Is Orange Is the New Black Too Funny?

OITNB-940-full

Count me among the many who happily binge-watch Netflix’s most successful series, Orange Is The New Black. It has what most great shows have: nuanced characters, great dialogue and an interesting story arc with just enough ridiculousness sprinkled in to make the mundanity of everyday life seem entertaining.

Except, what Orange unpacks is a little more than mundane ordinary life. The show, which centers on the lives of the female inmates of the fictional Litchfield Correctional Facility, makes jail the centerpiece of its LOLs and hijinks, then snaps the audience back into the grittier realities for a pathos-driven push-and-pull to humanize the way we think about the incarcerated.

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I Miss White Bread

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Poor bread.

Nobody wants to eat it anymore. It’s full of carbs. And gluten. It’s made from wheat.

I’m not talking fancy-ass bread, the kind that comes in the extra-cost “bread service” at elite restaurants these days, made from spelt and oats and black rice and seaweed, served with anchovy-tamarind-apricot spread. I’m talking white bread, the fluffy stuff that used to be a given at the start of any meal out and a staple of the home dinner table. That you ate with butter, not a plate of extra virgin olive oil pocked with herbs.

I miss white bread. Read more »

I Tried It: My Very First (And Last) Chest Wax

Chest

The nipples. The nipples are where I think it all went bad. I can’t remember. It’s all just a foggy, pain-filled memory now.

Or maybe it all went bad before that — like at the precise moment I agreed to have my chest waxed in the first place. Take one look at me and you’ll pretty quickly discern I’m not really the kind of guy who gets a regular wax: I’m chunky, and recently ended a half-decade of freelance writing, so my wardrobe consists mostly of blue jeans and black T-shirts. My hair is generally trim and so are my nails, but I’m not at all fashionable — I don’t live anywhere near the Realm of Metrosexuality. Chest waxes? Those are for guys with extra cash to drop and a bit more style than I’ve ever demonstrated.

Still, when the call went out at Philly Mag for men to test local “manscaping” establishments, I volunteered. Why? A couple of reasons. First: The adventure — part of the fun of journalism is getting, occasionally to do and see things close up that other people either can’t or won’t do. I’ve been in police chases, presidential motorcades, and more. It’s more fun to say “yes” to new experiences than to fear them.

Right? One problem: Some experiences are meant to be feared.

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Whoa, Kids! Stop Horsing Around With “Woah”!

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Keanu: Whoa or woah?

So I keep seeing young people spell the word “whoa” as “woah.” And I can’t figure out why this is. It’s not like “wh” is an unusual way for a word to begin. (What? Where? Who?) And it’s not like the word has two syllables when you pronounce it: woe-AHHH. So — why? Before you know it, “woah” will have become a word on its own and “whoa” will be forgotten, kicked to the roadside, left on the dust heap of obscurity along with the distinction between “rein” and “reign,” which is another error that’s a burr under my saddle. But that’s a horse of a different color. And anyway, going against the millennial tide is like beating a dead horse, right? Read more »

Does Handwriting Really Matter?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

As a product of Catholic school education, it’s hard for me to imagine a world where good penmanship doesn’t matter. In fact, I still remember a day in sixth grade when I was instructed to re-write a cursive letter “D”’again and again because I opted to put my own personal flare on the old-fashioned stencil. Aside from the personal trauma that comes with overzealous instruction from ladies dressed in habits, there’s a different kind of psychology associated with handwriting, according to a piece in the Times.

“Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information,”the story goes. “In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.”

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Which TV Ad Babe Is For You: Progressive’s Flo, Toyota’s Jan, or AT&T’s Lily?

Flo, Jan, Lily.

Flo, Jan, Lily.

First there was Flo, the kooky TV spokeswoman for Progressive Insurance, stuck inside her weird futuristic white sales habitat, bundling things together, demonstrating the Name Your Price tool and monitoring the security cameras.

I didn’t mind Flo. She was different, a little bit Manic Pixie Dream Girl, quirky without being off-putting. Once she headed out of the store, though, Flo began to seem more sinister. She tried to pick up strangers riding motorcycles. She had that bizarre encounter in the rain with a young man. Was he her lover? Her customer? I didn’t want to speculate about Flo’s love life. I liked her because she was flirtatious without flaunting her sexuality — fun and feminine (sort of) and nonthreatening when she popped up in the lulls of college football games.

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Kanye West, Kings of Leon to Headline 2014 Made in America Festival

Kanye West and Kings of Leon's Nathan Followill. Photos | Shutterstock.com

Kanye West and Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill. Photos | Shutterstock.com

The Budweiser Made in America Festival is set again for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this year, and this year’s artists were finally announced: The two headliners this year are Kanye West and Kings of Leon.

The other groups performing this year:

Tiesto, The National, Steve Aoki, Pharrell Williams, J. Cole, Girl Talk, Spoon, Chromeo, City and Colour, Grimes, AWOLNATION, R3HAB, Gareth Emery, De La Soul, Baauer, Tommy Trash, Mayer Hawthorne, Kongos, 3LAU, The Neighborhood, Danny Brown, YG, Holy Ghost, Penguin Prison, Destructo, Bleachers, DJ Cassidy, Cherub, Will Sparks, Young & Sick, Vacationer, Cut Snake, Kaneholler

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