Archive for December, 2011

by Christina Ricchiuti,
PackedSuitcase.com

 

Harry Potter fans celebrate plans for new theme park in Hollywood

Get ready, West Coast Muggles … the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in California!

Just when you might think that our favorite boy wizard’s been replaced by the latest literary craze (I’m looking at you, Hunger Games …) Universal goes all-in and continues to make Harry the cornerstone of its amusement park empire.

This looks to be a good move. The Orlando attraction, which opened to the masses in June 2010, led to a 68% increase in attendance during the first 3 months of 2011 and continues to be a top incentive to visit the older Universal Studios parks. Needless to say, the Orlando version has been a resounding success, and the Los Angeles attraction is sure to draw its fair share of fans as well. READ MORE

by Matthew Karsten,
ExpertVagabond.com

 

South African Penguins

South Africa has a serious problem that’s spiraling out of control. Fluffy, lovable, tuxedo-wearing balls of feather are on the loose. Think you’re immune from the charms of an African Penguin? So did I. But after strolling along the bright turquoise-blue waters around Simon’s Town, I quickly discovered how wrong I was.

Hundreds of these funny birds line the white sand of Boulders Beach, sunbathing in style and protecting their eggs. Normally penguins would have been the last animal I expected to find in Africa. But there they were directly in front of me! Did you know African penguins like to sing too? Unfortunately their songs sound like a cross between a donkey and a kazoo. But don’t tell them that to their faces, as they are easily offended. READ MORE

Alec Baldwin Gets Booted Off American Airlines Flight

Alec Baldwin is back in the news again, and this time it has nothing to do with his tense relationship with his ex-wife Kim Bassinger or because he decided to berate his daughter again in a candid cell phone conversation. This time the 30 Rock celeb was booted off an American Airlines flight after he refused to turn off his phone. Apparently he was in the middle of playing the addictive game, “Words with Friends.”

OK, we’ll discuss the 2 sides to this story later, but for now, let’s get to a more important matter. Do we really need to turn off our iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices before the plane takes off or lands? I mean are we really harming anyone by wrapping up those last-minute phone calls or listening to the last verse of Adele’s “Someone Like You?”

Well, the FAA rules are clear. Everything must be turned off before the plane pushes back from the gate or prepares to land. Experts say high radio frequency signals are transmitted from video screens on portable devices. “There is a potential for these signals to cause interference to the (airplane) radio,” Boeing Technical Engineer Bruce Donham says. There’s no hard proof that radio frequency signals have ever causing in-flight problems or a crash, according to NBC News. READ MORE

Marilyn Monroe

Tonight at 9/8c, Mysteries at the Museum, examines the death of Marilyn Monroe, the blonde bombshell who still manages to fascinate the world nearly 50 years after her death. Her story may have been one of high glamour, but it was also universally relatable. Marilyn was “seeking the oldest of rainbows — to be herself and unafraid,” as director John Huston once put it. That may explain why some 40 books have been written about her. And dozens of actresses have played her. The latest is Michelle Williams, whose turn as MM in My Week With Marilyn, is already generating Oscar buzz.

But for all the focus on Marilyn “the lost girl,” another part of her story remains equally fascinating: the circumstances surrounding her death. In tonight’s episode of Mysteries at the Museum, host Don Wildman explores some very unsettling questions. Like, what exactly was Marilyn Monroe’s housekeeper doing on the night Marilyn died? And whatever happened to Marilyn’s diary-gone-missing? (The one in which she probably had a thing or 2 to say about the Kennedy brothers.) Did Marilyn simply die from an overdose? Or did she know too much?

Check out our sneak peak for clues and tune in tonight for Mysteries at the Museum at 9/8c to find out more.

Marcus Sakey and Rafael Tovar in Chicago

Cities are more than brick and concrete. They’re made of stories. And the best stories are usually about the worst people. In the new Travel Channel series Hidden City, crime novelist Marcus Sakey travels from city to city to explore 3 crimes or criminals who reveal the dark undercurrent of that city. We kick the season off by taking a unique look at Chicago.

Marcus starts by getting into the head of America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes. Holmes built a “castle” that became a death chamber for hundreds of victims. Marcus talks with architect Carlos Martinez about how Holmes used his twisted mind to create a hotel of horrors that included torture chambers, hidden passages and asphyxiation chambers. Then he talks with a police officer and demonstrator who were on opposite sides of the baton during the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots. Marcus also gets pepper sprayed to put himself in the shoes of the protestors. His time in Chicago ends with firing a Tommy gun and learning about John Dillinger’s death from gangster expert Jon Eig.  Discover more about each of these stories in the Hidden City Crime Files: Chicago.

Catch the premiere of Hidden City on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 10|9c.

Tony in Rome

Tonight at 9|8 c, catch an all-new episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. With only 32 hours before his flight out, Tony takes the Eternal City by storm. Watch as he embarks on a high-speed tour of the city’s sights in a classic Fiat 500, gets a lesson in Italian breakfast etiquette and challenges a Roman chef to make a Hawaiian pizza that Tony actually enjoys. Also, learn all about Rome from the people who know it best: the locals.

Don’t worry about making note of all the pizzerias, salumerias and gelaterias that Tony visits and recommends in the show. If you want to replicate his trip, just take a look at our Episode & Travel Guide and read through our selection of Tony’s travel tips from the episode.

For an extra dose of Tony after the show, check out this missing scene in which  he rants about airport security inefficiency.

Organic Skincare Products for Men

Tis’ the holiday season! Christmas is right around the corner, and finding the perfect gift for your significant other can be a hassle. Well, Travel Channel already has a few gift guides on the website, but we wanted to include a few gift-giving suggestions for the consummate gay traveler.

The Gift Guide for the Gay Guide is not only for the gay traveler, but it’s for women or that stylish straight guy who’s always on the go. Our list includes something for everyone, including skincare products, a unique relaxation mat, an emergency roadside spotlight/beacon and much more. READ MORE

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