Friday, December 30, 2011

Throwing Up, Out 2011

As I sit here pondering the end of 2011, it all seems peaceful.  If I look back at the year, it seems like a fairly good year, personally.  If I pull out and view it in its entirety, not so good.  A lot of trials and tribulations throughout the world in 2011.  A friend posted a JibJab video recapping the year on her Facebook page and by the end, I could barely breathe.  Even my child said to me, "what a sad year."  (

Politics and politicians are completely draining and disheartening. The Arab Spring is both exciting and unnerving. Where will it all end?  The financial world seems to be exactly the same for the haves, the 1%.  Doesn't seem that with all the scandals and collapses they skipped a beat.  The 99% are still struggling. Some loudly, some quietly.  The constant debate during elections about pro-choice/life, evolution, family values, religion, kills me.  Stop it!  
Stop the obstructionism.

The movies this year have been very disappointing.  The NY Times business section last week wrote about how the numbers are down.  Think about that.  Numbers are down, as tickets cost more.  Maybe the studios need to re-set just like Congress.  Stop 3D movies.    Interesting that Mission Impossible is doing so well during the holidays.  I think it's been #1 for 3 weeks. A seemingly summer movie release, released at the holidays.  It's working, go figure.  

We lost some incredibly great celebrities.  Though most that died lived long lives, it never seems time.  I am always saddened by the losses.  I am also thoroughly surprised when all the programs do the "In Memoriams."  Some deaths I remember as clear as day, others are a surprise, and others seem long ago.  I don't want to name names because undoubtedly I will forget important people. 

So as 2011 comes to an end, take a moment to look back and if it was a good year for you, close your eyes and take a moment.  If 2011 was a crappy year for you, take a deep breath and look forward.  2012 is coming so soon.  Be safe, happy and healthy in the coming year! 

Sidebars:  Big mistake for Kelly Clarkson to tweet her endorsement for Ron Paul.  No win in that for her and then she had to back pedal.  Just vote in the booth.  Guiliana Rancic.  I am not a fan, but I have gained a lot of respect for her since she announced her bout with breast cancer.  I am sure she is looking forward to 2012.  To everyone:  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nike, ugh!

For almost as long as I have been an adult, I have had a negative feeling towards Nike.  Actually, I hate Nike.  I think that they are a greedy company that is the epitome of capitalism gone awry.  In the early 80's, Nike started to take over the sneaker market.  They became the must have purchase, particularly for urban youths.  In NYC, kids were killing kids for their Air Jordans.  I always felt that Nike should have donated loudly to urban cities to encourage and help kids.  Build community centers or throw money at existing after school programs to counteract the violence and greed.  They didn't do that.  

Nike year in and year out has used underpaid labor in Asia to create their stylish overpriced shoes.  When the Tsunami hit and destroyed much of Phuket and the surrounding areas, what did Nike do?  Reportedly, they donated $1million dollars.  Sounds like a lot?  Sandra Bullock donated $1million dollars.  A single individual not a gigantic multi-billion dollar corporation.  

I have boycotted Nike as much as I am able.  Sometimes, there are no choices.  Now with my children doing team sports, sometimes it has to be Nike.  Begrudgingly, I have begun to soften my stance until last week.  I received a tweet from Harvey Levin at TMZ about the brand new, hot Air Jordan being released on Friday, December 23rd.  TMZ was giving a pair away.  I thought how odd and let it go, until later when I turned on the news.  Right there on  the screen are thousands of largely minority consumers stampeding to be one of the first owners of the brand new Air Jordan.  I couldn't believe it.  First of all, I can't believe that anyone still cares about Michael Jordan.  Second, how disgustingly manipulative.  It made me feel sick to my stomach just like I felt watching the throngs of people acting like animals on Black Friday (which began Thursday night).  

So, again.  I don't like Nike.  I wish that someone would do an investigative report on them.  I wish that someone would dig around, contrast and compare Nike with Adidas, Reebok, and any other sneaker company.  I don't have the resources, but I do have the ability not to spend my dollars whenever there is a choice in a company that seems unbearably greedy.

Sidebars:  After taking a little more than a week off, I did want to come back with some fuzzy warm story, but this is want stuck in my craw.  Happy last Wednesday of 2011!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mulling it over....

It's Friday and school is out for the winter break.  The final push to get to this day is always a lot of deadlines and projects due.  For me, it's mulling over what to do. It's a funny time of year.  In NYC, what any other time of year you may do without thought, the multitudes of people make every outing more challenging.  Spending a few hours in midtown on Wednesday, was fraught with maneuvering the streets and sidewalks without incident. There are people pushing, shoving, texting, yelling, singing, begging, and shopping. You can hear the clang of the Salvation Army workers' bells all over town.  

From the outside, you'd think that the stores were packed and unbearable, but from my shopping experience this year, the stores aren't that crowded.  The people are out in hordes, but the stores aren't packed.  Going into the stores is a respite.  I went into a brand new Daffy's and there was no one in the store.  Maybe people don't realize it's there.  Bloomingdale's over the past weekend was busy but not overwhelming as in other years. The mega Toys R' Us in Times Square was busy but not crazy over the top.  For those who may not know this, there is a huge ferris wheel inside the store.  Usually, packed, but on this matinee day, there were empty cabs going around and around.  

Believe me, I love NYC at this time of year.  Shopping has never had anything to do with it.  It's beautiful and wintery. This year, we have had an unseasonably warm November and December. Maybe that's why there are more people outside than inside.  The decorations throughout the city make it more beautiful than it is during every other time of year. We do do the holiday lights here better than any other place I've seen.  

Enjoy this time with your friends and family.  I may be quiet for a bit, but I will still be ranting and ruminating somewhere.

Sidebars:  The X Factor finally got rid of Marcus Canty. Down to three and the finals are next week.  At least there is one new show on television next week.  If you didn't get a chance to read a fellow bloggers column the other day, here is the link.  I have said before and I will say it again, I wish that I had written it:

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not "Glee"-ful

Glee's Christmas episode really left me speechless.  I was mocked by some that "me speechless" is dubious, but I am still shaking my head. I am not totally sure why it hit me so off kilter.  I have been a faithful viewer through good episodes and less than good episodes since Glee began airing.  This particular episode seemed like a throwback to times when stereotypes were accepted wholeheartedly.  

Filming the episode largely in black and white, having the actors speak very carefully and distinctly, all gave it the 1950's feel.  I cringed at the stereotypes that Kurt, the young gay man, loved Liz Taylor so much that he wanted to bid on Elizabeth Taylor's jewels.  I cringed when Rachel, the diva and Jewish, gave her financially struggling boyfriend, Finn, a long list of what she wanted for Christmas.  Really?  Christmas?  Why bother bringing up religion at all in the series, if you are going to toss it out at will.  Inexplicably, two lead characters were left out of the B&W portion of the show.  It was curious.  It seemed like it was either a financial decision by producers or the actors were busy the day of the shoot.  

I don't think I can do it justice in words why I felt creeped out by the episode.  It didn't feel right. Ridiculously, it felt exclusive like the old Christmas shows used to make me feel.  Such an odd feeling.  The whole episode was so bizarre.  I don't think that I was alone in that feeling either.  Okay, so if you saw it and have feelings or opinions, I'd love to hear.  

Sidebars:  American Airlines is ridiculous for considering tossing 30 Rock off their in-flight entertainment.  Boys in the sandbox. The Biggest Loser season finale was fascinating, as always.  The dramatic changes in the contestants from the inside and the outside are astonishing.  Great inspirations.  Shockingly, it all begins again in 3 weeks.  
If you have time to read more, read the article that I have linked here.  It is well worth the read:

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nothing Is Common

When I began writing this blog, I started by saying that I am from the party of common sense.  Since that day, I feel that I am alone on the island of common sense.  What the hell is happening in Washington?  Why is there any politician not protecting those that need them most?  Is that one of the functions of government? Am I wrong?  Isn't government supposed to protect us?  I am not saying that we aren't also supposed to be responsible for ourselves, but sometimes s**t happens.  If I lose my job, can't put food on the table, pay my rent, care for my kids, isn't government there to help?  Hasn't it been that way since the Great Depression?  We have unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other programs to give a helping hand.  If government guts all the programs that have helped the masses with cuts, after cuts, after cuts, what's going to happen?  I do think that politicians in DC are out of touch, self motivated, and share no risks.  If they vote not to extend the payroll tax cuts, does it affect any politician?  What is the take away?  I know that many want to revoke Obamacare. What's it to them?  They all have great healthcare provided by the taxpayers for their "service."  Maybe we have made the job of Senator or Congressman too cushy.  Maybe they need to live on salary alone like most Americans?  No perks, no free healthcare.  Maybe they should spend more time with their constituents instead of in DC.  

The other night watching the Republican debate, the take away for me is that Ron Paul makes the most common sense.  He's plain spoken and direct.  I presume he is the Barry Goldwater of our time. I was a tad young to know Barry Goldwater in his heyday. Ron has been around forever.  He probably has no chance, but like Bernie Sanders, he is a very important voice to have.  He marches to his own drum.  He is probably more Libertarian than the Republican party of today, but he speaks out and not just to hear his own voice.  

Why is Washington bending over backwards to help the richest people in this country?  I don't understand how that is a winning strategy.  I know that many voters tend to vote against their own best interest, which is a whole other set of issues.  Why would you vote for representatives that don't want to raise taxes for the richest Americans?  Why would you vote for people that keep cutting important programs for Vets?  Why would you vote for anyone that only cares about the micro-world and not the whole?  Believe me, I know that these are all rhetorical questions. There are no answers.

Sidebars:  The New York Post reported that Derek Jeter is playing the field now that he is a bachelor.  The parting gift is a signed baseball and a limo ride home.  If he'd have an old lady, I'm in.  The X Factor backlash on Nicole Scherzinger continues. It will be interesting to see what happens to her and the show. The Biggest Loser finally is tonight!  Enjoy your Tuesday, wherever you are.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

National Criminal Allegations Association

Ah, the NCAA.  The all mighty powerful boys club that runs college sports.  The overlord that charges universities for recruiting violations year in and year out.  Did you see The Blind Side or read the book?  Ah, what a great example of a moral dictatorship.  The NCAA that were all over the players at Ohio State University for selling their bowl rings for money so they could get tattoos.  What a terrible thing; sell your own items for something you'd rather have.  Dang!  Slap them down fast for such an infraction.  Done.  USC (the school I loathe more than any other) was taken down for football because their then star, Reggie Bush, received some fabulous perks from boosters so he could live a better quality of life while making zillions of dollars for the university and the NCAA. POW!  You're out and we are painting over any memory of you at USC.  

So, where is the NCAA on rape?  Do you hear anything?  Wait, what?  Crickets.  That's all I've heard since the allegations against Jerry Sandusky and Penn State have come to light. Crickets.  Did you hear about the assistant coach at Syracuse? ESPN had the story years ago and chose not to investigate.  Now, ESPN is all over the whole pedophilia angle in sports. Way to go.  The money that the overlords are making means more than upsetting the apple cart, it seems. After we take our collective showers to scrub off the stank from these horrifying crimes against our children, where do we go from here?  

As a parent, I have often been accused of being too careful and cautious about adults with my children.  As long as I can remember, we taught our children to never be alone with an adult, even if it is their own teacher.  How horrible!  What an incredibly pathetic mantra to pass on to our children. And yet, everyday since the Sandusky alleged rapes have surfaced, there are more disgusting details, new adult criminals charged in other schools or organizations, and we are all hearing the unseemly details.  Just this weekend, a head of the AAU Boys Basketball organization is charged with sexual molestation when he was a coach.  Do you know how many kids go through that system?  Thousands upon thousands.  So what do we do as parents?  How do we balance a child's hunger and desire for sports and keeping them safe from criminals and sick minds?  I don't have an answer.  I really am at a loss.  

Sidebars:  The Amazing Race finale was totally anti-climatic. Letdown.  Watching the episode of Homeland last night, we all needed xanax to get through it. Tim Tebow.  Happy for him that he is such a believer, but do people really think God has time to help the Broncos win games?  Enjoy your Monday, winding down to winter break. 

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Friday, December 9, 2011

X Doesn't Mark the Spot

Nicole Scherzinger should lose her job immediately on the X Factor.  Up until last night, she was just annoying.  A thorn in Simon Cowell's and my side.  Last night, she took it to a whole other level.  If you have never seen the show, elimination night is a tad annoying from the outset.  The home audience votes someone off and then, the two other low vote getters, must sing for their life to stay. Then each judge, makes the decision whom they'd send home.  If it is one of your "team" members, clearly the vote goes to your singer. So last night it was between the stellar, thirteen year old singer, Rachel Crow, and the sometimes really good, Marcus Canty.  They each sang their survival songs.  Having watched this show for most of the season, I can tell you that Marcus often doesn't sound good while I am sitting in my family room watching and listening.  Sometimes, the two women (Nicole and Paula Abdul) go on and on and on and on how special and gifted he is. I seldom feel that way about him.  When he sings for his survival, he definitely is at his best.  Now, Rachel Crow on the other hand...she is special. She is deeply talented for her thirteen years.  I would dare to say that she is wise beyond her years.  Maybe she has had past lives.  Her voice is amazing.  If the judges sit there and say she has a future, I don't think it's B.S.

So, let's go back to Nicole and last night.  They both sang. Marcus was better than usual. Rachel was incredible. Brought down the house.  The judges voting begins.  L.A. Reid chose to send home Rachel because he mentors Marcus.  Simon chose to send home Marcus because he mentors Rachel. Paula hems and haws and then chooses to send Marcus Canty home.  So, the vote is two for Marcus to go and one for Rachel.  Nicole is sitting in her chair, teary, on the verge of sobbing.  "I can't decide,"  "I can't make this choice (sob, sniffle, sob)."  During her teariness, Rachel asked if she could say something to Nicole.  Rachel told Nicole it's okay either way.  So, Nicole, a judge mind you, decides to take the cowards way out.  If she makes it a tie, then the singer with the fewest votes, goes home.  She votes (sob, sob) to send home Rachel. It's two and two.  Steve Jones, the dullest host trying too hard on TV, gets the envelope.  He opens it and reads the name of the person going's Rachel Crow. She crumbles to the ground in deep sobs.  Nicole is sobbing at the judges table.  Both are inconsolable, except for one difference. Nicole did this because she was such a bloody coward.  Disgraceful.  I have watched a lot of these competition shows and never seen anything like this.  The pain was palpable.  Her mother came out on stage to try to help her.  It really was awful.  I can't imagine that Simon will ever speak to Nicole after that and for the sake of the viewing audience, she should be sent home herself.  She isn't a good judge and she absolutely proved it last night. Steve Jones tried to get a comment from Nicole and the live audience booed her and she refrained. The wrong person was sent home.  Can't wait for The Voice.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Just Wild About Harry!

Harry Morgan.  I can't say that I am devastated that he died.  He lived 96 years and brought hours of joy and talent to the big and small screen.  You might think, "how odd that I care about Harry Morgan."  Harry Morgan is one of my earliest childhood memories.  When I was 4 years old, I was sitting with my Mommy watching Pete and Gladys.  Does anyone else remember that old show?  There was a breaking news report.  It was the first time of many to come that interrupted my show.  I was 4, I didn't understand.  President Kennedy was assassinated.  All I understood was that my show was interrupted.  Pete was no longer on the screen entertaining me.  I honestly don't have any memory about what my Mom was doing?  I just remember that I was mad.  I didn't want the news. I wanted Pete and Gladys. (Interesting that my kids were 4 when 9/11 happened.  Big world events at such a young age).  

I always loved Harry Morgan.  He was comfort food for me.  I loved Dragnet. I loved M*A*S*H. I always get a kick out of watching a movie and there he is.  He was one of the most affable of actors.  I keep going back and forth between is and was because the one incredible thing about being an actor in film and television is that he/she never totally dies.  The body may be gone, but we can still enjoy hours and hours of entertainment.  Harry Morgan's voice, unmistakable.  Distinctive and warm. Even though he may have played a curmudgeon sometimes, he was the sweetest most adorable curmudgeon ever.  Harry Morgan, you may be gone, but you will live on forever in all the roles you graced us with. 

Sidebars: The New York Post is reporting that they are in talks with Ryan Seacrest to take over for Matt Lauer. Please say it ain't so.  It can't happen.  Besides, he would have to take a huge pay cut so it probably won't happen.  The X Factor is down to five this week.  Can I say that Nicole Scherzinger is the superlative queen?  Every body is amazing, God's gift, a huge star, so deep, so honest, the best since ___________, the next _________________.  Really?  Come on, Nicole, you may be an incredibly nice person, but you have got to learn how to critique. There can't be two Paulas.  Casting thought: if they do the life story of Newt Gingrich, who better than Alec Baldwin?  

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


This week is a definite ruminating week.  Brain going too fast and much mulling over of the past and future.  This week I am not spending at all in the present.  Spent an incredible 3 hour lunch with a former colleague.  The anticipation after not seeing him for ten years brought up so many different memories and feelings.  During the time together, it felt completely comfortable.  It didn't feel like it had been ten years.  It didn't feel like we only had the past in common.  There was much catching up to do and hard to finish one tale at a time.  I think that both of our brains were spinning fast and every story reminded us of something else.  There were things that I didn't know that happened at work or did I block things out?  We spoke about our current lives: relationships, travels, work, children, pets, homes, families, etc.  Things for both of us have only improved in the decade since we were together.  Quality of life issues and all.  When lunch began, it was bright out.  When we got up from the table to say our goodbyes, it was that early darkness of winter. Time flew by.  We spoke of future plans. Here's to the next time.  

In the back of my mind though, I knew I had so much to do.  I offered and wanted to proofread my husband's book. I am a stickler for typos and misspellings.  Low tolerance and it's all around.  I have had ample time, but somehow the time has been slipping by.  Instead of just doing it, I have been thinking about it. Procrastinating.  I am sure that I won't find anything and that is probably why I have put it off.  The pressure is on, the deadline is here, and what am I doing?  I am writing about it, have to pick up new glasses, and I am going to a JV basketball game.  I will get it done, but now I feel the weight and the guilt.  The deadline is Friday and the release date is early March. I will be shouting it from the Twitter tops, the Facebook pages, the email blasts, and the street corners.  It is very thrilling and exciting.  I am very proud and in many ways, can't imagine what the feeling must be.  When he holds the finished product in his hands for the first time, the new book smell, and it's his....

Sidebars:  The Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Fall fundraising period ended.  Though Billy Elliot took the prize for the most money made with it's cast of thousands, Hugh Jackman got a special award for his fundraising because he raised more than double of every other Broadway show.  Hugh is the man!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hugh, Hugh, Hugh

Thanks to a dear friend, I had the opportunity to see one of my all time favorites in his one man show.  Hugh Jackman.  He has to be one of the most talented and versatile actors in show business.  He seamlessly goes from Peter Allen to Wolverine to Leopold to Robert Angier to....You get the picture.  He goes from Wolverine to Curly to Billy Bigelow to Jean Valjean.  I don't know if there is another actor with the range and depth of talent.  His voice soars above all, cuts straight to the core of your soul. No really. His encore of Once Before I Go by Peter Allen left few dry eyes in the house.  His humor and charm make you feel like he is ad libbing the entire show, as if it is the first time, the first audience, the first run through.  That is a gift. Being in the moment.  I am sure that every member of the Broadway audience felt that special connection.  It isn't like a Justin Bieber kind of love that the teenage girls have, it is a palpable love and respect.  

Hugh Jackman honors his entire life throughout the show.  He tells wonderful stories about his Dad, his wife, his kids.  The love he has for his homeland is quite admirable.  Clearly, he understands the deep and painful history that is Australia.  He honors the Aborigines by bringing their story to the stage and having four of them perform. The drop down screen shows different photos of life in the outback.  Gorgeous. He understands the throughline from where he comes from, not just his own personal history, but performance history, too.  He knows that he didn't just show up, spit out from a black hole.  He honors the great movie stars of yesteryear that he watched on television in Australia.  He gives the spotlight to each of the people in his cast and orchestra. He and his team put together a wonderful show. 

If that's not enough, Hugh Jackman does an exemplary job raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.  He auctions off his sweaty undershirt to the highest bidder.  At our performance, he raised $7000.00 for two.  He then offered to take photos with anyone who would spend $2000.00 to BC/EFA.  The line was very long.  He must have spent a half an hour after the matinee taking photos with another show in three hours .  He must have raised upwards of $40,000.00.  That's amazing!  Within the Broadway community, they have a friendly rivalry to see who raises the most during the fundraising campaign.  With a largely one man show, I can't imagine anyone raising more.  

My friend who arranged the afternoon, surprised us and arranged for us to go backstage and meet him briefly.  We didn't have to pay the $2000.00.  He hugged and kissed us all.  Gracious. Not rushing.  We were keenly aware of his time and took our leave.  We walked out the stage door and as soon as we got through the barricades, the door opened again, there was a roar from the crowd, flashbulbs went off, people from all over 44th street swarmed the streets to see what they could see.  It was an incredible feeling.  I wonder how long he stayed.  He had to rest before the evening show and doing it all over again, the whole thing.  What a phenomenal man.

Sidebars:  Went to Leopard at Cafe Des Artistes for our anniversary dinner.  The whole experience didn't disappoint.  The new owners respected the history of the restaurant, cleaned up the murals, spiffed it up a bit, and turned it into a must.  The food and service were wonderful, but above all, it was the perfect capper to a very special day commemorating a life changing day.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

X Marks the Spot

Did anyone else watch the X Factor last night?  It was classic.  It was the elimination show for the week, based on the votes of the people at home.  Shockingly, the young rapper, Astro, from Brooklyn was sent home first with the lowest number of votes.  I was truly surprised because Americans voting seemed to base their votes on the single performance of the night before and not other extemporaneous reasons. Astro was under the tutelage of L.A. Reid. Astro is a really great rapper and writer.  Every week, I waited for Astro to break out into some really great voice, but it was made crystal clear, that he can't sing.  His gift is writing and rapping.  There was a second elimination in the second half hour and the two contestants that had to have a "sing for their life" were Marcus (L.A. Reid, mentor) and Drew (one of Simon's team).  Before I heard their final plea in song, I thought for sure that Drew was going to be sent home.  After they sang, I thought Marcus hit some really bad notes, which was what I was accustomed to until the night before's competition.  I was wrong about him. I wasn't.  He really does have pitch issues.  The host, Steve Jones, asked the judges whom are the sending home?  Began with L.A. and of course, he voted for Drew after a long winded, B.S. explanation about how much he loves them both, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Simon's up next.  He implored the women to please keep Drew, she deserved to stay, and he took total responsibility for the choice of song she sang and the direction.  Nicole Scherzinger, up next, gave her complete, teary, full of it explanation, and picked Drew.  Paula Abdul. It all ends or begins with her.  The score is 2 for Drew, 1 for Marcus. If Paula didn't want to choose, the person with the lowest votes by the viewership would be considered.  Paula hemmed and hawed.  She voted Drew off.  If Simon Cowell was a cartoon character, the steam would've come out of his ears.  He got up from the judges table and went to hug Drew as she was inconsolable. She is just a fourteen year old girl. When he got up to the stage, Simon gave such an incredibly classic villainous look.  Maybe a bit like Sissy Spacek at the end of Carrie.  He was so pissed.  He didn't want to say one word to Steve Jones.  Drew pulled it together and thanked all the people that supported her.  Simon was asked if he had anything to say to the other judges.  He didn't.  Steve Jones asked him if he had anything to say to Drew.  He was clear anything he had to say, he'd say it off mic and off stage.  Steve Jones went back to Drew to push one more statement.  Drew pulled it together, took a deep breath and said, "Jesus loves all of you guys and I didn’t have the chance to say it before but that is why I am in this competition." Fade to black. 

Sidebars:  Thank God It's Friday.  Hope that everyone has whatever kind of weekend you need.  I am going to see Hugh Jackman tomorrow matinee!!!!!  I am celebrating 30 years since the blind date that changed my life.  Yes, it's true.  It was 30 years ago tomorrow, December 3rd, that I met my husband to be.  The staggering part is that I don't feel that old.  

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