+
Most Shared

A movie went behind the scenes, and now SeaWorld is just trying to stay afloat.

People love orcas, but things have changed since they learned the real cost of seeing them perform.

Orcas are amazing creatures.

They're also called “killer whales," even though they're actually members of the dolphin family. Orcas are smart, endearing, and social. They live in communities called “pods" when they're in the wild.


Unfortunately for them, orcas can also be awesome performers in captivity.

Marine parks around the world draw big crowds to orca shows, and big bucks.

One of the most well-known marine parks is SeaWorld.

SeaWorld has been around since 1959 when it was a small bird sanctuary and garden associated with Anheuser-Busch. It's long presented itself as a place for educational entertainment that teaches kids and their families about marine animals.

In July 2013, though, a movie — “Blackfish" — exposed what life is like for whales at SeaWorld when the crowds leave. It shocked a lot of people and triggered a series of events that look an awful lot like a downward spiral for SeaWorld.

Here's why what happens to SeaWorld is really important.

Every entertainment venue in the States and around the world that relies on captive wild animals has to be watching what happens to SeaWorld with concern. The lesson those venues may be learning is that properly respecting animal rights and more seriously considering their quality of life is the only way to stay in business now that audiences have shown how much they care.

Here's some of what's happened to SeaWorld, starting with the release of “Blackfish."

July 2013: "Blackfish" is released.

"Blackfish" is the story of one orca, Tilikum — a performer who wound up killing several people.

In telling Tilikum's story, the film reveals what it's like to be an orca in captivity. The film suggests a link between these conditions and Tilikum's violence.

November 2013: Students upload a message to SeaWorld on YouTube.

February 2014: SeaWorld is cited by the USDA for Animal Welfare Act violations.

"We stored these whales at night in what we call a module, which was 20 feet across and probably 30 feet deep."
— former SeaWorld trainer

According to SeaWorld's own information, their average orca is over 21 feet long. Um, 20 feet across?

March 2014: A legislator proposes banning orca captivity.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would make it illegal to “hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes." The penalty for violating the law would be up to a $100,000 fine and/or six months' jail time.

May 2014: SeaWorld's attendance drops by 13%

In January, February, and March 2014, attendance was down by 450,000 visitors compared to the year before.

July 2014: Southwest Airlines ends its relationship with SeaWorld.

For 26 years, SeaWorld had partnered with Southwest Airlines, with planes painted to look like SeaWorld orca Shamu. No more.

August 2014: SeaWorld Entertainment's stock plunges 33%.

November 2014: Protesters grab attention at the televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

December 2014: SeaWorld CEO leaves the company.

CEO Jim Atchison steps down from SeaWorld — with a $2.5 million severance package, mind you — and a board member resigns as well.

February 2015: SeaWorld loses 1 million visitors.

Compared to February 2014, SeaWorld's attendance is down by a million visitors.

You can check out the entire timeline video from The Dodo of SeaWorld's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year and a half.

Hopefully, everyone gets the message.

SeaWorld's learning the hard way that earth's creatures are not just there for our amusement, and other companies like them have to be reading the writing on the wall for this kind of entertainment. It's time to come up with less invasive, more respectful ways of getting to know these animals.

There are still orcas at SeaWorld.

We're fascinated by these creatures, and if we didn't understand what they'd been going through before, now we do. It's never been our intent to see animals like orcas suffer, and hopefully, that suffering's going to come to an end soon.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less