London Lessons: Mind the Gab

London Lessons 1

I love talking to people. I love when a conversation goes from “I like your boots” to “where are you from” to “have a great day.” Conversations like these, by British standards, are very rude when attempted on public transportation. Everyone (I mean everyone) rides the Tube, and it seems that they have all secretly agreed to treat their commute as meditation time. People might chat with a friend, but I often see couples and groups of friends sitting together not talking at all! Once, a man passed out on the train late at night and, aside from a drunk nineteen-year-old who claimed to have medical training (and let’s hope she did, because she administered CPR) and a security guard reporting into his walkie-talkie, the entire car stayed silent. I thought sipping pinky-up was polite, but these are manners like I’ve never seen. After one too many eye-rolls and curt responses, I now make sure I always bring a book on the train. Otherwise, it gets too tempting to bug people.

Above ground, London is an incredibly welcoming city. Baristas will tell you about their favorite museum and the best time to visit, police officers gladly offer directions, and chatting at a bar is practically expected. But as for the Tube, Queen Mum’s the word.

Cartoon Plague Hits Family Guy. Who’s Next?



Normally witnessing a character on Family Guy suffer a mortal wound/illness/fight with a giant chicken is no big deal, but this week’s episode, “Life of Brian,” shocked fans when Brian Griffin was hit by a car and didn’t survive. The show’s producers had been promising that a member of the Griffin family would kick the bucket, but obviously we all thought it would be Meg. Brian was immediately replaced by a new dog, Vinny, voiced by The Sopranos’ Tony Sirico.

Brian’s death has many other cartoon characters nervous, especially with The Simpsons making a similar vow to do away with one of their Emmy-winners. “I don’t let Bart skateboard without a helmet these days,” said Marge Simpson, “just in case the producers are going for a public safety angle.” Last week, Lisa Simpson was spotted on the Springfield Elementary School playground wearing a bulletproof vest, and Grampa Simpson was seen getting the flu shot three days in a row.

Meanwhile, citizens of Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon are also taking precautions. Security has been heightened tenfold in Adventure Time’s Land of Ooo and Bikini Bottom was evacuated after the news of Brian Griffin’s death surfaced, or rather, submerged. When asked to comment on the fear surging through his city, Spongebob Squarepants responded bravely, “I love bubbles.”

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Ask Me How I’m Feeling: Van Damme’s Volvo Commercial


Volvo has invented the most high tech roller skates known to mankind.

In a YouTube video released earlier this week, martial artist and roller skate enthusiast Jean Claude Van Damme demonstrated the new Roller Volvos. Complete with D13-LNG engines, each skate has a whopping eighteen wheels –over four times what the “classic models” sport — lending quadruple the support to the lower back and gluteus maximus. Van Damme clearly approves because he looks nothing short of delighted in the video. One could compare him to a little girl on Christmas; he seems that close to squealing.

And who wouldn’t with their legs that far apart? Van Damme wears his Roller Volvos proudly while doing his world famous Sk8 Split, which is exactly what it sounds like. Just like in his eight-month Off-Broadway run of Xanadu, Van Damme does not wear a helmet. He does, however, say something badass about the X Games… or something. We couldn’t quite catch it through that accent, which he picked up, by the way, studying the art of yoga-skating in Belgium as a young boy. Again, that is exactly what it sounds like.

The video, which already has over 33 million views, also features the roller skating anthem “Only Time,” by Enya. In multiple interviews, the singer has divulged that the song was inspired by her brief stint on the U.S. Olympic roller derby team. She recently confirmed that she already pre-ordered a pair of pink Roller Volvos in a size six.

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Lady Driver Detour: A Word On Luxury

dirty car

After my conversation with JMPR President Joe Molina two weeks ago, I have been contemplating the idea of luxury, especially when it comes to the cars we drive. When I do the math in terms of hours, it’s obvious that my car is a huge part of my life: I spend more time with my Ford Fiesta than I do with my boyfriend. That’s love, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s luxury.

My car bears the brunt of my anger more often than my boyfriend does, due mostly to traffic on the 10. I’ll park it under a tree at night only to find it covered in bird droppings the following morning. I consume coffee, juice, and, sometimes, entire personal pizzas in my car and leave all the trash in the passenger’s seat. I drive until the low fuel light beeps…twice.

And that doesn’t feel too luxurious.

“This would never happen if I had a Porsche,” I often mutter to myself, opting to blame my poor Fiesta for L.A. traffic, my general messiness, and the uncontrollable bowels of birds. It’s an abusive relationship to be sure, but when I stop to think about it, I know none of it is my car’s fault. It’s mine …

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Jenna Marbles’ New Boyfriend: An Obsessive Overprotective Fan’s Guide

Finally, my Facebook super sleuthing skills have come in handy. Check out this article I wrote for
jenna face
Warning: this article contains mild internet stalking.

Last December, fans of internet sensation Jenna Marbles were devastated when she announced that she was splitting from her boyfriend of four years, Max Weisz (known on YouTube as MaxNoSleeves). Those who follow her channel – as in, those who almost failed midterms because watching every single one of Jenna’s videos in one sitting felt more important than studying American History – got to know Max through his increasingly frequent cameos on her YouTube channel, where he tried to be as funny and adorable as Jenna but … failed. Yes, he had nice teeth, but Jenna revealed in April through a series of angry Tweets that Max cheated on her and that his “piggy backing” channel no longer had her support.

You go, girl.

In the past few weeks, Jenna’s videos have featured her new beau, Julien Solomita. He’s the one playing Billy Ray Cyrus and showing off his abs in the shower. According to BuzzTube, Jenna hired this beefcake as a bodyguard for her trip to Ireland in February, and fell for him over a pint of Guinness. Because Jenna’s Draw My Life video in March got us teary by speculating that she could still get back together with Max, we weren’t on the lookout for a new boyfriend. The multiple Instagram photos that Jenna and Julien were in together during the spring went right over our heads; we thought he was just another scruffy fan. Read More

Five Songs I Want to Write for Princess Bride: The Musical

princess bride the musical

With all the Hollywood movies getting the Broadway treatment these past few years—Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Newsies—it’s easy to overlook all the silver screen options. (Then there are the screen-to-stage adaptations we’d rather forget; Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, anyone?) Rumor has it that the 1987 action/comedy/drama/fantasy/romance (what genre does it not touch on?) The Princess Bride might be next. Although plans for a musical version written by The Light in the Piazza composer Adam Guettel were shelved in 2007, Disney Theatrical Productions has pressed the restart button. For those of us that watch The Princess Bride at least once a year, this could be better than a “dweam within a dweam.”

To move the process along, here are five songs that need to be in Princess Bride, The Musical.

1. “As You Wish”: How about be kick off the show on a romantic note as Buttercup and Westley duet their way into true love? We can hear the violins. Plus, it’ll make a perfect reprise when “Dread Pirate Roberts” reveals his secret identity.

2. “Inconceivable”:  Think “I Just Can’t Say No” from Oklahoma!—twangy, upbeat, and stubborn. This would be a great solo for Vizzini as he kidnaps Buttercup and sings about his infallible logic. We all know how it ends: “Death By Iocaine” in D flat.

3. “My Name is Inigo Montoya”: You killed my father. Prepare to belt. Our favorite leather-wearing, feather-bang flipping hero needs a ballad that he can croon while engaging in swordplay. The song could explain the origins of his thirst for revenge and should sound like one of the victory tunes from Les Mis. Read More …

Ask Me How I’m Feeling: Making Love Like Gorillas

Top 40, Meet Jane GoodallAccording to his single “Gorilla,” Bruno Mars likes to get down animal style. Calling upon his inner King Kong, he croons about how even a SWAT team would not be able to get in the way of “you and me, baby, making love like gorillas.” Hmm. Sounds romantic. And possibly feral.

As this song gains momentum on the charts, inevitably doomed to haunt commuters as they hear it 12 times during their morning commute, it’s time to ask the important questions. Mainly:

Why gorillas?

True, they are kind of our cousins, and science has found that they are one of the few other species who has sexy-time just for funsies (dolphins being the kinkiest of those select species). It’s just interesting that Bruno is trying to appoint gorillas as the mascot of making love.  He eschewed cats, chickens, ferrets in favor of monkeys that kind of look like furry, angry, elderly people who forgot to put pants on.

Maybe he chose gorillas because the majestic Chihuahua was already taken by Taco Bell …

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Gorillas Making Out