimens, and the mere positioning of animals to face each other and encourage aggression often meets the definition of illegal dog-fighting in most states, the ASPCA said in a statement.

    A petition condemning the exhibition had over 550,000 signatures by the time the Guggenheim decided to pull the works and accused the institution of several distinct instances of unmistakable cruelty against animals in the name of art.

    Only sick individuals would enjoy watching Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other and the Guggenheim should not cater to their twisted whims, Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), wrote in an open letter to the museum.

    Celebrities including comedian Ricky Gervais and singer Richard Marx also accused the museum of animal cruelty.


    Getty Images is putting stock photos of real rescue animals center frame for a cause

    Jessica, the one-eyed beagle.
    Image: Getty Images

    For creatives looking to do a little good, a new collection of stock photos featuring rescue animals lets licensees donate to a Los Angeles-based animal shelter with each download.

    The project is a collaboration between Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Getty Images, and the Amanda Foundation, a Beverly Hills animal hospital and nonprofit rescue organization that saves animals from kill shelters throughout the city and puts them up for adoption. The collection includes 60 images starring some of the foundation’s neediest residents, all in search of forever homes. 

    According to Saatchi & Saatchi LA, every licensing dollar earned off the collection will benefit the nonprofit.

    Photographer Christopher Nelson – who has two rescue dogs of his own – shot the collection over the course of a 12-hour day with the Amanda Foundation. 

    “I’ve had nothing but rescue dogs my whole life, and I would recommend it,” he told Mashable. “They’re very appreciative when you save them, and it’s just nice to have them around.”

    Capone, the chihuahua mix

    Image: Getty Images

    In a park near the rescue facility, Nelson and his assistant photographed a group of high-energy rescues thrilled by a day in the sun. 

    “I would just sit on the ground, and they’d just jump all over me— it was a riot,” he said. “I’ve shot animals before, but they’re all trained, so shooting untrained animals was quite the experience.”

    Nelson was particularly taken with a three-legged boxer mix named Oli, who he says was just a few hours from euthanasia when the Amanda Foundation rescued him.

    “If I didn’t have two street dogs myself, I would have taken him home,” he said.

    Oli, the three-legged boxer mix

    Image: Getty Images

    Though Nelson also shot Amanda Foundation rescues on a seamless background set up at the facility, casual photographers looking to shoot their own pets should stick with natural settings, he said. As for how to get a shot you’ll love, Nelson says composure is key: “Get down to their level and just be patient.”

    But above all, Nelson’s key advice is to stay calm: “Be calm – if you’re calm, the dog or cat will be calm.”

    Willow, the Jack Russell terrier

    Image: Getty Images

    Yang, the kitten

    Image: Getty Images

    Ralphie, the beagle-chihuahua mix

    Image: Getty Images

    Bambi, Bette, and Bebe, the dachshund-terrier mixes

    Image: Getty Images


    Boomer the skateboarding Bengali cat puts all other cats to shame

    This is Boomer. No, not Michael Phelps’ adorable baby Boomer, but Boomer, the Bengali cat who skateboards.

    Yes, this cat skateboards. And skateboards really well. Boomer’s probably better at skateboarding than most people. He’s also most definitely more talented than most cats, whose skills mostly consist of eating, sleeping, and playing games on iPad.

    Just look at how cool and collected Boomer is while he skates through a semi-crowded street. Observe his kicking technique, leaving one front leg on the board and kicking with his others, to keep the acceleration. It’s like he’s the Tony Hawk of cats.

    If you’re a cat owner, now’s the time to look at him/her, feel ashamed, and start teaching them how to skateboard, ride a bike, or maybe even drive a car.


    You’d better believe animals find a way to masturbate without hands

    Image: vicky leta/mashable

    This post is part of Mashable’s Masturbation Week. May is National Masturbation Month, so we’re celebrating by exploring the many facets of self-love.

    As Dr. Ian Malcolm says in the original Jurassic Park, “Nature finds a way.”

    Yes, nature does find a way to flourish, to spread, to evolve — and even to masturbate.

    But what about all those animals that aren’t primates? How can species that lack hands perform this tender act of self-love? Think of the whales and the turtles.

    Here are seven animals that bravely find pretty NSFW ways to get their rocks off — and we mean actual rocks — without the use of hands. 


    A possibly masturbating penguin.

    Image: Getty Images

    Even though penguins can’t fly, they have found ways to get off. If you’ve seen March of the Penguins, you know things can get really dire and lonely out there on the ice.  

    The sensual side of Adélie penguins was first detailed in the 1912 journal of scientist George Murray Levick. While exploring Antarctica, he found the birds stimulating their genitals against rocks, and, as you would, by sliding on ice. The journal was deemed too scandalous for public consumption and was only unearthed in 2012. 

    But other penguins since then have been observed exhibiting the same behavior. It’s nice that they have a way to keep warm in the cold.


    If you didn’t know that turtles masturbate, then you clearly haven’t seen this actually adorable video of a little turtle making sweet love to a Croc sandal.

    There are actually a surprising number of videos on YouTube of turtles masturbating by rubbing their privatest parts on everything from rocks to gravel. And one thing really stands out: Slow and steady wins the race.


    It’s pretty well known that dolphins are very sex-positive creatures. 

    They’ve been known to have orgies and regularly engage in male-male and female-female oral sex. So masturbation should be no big surprise. 

    As seen in the video above, basically they find things to rub themselves on. That could be anything from the bit of fabric that this playful dolphin uses on its member to the bottlenose dolphin’s practice of wrapping “a live, wriggling eel” around its penis. Oh, and they also sometimes insert their penis’ in each others’ blowholes. Nature!

    Of course, the females masturbate as well, mostly through rubbing their vaginas on the sandy ocean floor.


    Why hello.

    Image: Getty Images

    Yes, hedgehogs masturbate. And they do so with a little skill called “self-fellatio” — no doubt making them the envy of the entire animal kingdom. 

    It makes a lot of sense, since they can roll up into a little ball, that they’d be able to reach their genitalia. And they do! Apparently, with some regularity.

    This was definitely never featured in any of the Sonic games. 


    Us humans have been obsessed with dildos, dongs, fleshlights, and vibrators for too long. If we can learn anything about self pleasure from other landlocked animals, rocks are where it’s at. Hmm.

    Male elephants are the perfect teachers for this lesson. Without any flexible digits, they’re left to rub their large penises against anything they can find — and that definitely includes rocks.


    Walruses may not have a need for arms and legs, but they still have the need to masturbate.

    Luckily, the flippers that walruses use to swim through the frigid ocean can also easily reach down and stroke whatever needs stroking.

    The above video shows a randy beast who tried to woo a female and was turned down. Luckily, he had a plan B.


    Squirrels, and other rodents, often indulge in a little self-love, and they really want you to know about it. 

    As evidenced by the above video, squirrels rub themselves against their surroundings. This particular squirrel chose the branch of a tree. It also chose to squeak as loud as possible with each thrust. It sounds kind of like a dog who got ahold of an annoying chew toy. But it also sounds like he’s having a lot of fun.

    Interestingly, male squirrels also masturbate to clean out their sperm ducts so females don’t get STDs from old semen.

    So, cheers to all the members of the animal kingdom that find creative ways to pleasure themselves. You’ve taught us all a thing or two. Especially about rocks. 


    At MoMA, Cat Instagram Has Finally Clawed Its Way Into the Art World

    Stephen Shore was an Instagram artist way before there was Insta­gram. He shot to prominence in the ’70s with carefully composed snapshots of parking lots, pancake breakfasts, and camping trips, beautiful banalities that future Instagrammers would try to emulate. Now that Shore is actually on the platform, he averages a post a day—and a retrospective of his work, opening at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in November, shows off three years’ worth of his ’grams. Including (obviously) a portrait of his beloved Himalayan cat, Oscar.

    Stephen Shore / Art + Commerce


    Followers: 97.5K

    Posts: 1,145

    Exhibition Dates: November 19 to May 28

    Visitors will scan Shore’s feed on iPads, preserving the social media experience of the finger-flicking scroll and the luminous screen. Oh, and don’t compare his animal photography to your own. “When I take a photo of my cat, I’m well aware that there are millions of cat pictures on Instagram,” he says. “The image has to be strong and not depend on it simply being a cat picture.” In this moment with Oscar, the light was just right to highlight the deep pools of his eyes and the ferocity of his gaze. Shore assures us his cat doesn’t look this scary IRL.

    This article appears in the November issue. Subscribe now.

    Portrait courtesy of Stephen Shore


    A Japanese artist has completely transformed the art of balloon animals.

    “Back in the day,” the presence of a balloon artist was the sign of a truly over-the-top birthday party.

    Photo via iStock.

    Remember those artists? It was pure magic watching these craftsmen and women take skinny, noodle-like balloons and, with a few twists and a few puffs of air, presto! You had your very own dog. Or sword. Or flower. And you could keep it forever and ever and ever (or, at least, until the air leaked out).

    If this was all going down at a Chuck E. Cheese’s, all the better.

    But today? Parents are shelling out more and more money on extravagant birthday things, like bouncy houses, custom cakes, limousines, and more.

    It definitely makes me yearn for a simpler time.

    A Japanese artist named Masayoshi Matsumoto wanted to revive and elevate the decades-old art of balloon twisting though. And what he came up with is pretty incredible.

    “I’ve liked creatures since I was small,” Masayoshi told Upworthy in an email. It took him four painstaking years to learn how to craft perfect models of his favorite animals in balloon form, but the work speaks for itself.

    When people tell him his art made entirely from balloons, no markers or tape allowed is incredibly lifelike, he knows he’s done his job.

    Here are 11 of Masayoshi’s creations that are like nothing you ever saw as a kid, except maybe that they look like pure magic:

    1. This eery frilled lizard.

    All photos by Masayoshi Matsumoto, used with permission.

    2. This scorpionfish.

    3. This angry-looking octopus.

    4. This phoenix I totally wish was real.

    5. This bush cricket.

    6. This snake.

    7. This (standing!) ostrich.

    9. This snow monkey.

    10. This ant, complete with antennae.

    11. And this brightly colored hermit crab.

    What does Masayoshi do with his balloon creations after he photographs them? “I usually pop them,” he said.

    It seems like such a waste. But then again, maybe Masayoshi knows there is always something new to explore, something new to create, something new to be in awe of.

    If that’s the case, then he’s perfectly captured the spirit of what always made balloon animals so magical.

    You can see more incredible balloon creations over at Masayoshi’s Facebook page.


    Local news teases report on cougar with a tiny, harmless house cat

    A house cat found the perfect opportunity to photobomb a live news segment. 

    Fox13’s Scott Madaus was teasing a live report from a field in Hernando, Mississippi where someone claims they spotted a cougar one day earlier. 

    “I’m Scott Madaus, live in Hernando, Mississippi where there have been spottings of a cougar,” the man said into the camera. “And that’s not it, that looks like a house cat,” he continued as the shot panned to a very normal cat, and stayed on it for the remainder of the recording. 

    On the screen, the chyron reads: “LARGE CAT SPOTTED.”

    The news team’s use of the random cat in the field was instant comedic gold, and the clip quickly spread on Twitter, where it received over 30,000 retweets. 

    Madaus shared the clip to his Facebook page, where he said he was surprised by the internet’s reaction to the clip.

    “Not really sure how my live tease made social media let alone international social media. But here you go if you didn’t catch it,” he wrote.

    While Madaus admits the cat shot was planned, the perfect delivery and camera pan made the clip an instant classic. 

    Never change, local news.


    Paddleboarder ruthlessly taken down by a reckless dolphin

    You never realize just how large dolphins are till one of them body-slams you. 

    Andrew Hill, an Australian paddleboarder, came face-to-face (er, body-to-body?) with a dolphin while boarding off the coast of Gracetown, West Australia.

    The moment was captured by photographer Lucas Englert, the man behind surfing Instagram account lubricatedsurf. Englert was getting ready to film some surfers when he caught footage of Hill’s encounter with the small pod of dolphins. 

    The group of eight or nine dolphins decided to catch the same wave as Hill. As the wave picked up, one of the dolphins leapt out of the water and crashed right into the paddleboarder and knock him right off the board. 

    But don’t fear — Hill told 7News Perth that the injury was no worse than what he’s experienced playing rugby.

    “Hats off to him,” said Hill about the dolphin. “He collected me really well.”

    Presumably, “collected” means something like a tackle in Australia?

    Either way, hats off to them both. 

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    Surf’s up, turtle dudes! The sea turtle population is making a comeback.

    One of the most heart-pounding moments of the BBC’s Planet Earth series has to be the baby sea turtles.

    In the last episode of the show’s second series, viewers watched cute baby sea turtles emerge from their nests in the sand. Then, our hearts collectively dropped as Sir David Attenborough’s voiceover cut in to inform us that the tiny turtles, confused by nearby city lights, were headed the wrong way — straight into traffic.

    It’s a harrowing scene. The series didn’t show how it ended for the babies, but after viewer outcry, the BBC confirmed via Twitter that — in defiance of normal standards — the filmmakers intervened to help direct the turtles back to the sea.

    Unfortunately, not every sea turtle has a film crew watching its back, and many species have found themselves in trouble.

    Sea turtles face a lot of threats — from poaching, to fishing gear, to habitat destruction. Climate change affects how they nest and breed. A 2015 report suggested that more than half of all the world’s sea turtles have accidentally eaten plastic debris.

    The IUCN, a world authority on nature conservation, lists three of the world’s seven sea turtle species as “endangered” or “critically endangered” and three more as “vulnerable.”

    Since the 1950s, conservation efforts have tried to address these threats. But have they worked?

    A new study shows that sea turtle protection efforts have indeed paid off.

    A team of researchers at Greece’s Aristotle University headed by Antonios Mazaris analyzed over 4,400 existing estimates of sea turtle numbers, in a report published Sept. 20 in Science Advances.

    Their conclusion? Overall, sea turtle numbers around the world are growing. Of the 17 major regions they examined where sea turtle numbers were changing, 12 had seen growth. Only five had significant decreases.

    It’s enough that a press release about the study called it a “global conservation success story.”

    Woo! Photo from kormandallas/Pixabay.

    Changes to fishing regulations, beach protections, and other efforts have helped ensure that more baby sea turtles have a chance to see adulthood and that the ocean will be a safer place for adult sea turtles to live.

    There’s still a lot of work to do, the researchers were careful to note. Some sea turtle populations are still dwindling, there’s still a lot to learn, and we definitely shouldn’t slack off if we want to see their numbers keep going up.

    This study is a reminder that, while humans might cause problems for animals like sea turtles, we also have the power to help fix them as well.


    These adorable shelter pets are eager to prove that adopting is the way to go.

    There are tons of reasons to adopt when you’re looking for a pet.

    Before you make your decision, though, these adopted pets would like to weigh in.

    Did you know that if just 10% of the families who plan to get pets in the next year choose to adopt, all the dogs and cats currently entering shelters will have homes? You could help make a big difference!

    And if that’s not enough to convince you, why don’t you hear what the adopted pet community has to say? Lots of pets are adopted through The Shelter Pet Project, which is a joint effort between The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, J. Walter Thompson New York, and The Ad Council to make shelters and rescue groups the first place that potential pet-owners turn to when looking to add a friend to their family.

    When the rescue pets heard what The Shelter Pet Project was doing, they wanted to help. They even made a video! Watch:

    Yup, shelter pets are definitely social media-savvy.

    And ready to hang out with you, whether you want to stay in all day…

    Image courtesy of Harvey/Instagram.

    …and all night…

    …or if you want to hit the town!

    Want a beach bud? Your rescue pup is by your side:

    Image courtesy of Jelly the Frenchie/Instagram.

    Or perhaps you’d rather be on the water?

    Or you can stay on land and stretch out in the sun!

    How about a gardening buddy?

    Photo courtesy of Bonnie.

    Or a dinner date:

    Photo courtesy of Holly/Kellyanne Lark.

    You’ll always have a buddy to keep you from getting bored:

    …or to make a gloomy day a little brighter.

    Photo courtesy of Henry.

    Even if you already have pets, why not consider adding an adopted pet to the family? Many adopted pets are eager to make friends!

    “Most pets end up homeless through no fault of their own … meaning shelters and rescue groups are full of wonderful, family-ready pets,” writes Kenny Lamberti, acting vice president of the companion animals department at The Humane Society of the United States in an email.

    Rescue pets are every bit as cuddly, lovable, and ready to fit into your home as any animal out there. And, says Lamberti, “whether you want a dog, cat, rabbit, parakeet or hamster, shelters often have the best selection of animals anywhere.”

    See for yourself: Use The Shelter Pet Project’s site to find adoptable dogs and cats or shelters near you and see who’s out there looking for a new home. (And even if you’re not ready to adopt, lots of shelters need fosters and volunteers, so there are plenty of ways to help out.)

    Image courtesy of Cali and Oscar/Instagram.

    Pretty soon, you could be snuggling with an adopted pet of your own!


    Bear on couch too damn chill to eat you

    Image: courtesy of mandy stantic

    Bears don’t have any interest in your miserable standing desks, thank you very much.

    Mandy Stantic was visiting a garbage dump in Northern Manitoba last spring when she came upon a black bear sitting on a discarded sofa. Stantic, whose photos just recently went viral, had specifically driven to the dump with her daughter to see the dump (god bless Canadian road trips) when she discovered the bear just lounging.

    “The bears are always very active at the dump. This one must have been in the mood to relax after eating his full and climbed up on the couch to get comfortable,” Stantic told Mashable

    “Not unusual to see bears at the dump, but to see one sitting just casual like a human was pretty unique and I had to take a picture.”

    Image: courtesy of mandy stantic

    According to Stantic, the dump is a common hang out spot for the area’s local bears. What it lacks in greenery and pleasant odors it more than makes up for in bears lounging on La-Z-Bears.

    All this bear needs is a lava lamp and some frozen pizza to become its spirit human, Al Bundy. 


    Dude and his cat try to kill a rat, and things don’t go as planned

    Extracting a rat from a bathroom when you’ve got a cat seems like a pretty reasonable solution. Cats are natural predators, and they often catch small rodents. 

    Turns out, though, rats are probably a little too big for a house cat. 

    Shortly after using a broom to scare the rat out from behind the sink, this dude realizes that he has made a very, very large mistake. He promptly screams bloody murder, as his poor cat tries desperately to search for higher ground. 

    Eventually the two escape the bathroom; the fate of the rat is still unknown. Let’s be real though — it’s the rat’s house now. This is how rat kings are crowned. 


    Good Samaritans in Houston haul 21 dogs to safety in a single boat

    After Hurricane Harvey, a group of good Samaritans came to the rescue of dozens of good dogs.

    Houston resident Betty Walter found herself stranded in floodwaters in the wake of the storm. She was also sheltering 21 dogs (some of which belonged to her neighbors) and wasn’t sure how they would all get to safety.

    Luckily, the dog rescue crew came along. They loaded all 21 dogs on the boat — Walter walked alongside — and hauled everyone away.

    “I was worried there was too many dogs on the boat and it would tipped [sic] over,” Walter wrote in a Facebook post. “I told them I would stay behind and for them to make 2 trips. They said NO we are taking all and you. We had 21 dogs on this boat.”

    To get out, the humans had to slog through water higher than her head, she added.

    Eventually, Walter and all 21 took shelter at a crew member’s house in nearby Kemah, Texas. At the time of writing, they were all doing fine.

    WATCH: Smiling rescued donkey is so happy to be back on solid ground


    Philip Pullman: My daemon is a raven, a bird that steals things

    Philip Pullman, whose His Dark Materials trilogy is celebrated the world over, has finally produced a new instalment in Lyras story. As La Belle Sauvage hits the shops, he answers questions from famous fans and Observer readers

    Philip Pullman opens the door to his 16th-century Oxfordshire farmhouse looking pale and slightly washed-out in his crisp, white shirt and nut-brown waistcoat. Is he under the weather? No, no, Im perfectly fine, he reassures me. Just a bit apprehensive, perhaps, about whats to come. We are meeting a week before the launch of his new novel, so what is to come in the next few days is a whirlwind of book signings, public appearances, glad-handing, readings and interviews: Im doing the minimum possible but it is still going to be absolute pandemonium, he smiles ruefully.

    In truth, Pullman feels fitter and more energetic than he has for a long while. He spent much of the past couple of years in constant pain, until surgery restored him to full health last spring. Im a great deal better now, but thats one reason Im trying to keep the fuss to a minimum, he says. You sense he might feel short-changed with no fuss at all, however, and Pullman grants that he is looking forward to sitting down in his book-lined study and getting to grips with my very long list of questions from Observer readers, writers, theatre directors, clergy and other distinguished folk.

    But first things first. Come and say hello to the dogs, he bids me, leading the way to the kitchen, where Coco and Mixie, his 18-month-old cockapoos are scratching frantically at the closed door. The pair of them spring out barking, then jump up and paw us deliriously before skittering off around the house in pursuit of each other. Pullman grins: they are obviously the apple of his eye. The next five minutes are spent recapturing the dogs and banishing them once more to the kitchen. Then were almost ready to begin.

    It is no exaggeration to say Pullman devotees the world over have been almost as excited as his dogs at the prospect of his new novel, La Belle Sauvage, which arrived in bookshops last Thursday. A young woman on the tube practically hyperventilated when she spotted me reading an advance copy and confided that she had named her daughter Lyra after the brave heroine of Pullmans bestselling trilogy, His Dark Materials. The book is no run-of-the-mill publication (but then, nor is anything he writes): it is the long-awaited first volume of The Book of Dust, a new fantasy trilogy intended to stand alongside His Dark Materials. Fans of all ages have been waiting 17 years for him to return to the magical world ofNorthern Lights,The Subtle KnifeandThe Amber Spyglass, which have together sold more than 17.5m copies around the world and been translated into 40 languages.

    The new series is not a sequel or a prequel, but an equel, Pullman told the Todayprogramme on Radio 4 when it was first announced (how many other new novels make the 8am news?). It starts 10 years before His Dark Materials when Lyra is a baby, with the next two books moving forward 10 years from HDM to when she is an adult. Once again, the theme is growing up and adolescence as an initiation into the difficult and confusing realities of the world. The first volume features a flood of biblical proportions, a pair of brave young rescuers, a cast of sinister spies and is a darkly brilliant, epic read.

    Pullman came late to fame. He studied English at Exeter College, Oxford and graduated with a third because, he has said, he was having a wonderful time but no one took the trouble to let him know he was doing really badly at his degree. He worked at Moss Bros in Oxford for a while and then became a teacher for 15 years, living with his wife, Jude, in a modest suburban house in Oxford. They are still contentedly married and have two grown-up sons. He became a childrens writer in 1982 with Count Karlstein, followed by the Ruby in the Smoke series, but it was not until he was almost 50 that His Dark Materials aimed at young people but finding equal popularity with adults shot him to literary superstardom.

    Since then, Pullman has established himself not just as a world-class writer but an outspoken public figure, a paid-up member of the great and the good. As president of the Royal Society of Authors he has campaigned for payment for authors appearing at literary festivals and for ebook library loans. He has battled against the closure of libraries and opposed the labelling of books according to age and gender. Only last week he scandalised the Daily Mail by dismissing Winnie the Pooh as sickly nostalgia, saying he has no time for its author, AA Milne. I cant stand the man, he told Sunday Times interviewer Bryan Appleyard.

    A humanist and an honorary member of the National Secular Society, Pullman is also a persistent and vocal scourge of the Christian church. An agnostic rather than an atheist, he has infuriated religious groups with such declarations as: Im trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief. His Dark Materials, which ends with his cruel and intolerant God-figure being destroyed, was considered blasphemous by some Catholic organisations when it was first published. And although Pullman numbers Rowan Williams and Justin Welby among his supporters, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, published in 2010 which retells the story of Jesus as if he were two brothers, Jesus and Christ, with contrasting personalities was seen in some quarters as fanning the flames.

    The publication date of La Belle Sauvage on his 71st birthday was a happy accident rather than a deliberate plan, his publicist claimed, but a rejuvenated Pullman shows no signs of quietening down. His current bte noire is Brexit, of which he has been an outspoken critic. Sixteen months on from the referendum, he remains more convinced than ever that it is a terrible mistake. It is a quarrel between public schoolboys magnified by circumstances in the media into a gigantic existential crisis for the whole nation. The leaders of the Leave side are the most dishonest. Its frightening, really. If you can get someone like Michael Gove saying people have had enough of expertsits alarming to think were in a society where that can be said and not instantlyscoffed at.

    This brings us rather neatly to our first question, which is, perhaps not surprisingly, on the same godforsakensubject.

    Anna Maxwell Martin as Lyra in the 2003 stage adaptation of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre in 2003. Photograph: Donald Cooper

    Famous fans questions

    Why did the Remain side of the referendum lose and how can they convince readers and voters to change their minds?
    Andrew Rawnsley, the Observers chief political commentator
    I didnt hear the right arguments at least not until the night before the referendum when Sheila Hancock was on a television debate and she, quite rightly, pointed out that Europe is this great peace-making thing. Weve got an organisation here thats kept the peace in Europe for 70 years, she said, and we should be proud to belong to it. And I thought, thats exactly right. But the argument put on both sides was an economic one. You know, if we leave, it will be great because we can make trade agreements with all the other countries in the world who are just panting to do business with us. Its just hopeless, utterly dishonest and disingenuous. How do we change peoples minds? The only way to do it is with emotion really. If people havent got an emotional understanding that Europe is the best thing thats happened to us for 2,000 years, then they are easily persuaded that its a bad thing. They buy all these dishonest arguments about taking back control. Its just absolute nonsense! But people wont be simply argued out of this view. Terrible thing to have to admit, but reason doesnt work.

    How much credence do you give to the suggestion that somewhere, there might be other planets and worlds much like our own?
    Melvyn Bragg, writer and broadcaster
    David Eagleman, an American scientist, once said if you look at the night sky and hold up your thumb and look at your thumbnail, it is covering something like 10,000 galaxies. The amount of stuff up there, and the number of planets is infinite. It is not conceivable to me that there isnt life somewhere.

    You have said that every child needs to encounter music as early as possible I mean make, with voice, with clapping hands, with stamping feet, with instruments of every kind. Whats your own best music, whether listening or playing?
    Fiona Maddocks, Observer music critic
    I love all types of music jazz, great pop music, world music and folk music but the music I listen to most is piano music from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. Russian music in particular. One of my favourite composers is Nikolai Medtner. He was a contemporary and great friend of Rachmaninov, although not as well known. More and more pianists are playing him now, though. The only instrument I play myself is the ukulele. I like to just sit here and plonk.

    I wonder if you can tell us something about tractors and trees?
    Mark Haddon, novelist
    Aha! Mark is a neighbour of mine and I know just what he is getting at. About five years ago my wife and I bought about seven acres of land behind the house. It was rough grassland and hadnt been touched or grazed for decades, so we bought a tractor and a mower so we could mow the grass down and have a look at what was there. Having reduced the grass to a manageable level so that we could walk on it instead of fighting our way through thistles and brambles and giant hogweed, we thought it would be nice to plant some trees. So we planted about 700 trees and dug a pond, which was a complete failure because all the water leaks out as soon as it fills up but were going to sort that out. So you could say Jude and I are happily engaged in agriculture or arboriculture, or something like that. Its lovely to drive about on the tractor great fun.

    In the parallel world of His Dark Materials, science of a sort has flourished in spite of the religious authorities. What about the arts? Would Shakespeare of a sort be read in Lyras Oxford?
    Rowan Williams, former archbishop ofCanterbury
    Would the arts be crushed or allowed to develop? I dare say the authorities in Lyras world might well try to suppressthe arts. But thats an interesting story, which I havent written. Maybe I will.

    How much of your imagining of the Magisterium was shaped by real world events that were unfolding as you wrote?
    Katherine Rundell, childrens and YA author
    Very much. I suppose if Id been writing it 50 or so years ago, I would have had to look back in history for parallels, such as the Spanish Inquisition. But in recent times weve had so many new examples in all parts of the world of religious power being used ruthlessly and mercilessly for political ends, and thats what I find very dangerous.

    If you could lead a revolution in someone elses world, which world would it be?
    Frances Hardinge, childrens and YA author
    Ha! What an interesting question. I think Id lead a revolution in the Narnia story, and Id put Susan at the head, because she was the one who was turned away at the end because she was growing up and she was interested in boys. Yes, let Susan lead the revolution of the rejected in Narnia.

    Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

    What is the origin of the character Giacomo Paradisi, the true bearer of the knife in The Subtle Knife?
    Ed Sheeran, musician
    In one way he comes from inside my head, because he just turned up when I needed someone to be the bearer of the knife. In another sense, he comes out of a whole tradition of Italian folk tales and Italian storytelling, which includes such things as the commedia dellarte. I gave him an Italian name because that helped create the atmosphere I wanted.

    How do you know when youve written something good? How does it feel?
    Caitlin Moran, journalist and author
    It must be good if it still feels true and parts of it surprising when you read it for the 100th time, I suppose.

    Would you like to see your new novel, La Belle Sauvage, illustrated or would you prefer to let your readers visual imagination soar and conjure their own pictures in their heads?
    Shirley Hughes, childrens author andillustrator
    It is sort of illustrated, in that there are little chapter-heading vignettes. I did those myself for His Dark Materials but there wasnt time for this book things have just been too hectic. So an artist called Chris Wormell did them and hes done them marvellously. They are not full scale illustrations, just pictures, some of them symbolic, some of them actual objects which give a flavour or an atmosphere to the story and I do enjoy that.

    What is your own daemon?
    Frank Cottrell Boyce, author
    I think shes a raven. She belongs to that family of birds that steal things the jackdaws, the rooks, crows and magpies and I admire those birds. I applaud their enterprising way of dealing with the world and their intelligence. I love the way ravens fly: they are the most acrobatic and daring birds. So I would be very pleased if my daemon were a raven.

    Would you rather be a woodpecker or awriter?
    Meg Rosoff, author
    I dont think of myself as a writer. Writing is an activity, its what I do, writing is a verb. Most of the time Im not a writer because Im not writing. Im a grandfather or a cook or an aspiring ukulele player or a wood worker or a dog walker. Ive never been comfortable thinking of myself as a writer. I dont know whether woodpeckers think of doing other things they probably peck wood more than I write!

    Did it occur to you when you were writing His Dark Materials that within two decades the Magisterium would be so powerful in so many parts of the real world?
    Nicholas Hytner, theatre and film director and producer
    At the time of writing, things were already going that way and it did occur to me that it could get worse and this is undoubtedly what has happened. Repression in the name of religion has become more dominant, so we need to be more and more on our guard.

    Where does your attitude towards the church come from?
    Antonio Carluccio, chef and restaurateur
    Well, it comes first, and most deeply, from my family. My grandfather was a clergyman in the Church of England. I went to church every Sunday, I believed it all implicitly because grandpa told me it was true and I loved him. So the language of the prayer book and the authorised version of the Bible are inextricably mixed with my neurons and cells and memories thats one side of it. The other side is what I have read since, about the history of the church and the way the church behaved when it had power in Europe, and the parallels I have noticed between that time and areas of the world now where other faiths have power and are abusing it. Even faiths that we used to think of as being gentle, like the Buddhists who are behaving very badly in Myanmar. So my attitude to the church is twofold. Firstly its where I belong Im a cultural Christian. Secondly, I have learned to have a grave suspicion of all religious power wielded politically.

    How did you come up with the idea of the mulefa, the wheeled beings of The AmberSpyglass?
    John and Mary Gribbin, astrophysicists and science writers
    I can date that exactly to a holiday my wife and I had in Slovenia with my son it must have been about 20 years ago. We were walking around Lake Bled and there were a lot of people rollerblading along. My son was a great science fiction fan and I asked if he knew any books where there were creatures with wheels, and he couldnt think of any. Then we started talking about how it would be possible for a living creature to have wheels and thats where the idea came from. It was a useful one because it introduced the notion of symbiosis because the mulefa depend on the trees that produce the seed pods that become their wheels and the trees depend on the mulefa to pound the pods on hard roads so that they crack and then germinate.

    Are there any classical myths that you think we should live by today?
    Paul Cartledge, ancient historian and former professor of Greek culture at the University of Cambridge
    Im very fond of the story of Prometheus because, in essence, its the same as the story I was telling in His Dark Materials, which is itself the same as the story of the third chapter of Genesis: the story of Adam and Eve. Its about humanity acquiring knowledge and the gods who own the knowledge are very jealous of it and punish those who steal it. Ive always felt a great resonance in that myth and I think thats the one Id pick to live by.

    What would you most like to be remembered for?
    Sarah Perry, author
    It would have to be a book: I dont think Id want to be remembered for anything else! I suppose I might be remembered for His Dark Materials and maybe The Book of Dust, when its finished, because theyre big, and theyve been read by a lot of people. But I think Ive said this before Id most like to be remembered for a book called Clockwork.

    Why did you pick Clockwork, of all yourwork?
    SF Said, childrens author
    It is the most perfectly constructed story. Its short, which helps. Im very fond of it. I think it works in all the ways a story should work.

    How can we get the British public to accept that we have a responsibility to offer shelter and safety to refugees in larger numbers than up to now?
    Lord Dubs, politician and campaigner for refugee rights
    Its a very important question because we have a responsibility and we have, somehow, to change the story thats told from the one about social security scroungers and foreigners. I suppose its up to those who write the words to change the story. Its up to journalists to be responsible, its up to newspaper proprietors and in most cases thats a pretty hopeless cause. Perhaps there was a greater sense of responsibility in the days when the newspapers and the broadcasting franchises were the only media but nowadays, when anybody can broadcast anything on the internet, there is so much deliberate misinformation. The world is changing too fast for me to understand. Im a dinosaur, really.

    Many scientists enjoyed His Dark Materials because it contained so many ideas that chimed with modern physics, from the multiverse to dark matter and even quantum entanglement. I am assuming your new books will do likewise. Do you have to keep abreast of the latest discoveries and theories in science so that you dont miss a trick?
    Jim Al-Khalili, scientist and broadcaster
    Science is an unfailing source of wonder and mystery so I love reading about it. Having said that, my knowledge of science is paper-thin and a lot of the science I put in the books is set-decoration rather than anything deeper. I try and get it right, to make sure the sets dont wobble when people walk in the door. But if its convincing, its thanks to people like you and others who write and broadcast about science, rather than to any original thoughts about it that Ive had.

    If you could give to one public figure the gift of being able to see their daemon from this day forwards, who would it be and why? And what would their daemon be?
    Jack Thorne, playwright and screenwriter
    Donald Trump. Any visceral awareness that man could have would be an improvement. I dont know what his daemon would be something utterly repulsive. If he had to go everywhere accompanied by a loathsome toad or something similar, it would help us all a bit.

    Im greedy so I also want to know, how would our world be most impacted by our ability to see our daemon?
    We might understand ourselves a bit more. We might be less able to deceive ourselves about our own nature.

    Jack Thorne has adapted His Dark Materials for a major BBC series currently in production

    Whatever your age when you read it, everything you write is gripping, generous and lit with a layered understanding, one that suggests an agelessness of the imagination. Youre like Tove Jansson in that way. What is it about good writing that makes elements of age and time, as if by magic, irrelevant?
    Ali Smith, novelist
    I hope everybody who reads my books feels welcomed, whatever their age is. If they dont understand them because theyre too young then they will certainly be able to come back to them later. I dont exclude anyone and I dont believe, as some publishers want to do, in putting an age recommendation on the cover. The Tove Jansson comparison is a very flattering one because I love Tove Jansson. And like her, I think I am imagining things now in the same way as when I was a child. What difference does age make apart from general decrepitude and slowness and lack of energy? I suppose one thing thats changed is that I am now experienced enough to know how to write a long book. I know how to pace it, and I can judge by experience if an idea is going to last for 500 pages, because some will and some wont. But Im still moved by the same things or frightened by the same things. So in that respect Ive not left the child behind.

    Nicole Kidman and Dakota Blue Richards in the 2007 film The Golden Compass, based on His Dark Materials.

    Readers questions

    How do you think we can encourage the next generation to be critical thinkers? (Claire Watkins)
    You wont get critical thinkers and independent thinkers by following a rigid curriculum in schools with marks for expected answers. Theres got to be a freedom for teachers to leave the curriculum occasionally and to ask questions for which there isnt a prescribed answer with a certain number of points allocated to it. Theyve got to take risks and weve got to allow children the freedom not to know about things. This does not only have to happen in schools it can also happen in homes.

    Thanks to your recommendation, I recently discovered the joyful, bonkers Australian book The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. Are there any other secret classics Im missing out on? (Spum)
    The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay is the funniest book Ive ever read. It never ceases to amuse me. My favourite book thats not The Magic Pudding is probably The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton published in 1621. I just love it and it should be widely known. Its the funniest book you could ever expect to read about melancholy.

    Whos your favourite Spice Girl and why? (3FeetHigh)
    I suppose my favourite for a while was the blond one, Emma Bunton. Why, I havent the slightest idea. But I also admire very much what Victoria Beckham has been doing. Shes a genuine designer, not just a celebrity. Her clothes look very good and they work. And shes really worked hard to establish herself.

    When youre writing something with such a massive vision, like His Dark Materials or The Book of Dust, do you need to reel yourself in? How do you not end up writing a 2m-word book? (Elizabeth Logan)
    Well, exhaustion is a great help. Eventually you just get so tired you have to put your pen down. The other big brake is experience, I think. You sense how long an idea will last, how big it is, and you try not to overshoot the end. Its always better to write something short than something long, and I do cut a great deal. Maybe people think I should cut a bit more but I am a great cutter.

    If you could travel back in time and change one thing in a story you have written what would it be? (Zhou Fang)
    So many things instantly come crying at me: Me! Me! Change me! Cut me out! I think, if I had the chance, Id clarify The Amber Spyglass a bit. There are a few passages in that book which could have really done with another six months work. I was being hassled Come on, hurry up, write it, finish it and I let that get on top of me. I should have taken longer with The Amber Spyglass.

    Is Lyra an Eve character? If so, in what ways? (Theo Friedmann)
    In a sense she does fulfil that function in the story of His Dark Materials because she is the one who acts out the myth of the acquisition of knowledge.

    Do you think its possible for a really good writer to come out of the internet age? (Dave Marnell)
    There have been maybe four or five great revolutions in storytelling in human history: the first was when we acquired language, with its tenses and its possibilities and we discovered we could say things that werent actually true, but were enjoyable. The second was writing, making marks that preserve a story longer than the life of the person telling it. Then there was printing, which enabled stories such as the Bible and other things to be disseminated worldwide. Then in the 20th century there were the movies, another huge revolution. Now weve got the internet. Notice how these things are moving ever more quickly? Either that means were coming to the end of the cycle or theres something new over the horizon weve not dreamed of yet, I dont know.But writers will continue to emerge because writing telling stories and writing them down is a very ancient thing. Weve always done it, and as long as were human beings we always will.

    You dont force Lyra into a gender stereotype, and she is not written from the male gaze position. What do you think about other heroines in young peoples fiction? (narrare)
    Im glad that seems to be the case with Lyra. But I never thought that in order to make girls strong we have to make boys look weak. There was a sort of fad for silly, wimpy princes who had to be rescued by feisty princesses I dont care for that. Incidentally, have you ever looked up the etymology of the word feisty? Its to do with farting. So I never use it myself. Lyras a bit of a scoundrel in some ways shes a shameless liar, shes a barbarian, shes a bit of a savage, and those things are not necessarily admirable. But shes real. Shes based on no one in particular but I did teach a lot of little girls who were like Lyra. In every classroom in the country there are girls like Lyra. And in some classrooms there are boys in the same situation as Will Parry was in His Dark Materials. And there are boys like Malcolm in La Belle Sauvage. These are real children, theyre not divinely gifted or special.

    Whats your favourite pub in Oxford? (Jonathan Chadwick)
    There are a lot of very good pubs in Oxford. The one I used to go to a great deal when I was an undergraduate was the White Horse, on Broad Street, and theres a scene set in there in The Secret Commonwealth, the next book. The Trout in Godstow is a very good pub, too, and plays a big role in La Belle Sauvage. I havent told the owners or asked them if I can use the name, but its my world, not their world, so maybe its all right.

    Do you think that killing God, which is one of your stated aims in your writing, is a worthwhile or necessary objective in the 21st century? (Chris2131)
    The question doesnt arise in western Europe, because in western Europe God is already dead. In other parts of the world, the God who is believed to exist is an exceptionally nasty character and it wouldnt be a bad idea if it was put to sleep.

    What do you think will survive of our civilisation? (Hywel Jones)
    Literature will survive, because there are libraries, which will survive. Some of our visual art will survive, although artworks are more fragilebecause they cant be reproduced in large numbers: theres only one Mona Lisa, so if that goes weve lost it. Music is different because it depends on being performed. The score is not the music, its a guide to the performance. And if there arent such things as orchestras, well lose all that. Will science survive? I hope so because its science that will keep the wheels turning and the electricity flowing and keep the show on the road basically. If science doesnt survive, were in real trouble.

    What are your thoughts on the Nobel prize for literature going to KazuoIshiguro? (Lisa OKelly)
    Im glad he got the prize but itll wipe his next two years out, creatively speaking. Because how do you come back from that? Obviously, its a nice thing to happen, but once youve been given a prize and money and attention you feel obliged to be nice to people when they ask you to do things. But you shouldnt. You should say No, piss off, Im busy, I dont want to talk to you. You start asking yourself constantly, How am I going to live up to this? It is paralysing. Ishiguro is going to have to cultivate a level of benign indifference and just keep going his own way.

    La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman is published by Random House Childrens Books (20). To order it for 14.60 go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99


    7 turtle sex videos to help you celebrate World Turtle Day

    May 23 is World Turtle Day.

    On this of all days, we celebrate turtles — and we especially celebrate turtles making more turtles, so we can, in turn, celebrate those new turtles.

    Following that logic, we should celebrate turtle sex. Specifically, we should celebrate by ranking YouTube videos of turtles having sex. There are a surprisingly large number of them.

    Now, let’s be clear, the purpose of this ranking is not to shame any of these turtles for having lesser sex. All turtle sex is good sex because, as outlined above, it is making more turtles.

    7. The basic

    Nothing wrong with being basic. Here you have two turtles simply enjoying each other’s company. 

    6. The cuck

    Turtle sex isn’t always so emotionally uncomplicated. Take this unfolding drama in which a jealous rival interrupts a sensual moment in a romantic zoo setting.

    5. The scream of lust

    This mighty goliath knows how to show his lady he’s having a blast: by screaming in her ear and flailing his limbs around wildly. 

    Good vid.

    4. The orgy

    Why not share the fun? Turtles don’t seem to have hang-ups. 

    3. The sneaker

    Further proving that turtles don’t have hang-ups, here’s a feisty boy who has no shame in using accessories for his pleasure.

    2. The croc

    Here’s a turtle having sex with another shoe, but it’s a Croc, which makes the whole scene infinitely more interesting. Go get ’em, little buddy.

    1. The honesty

    And here is the best video of turtle sex on the internet, featuring this beautifully honest soul who will gladly share his inner-most thoughts on breeding. He knows how important this act is.


    Barbra Streisands dog cloning is a modern tragedy. Pets are meant to die | Stuart Heritage

    To own an animal is to learn about the inevitability of dying not that loved ones can be replicated in a lab if we cough up enough cash, writes Guardian columnist Stuart Heritage

    Barbra Streisand might not brim with the white-hot cultural relevance she used to, but nobody can deny that shes a trier. For example, when everyones back was turned, she went off and created her very own Black Mirror episode.

    In her episode, a broken-hearted millionaire realises that she cannot bear to part with her sick dog, so she spends an inordinate amount of money to have it cloned. However, with every passing day, the millionaire realises the futility of her gesture. The clones dont behave like the original, and the differences between old and new tear at her soul until she drowns the puppies in a lake.

    Apart from the last part (it wouldnt be Black Mirror unless it ended on a note of harrowing violence) this has all actually happened. In a recent Variety interview, Streisand revealed that her Coton de Tulear dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, were created in a lab. She had them made, at great expense, from genetic material taken from her dog Samantha, who died last year.

    Tragically, she now hints that it might have been a mistake. The new dogs might look like Samantha, but dont behave like her. Im waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness, she said.

    Without sounding too solipsistic, a big part of owning a pet is to learn about death. You take custody of an animal knowing that youre likely to outlive it. While its alive you swaddle it in as much love as you possibly can, and then it dies, and then youre bereft, and then, slowly, you learn how to move on. Little by little, pets equip you with the tools to deal with grief.

    Barbra Streisand refused to let go. Photograph: KMazur/WireImage

    I vividly remember the day my first pet died a guinea pig called Smartie. My mum met me at the school gates and told me that Smartie had passed away that morning. She told me that it wasnt anyones fault, and that Id feel sad for a while, but the sadness would eventually fade. It would hurt, but it would be OK.

    I remember grappling with the enormity of the information. I was six, after all, and this was my first experience of death. But Im pleased it happened. Its something that everyone needs to go through. Had my mum met me at the school gates with a bubble-wrapped Smartie clone, and explained that theres no such thing as death so long as a South Korean laboratory continues to churn out exact genetic reproductions of everything youve ever loved at tens of thousands of pounds a pop, you can understand how it might have skewed my understanding of mortality a little.

    And thats the saddest part of this Barbra Streisand news. It isnt that the clones were expensive and that her money would have been better going to charity. It isnt that she paid for them at all, rather than adopting a couple of strays from a shelter. Its that she refused to let go. She failed to grasp the most fundamental point of life: it ends. And once its over, you can never get it back. Nothing not prayer, not magic, not science can replace what was gone. You can come close, but itll never quite be the same. Some things you just cant run from.

    Stuart Heritage is a Guardian columnist


    Calm your dogs down with this fabulous doggy leotard

    This determined little boy just sent out an urgent PSA on behalf of a beloved four-legged friend. 

    Six-year-old Roman is calling on his followers to rescue Legend, a deaf and lovable Labrador retriever currently at Skagit Valley Humane Society in Burlington, Washington. The adorable video has more than 18,000 views, and counting.

    Roman’s passion for rescuing canines began when he was just 4-years-old, according to mom, Jennifer McConn. 

    “He opted to forego receiving presents on his fourth birthday and instead asked for donations so he could give those to a local rescue in Texas,” McConn told Mashable. “It’s kind of taken off since then.” 

    McConn said Roman typically enjoys interacting with dogs. He and his mom often make videos to spread the word about pups in need. 

    Now, for his latest mission, Roman is determined to find a home for Legend.

    Roman and Legend

    Image: jennifer mcconn

    Image: jennifer mcconn

    Image: jennifer mcconn

    Legend is just one of many dogs McConn and Roman have helped. 

    In fact, McConn runs her own animal rescue organizations, PAWS & Read and Project Freedom Ride, dedicated to caring for, sheltering, and rescuing dogs from kill shelters in Texas. 

    “We transport dogs up to rescues and humane societies such as Skagit Valley Humane Society or to our direct adopters,” said McConn. 

    “Typically dogs that are in the humane society are our first priority to visit but there is always one or two non-Project Freedom Ride dogs that pull on our heart strings, like Legend.” 

    Image: jennifer mcconn

    Image: jennifer mcconn

    Roman is a true example that you can be a hero at any age.


    Kind family tries to release baby squirrel they nursed back to life, but things take a turn

    After nursing an injured squirrel back to life, a kind family from Collierville, Tennessee, decided it was time to return their little buddy to the wild. 

    But Tom the cat had other plans.

    After placing the baby squirrel on a tree in their yard, the man in the clip affectionately rubs its back.

    “There you go. Go on up that tree,” the man says. Then, out of nowhere, Tom swoops in and rips the poor little squirrel right off the tree.

    According to the YouTube description, Tom did drop the squirrel at the family’s front door, as cats do. Unfortunately, the poor little thing did eventually succumb to its initial injuries — though Tom totally had nothing to do with it. 


    Careless whisker: Universal to release album for cats

    David Teie from University of Maryland creates Music for Cats featuring purring, suckling noises and cello to calm felines

    They are a particularly tough audience picky, moody, often impossible to please but cats represent an untapped music market, according to one of the worlds biggest record labels.

    Universal Music has announced it will be the first major label to release an album that is not for human consumption although, until cats get bank accounts, humans will have to pay for it.

    David Teie, an American cellist and music researcher based at the University of Maryland, has created Music for Cats, saying it is an absolutely serious undertaking . He said: It is the biggest challenge with this, people think it is silly. But I think it is the way the brain works . If I look at a door and say thats a fish, you are going to say thats a door . Everybody knows what music is and animals are not included. If you really look into it, whats silly is the idea that only one species could have music available for it.


    14 photos show the abandoned pets of Chernobyl and the humans who want to save them.

    The dogs must have known something was wrong. As hours, then days passed, they must have waited by the door, listening to the town’s sudden silence, wondering when their masters would return home.

    In the early hours of April 27, 1986, the people of Pripyat were told to evacuate their town. Something had gone wrong at the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. People were already getting sick. They could take their important documents and food with them. Nothing more.

    As nearly 50,000 of them climbed onto buses, many ended up leaving their family pets behind. It probably didn’t seem like such a big deal — officials had told them they could return in just a couple of days.

    But they’d never come home again.

    That was 31 years ago. Today, the original inhabitants of Pripyat are long since gone. But the pets — the pets are still there.

    Two stray dogs with an old cooling tower in the background. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    Well, their descendants are, at least. About 900 stray dogs live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone — 1,000 square miles of restricted, still-partially contaminated Ukrainian forest about two hours north of Kiev. The radiation is high enough that visitors are limited in the amount of time they’re allowed to stay.

    An abandoned building in Pripyat, within the exclusion zone. Photo from Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    Many of the dogs live around the power plant, which puts them in contact with the men and women working on sealing it. And that’s a problem.

    Several thousand people work in the exclusion zone every day. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    The workers are there to build the sarcophagus, a huge steel and concrete structure that will seal off the still-dangerous former nuclear power plant. The dogs have learned to rely on the workers and the increasing number of tourists for food.

    Without humans, the dogs would have to compete with other forest animals for food. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    But for every pup who is friendly towards or at least tolerates humans, there are many more who shy away or could even be dangerous. There’s also the risk that they could catch and spread rabies or other diseases from the wolves and other animals that live in the zone.

    Radiation isn’t the only danger in Chernobyl. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    But one group in particular wants to change this. Meet the Dogs of Chernobyl.

    Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    The group is made of vets, volunteers, and radiation experts from all around the world. Launched by the Clean Futures Fund and working with Ukranian officials, the group runs a recurring vaccine and neutering campaign for the animals.

    The campaign runs for several weeks each year. During that time, vets capture the dogs and give them check ups and shots.

    Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    Rabies vaccines in particular will help keep both the dogs and humans safe.

    Not all of the dogs are people-friendly. Tranquilizer darts help the process along for the shyer animals.

    The man with the blowgun is Pavel “Pasho” Burkatsky, a professional dog catcher from Kiev. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    The pups also get spayed and neutered in order to keep the population in check…

    Bob Barker would approve. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    … and given a radiation check.

    A Geiger counter reveals this dog has had about 20 times the normal dose of radiation. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    Researchers are still learning what the long-term effects of the radiation have been on animals and plants.

    Ultimately, they are tagged and released.

    Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    Some of the dogs are also getting collars with radiation sensors and GPS receivers in order to map radiation levels and help researchers learn more about the inside of the exclusion zone.

    Locals were initially suspicious of the group but warmed up when they saw how well the animals were being treated.

    Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    The old, official method of dealing with the dogs had been to shoot them. The vets’ presence put a stop to that. Within a week, the vets were canteen celebrities, says Lucas Hixson, the group’s co-founder.

    When they held a weekend event in the city to help spay and neuter stray cats, so many locals showed up to help they had to turn some away.

    The campaigns run for several weeks a year, with this year being the first run. Two more are planned, although more might be in the works, Hixson says. They’re raising money to hire a full-time veterinarian to stay year-round.

    Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    They might even be able to help the dogs find their way back to the homes and families they have lost.

    Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

    In the future, young animals might be able to be adopted or trained as service or therapy dogs, Hixson says. The descendants of those abandoned pups might once again find themselves waiting eagerly at the door.

    Only this time, there’s someone coming home to them.


    40-ton whale filmed jumping fully out of the water like it’s some kind of hotshot dolphin or something

    An enormous adult humpback whale was filmed breaching fully out of the water off the southeastern coast of South Africa in early July. The massive whale propels its full body out of the water, like it’s some kind of fit young dolphin or something.

    The impressive sight was captured by scuba diver Craig Capehart and witnessed by three other divers in his boat.

    “It seems that never before has a recording been made of an adult humpback whale leaping entirely out of the water! A very rare event, indeed,” Capehart writes although not confirmed in the video’s Youtube description.

    Good air, whale. Good for you.


    Justin Timberlake holds stranger’s baby Lion King-style at golf tournament

    Asking a celebrity to hold your baby might otherwise get you detained by security, but not at a celebrity golf tournament apparently.

    In this video uploaded to Reddit by user GuacamoleFanatic, a dad tries desperately to get every star that walks by at a celebrity golf tournament to hold his baby. He first asks NBA star Steph Curry, who walks by without a glance. He desperately tries for Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo, all while holding his unfazed child in the air. He then spots Justin Timberlake, who he knows might play along.

    The dad puts Justin under pressure as the crowd starts a convincing “Hold the baby” chant. Justin stops in his tracks, compelled by the voices, and blesses the baby by holding him in his arms.

    Not only does Justin cuddle the baby like the natural father he is, but then Steph joins in (after first refusing the baby, mind you) and suggests raising the baby Lion King-style and singing the iconic opening line of “Circle of Life,” solidifying this baby as their new king.

    This baby doesn’t realize, or care for that matter, that this is by far the best thing that’s happened to him in his very short life.

    Bringing a baby to a golf tournament might not be the best idea, but had this baby not been there, he wouldn’t have had the chance to be cradled by Justin Timberlake.

    He’s bringin’ baby back.


    Fans of Hemingway’s six-toed cats can breath a sigh of relief after Hurricane Irma

    All the cats survived.
    Image: FACEBOOK

    As Hurricane Irma blew through the Florida Keys over the weekend, some of the archipelago’s most beloved residents ran for shelter — on their six-toed feet.

    The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum on Key West is home to a long lineage of six-toed cats, descendants of the esteemed author’s own polydactyl cat, Snow White.

    These unique felines had many fans and museum employees worried for their safety in the face of the storm.

    Happily, David Gonzales, the museum’s curator, told MSNBC on Sunday that all 54 cats had successfully weathered the storm. Gonzales and other employees spent Saturday night in the museum with the cats.

    “The cats are accustomed to our voices and our care. We love them. They love us. We all hung out together,” Gonzales said. 

    The curator told The Washington Post he felt confident that the museum’s humans and animals would remain safe. “We are not in a flood zone. This is an 18-inch block-limestone building that has been here since 1851 and is still standing,” Gonzales said of the Spanish Colonial style home.

    Hemingway lived in the house in the 1930s and continued to visit Key West until his death in 1961, according to the museum. The cats are one of the museum’s most popular attractions and spend their days lounging in the home or garden.

    Not all of the cats have six toes, but they all carry the polydactyl gene, the museum says. Most of the cats have six toes (instead of the normal five) on their front feet. Some have extra toes on their back feet as well, where most cats have only four toes. 

    Some of these famous felines have famous namesakes.Cats named Kim Novak, William Scott, and Gremlin, among others, are buried beneath marked headstones in the home’s cat cemeteries in the garden. 

    In addition to their extra digits, these cats may be extraordinary in other ways. Gonzales told MSNBC the cats were aware of the impending storm, and “some of them actually ran inside, knowing it was time to take shelter. Sometimes I think they’re smarter than the human beings.”


    ‘Lady Bird’ director commits to never working with Woody Allen again in a firm statement.

    Greta Gerwig and her film “Lady Bird” had a big night the Golden Globe Awards.

    The film landed the award for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), and star Saoirse Ronan nabbed that category’s Best Actress designation. Though Gerwig, who wrote and directed the film, was snubbed when it came to Best Director honors — somehow, she wasn’t even nominated — it was a great night for her work.

    Gerwig, flanked by “Lady Bird” stars Laurie Metcalf (L) and Saoirse Ronan (R) take photos after winning the award for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, during the 2018 Golden Globe Awards. Photo by Frederick J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

    Like many in Hollywood, Gerwig wore black to the awards in solidarity with others pushing back on sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry — which made one of the post-awards questions she received a bit awkward.

    Backstage at the awards, BuzzFeed reporter Susan Cheng asked Gerwig a question about her past decision to work with Woody Allen, who has been accused of molesting his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow when she was just 7 years old. Gerwig and Allen both worked on 2012’s “To Rome With Love.” Her answer to Cheng’s question left a lot to be desired.

    “It’s something that I have thought deeply about, and I care deeply about … and I haven’t had the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion where I come down on one side or the other, but it’s something that I’ve definitely taken to heart,” she told Cheng.

    It echoed a similar response she delivered in a November interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, in which she deflected a bit from the question at hand.

    Before the show, Farrow wondered why Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement had spared her father.

    “I thought it would make a difference,” she wrote, referring to a 2014 post detailing the abuse Allen had inflicted on her. “I thought things would change. I learned quickly (and painfully) that my optimism was misplaced. His time wasn’t up.”

    “The people who join this movement without taking any kind of personal accountability for the ways in which their own words and decisions have helped to perpetuate the culture they are fighting against, that’s hard for me to reconcile,” she told BuzzFeed, a nod to many of the actors who’ve continued to work alongside her father.

    Gerwig and Allen at the 2012 premiere of “To Rome With Love.” Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

    On Jan. 9, Gerwig finally addressed the issue head-on in an interview with The New York Times, acknowledging the cognitive dissonance involved in some of her past statements.

    Asked whether people who’ve been outed as sexual predators — such as Allen, Kevin Spacey, and Roman Polanski — should ever work again, Gerwig seized the opportunity to issue a firm, unambiguous statement on her personal employment history with Allen.

    “I would like to speak specifically to the Woody Allen question, which I have been asked about a couple of times recently, as I worked for him on a film that came out in 2012. It is something that I take very seriously and have been thinking deeply about, and it has taken me time to gather my thoughts and say what I mean to say. I can only speak for myself and what I’ve come to is this: If I had known then what I know now, I would not have acted in the film. I have not worked for him again, and I will not work for him again. Dylan Farrow’s two different pieces made me realize that I increased another woman’s pain, and I was heartbroken by that realization. I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist, and I cannot change that fact now, but I can make different decisions moving forward.

    Gerwig speaks on stage after winning Best Picture, Comedy or Musical, at the Golden Globe Awards. Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

    Compared to what usually passes for a statement of clarification or apology in the entertainment industry, this was really, really good. A lot has changed in the world since 2012, and even since November 2017, and it’s fair to say that Gerwig has grown a lot in the years after “To Rome With Love” came out. She can’t change her decision to work with Allen in the past, but she can commit to using what she now knows to inform what she does in the future.


    Zoos and aquariums are reviewing their animals and it’s kind of adorable

    Image: francois guillota/AFP/Getty Images

    Zoos are giving animals Amazon-esque species ratings, and it’s honestly kind of great.

    The trend started Friday with the Oregon Zoo in a tweet hashtagged #rateaspecies. Other animal conservancies got in on the fun – including aquariums – providing informative ratings for people looking to, er, buy the products.