Monday, December 31, 2012

New Empire State Building lights

video

Fifteen Things I Enjoyed about 2012



1. Turkey.  The trip to Turkey was amazing. I loved Istanbul – with the architecture and history.  And I loved going on a boat and learning to sail.  And I loved making new and deeper friendships with people I hadn’t spent that much time with.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the trips this year, but Turkey was a highlight.

2. Marriage Equality passed by voters in Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota.  After such a long and bad run, it was wonderful to feel something besides disgust at my marriage.

3. Cloud Atlas.  Movies seemed to be back this year.  And, for me, none was as ambitious and surprising as Cloud Atlas.  It did try too much and didn’t always succeed, but it always tried.  And great turns by Jim Broadbent, Bill Winshaw and Halle Berry more than made up for Tom Hanks’ mugging and mangled cockney.

4. Newsies on Broadway.  Top Tapping and Fun.  Scoff if you must.

5. Dora.  Our niece is growing up to be one of the happiest little girls I have ever seen.  She does everything with exuberance.  I wish the world was more like her.

6. Eating Chicken Enchiladas for breakfast on a trip to LA.  Some things just feel like home.

7. As Wide As I Can See off Broadway.  Playwright Mark Snyder did wonders for me in a year where Off-Broadway is as great as every.

8. The Restoration of the Theodore Roosevelt Hall of the Natural History Museum.  Restored beautifully, despite some very politically incorrect, but time appropriate, art.
9. The Republican Party Primary process. It’s 9-9-9 Cain!  No, now it’s Moon Base One Gingrich! No, now it’s Rick “What was that 3rd one?” Perry!  No, now it’s Michelle “PVP inoculations cause Mental Retardation” Bachman!  Nope, it’s 47% Mitt heading down the home stretch.

10. The response of Americans to ASSININE rape comments by politicians (“A woman’s body has a way of shutting down in cases of real rape.”  “I have never heard of rape causing pregnancy.”)  Even Republicans told them to zip it.
 
11. The US Open.  It's always fun, Ed's new job made it spectacular.  I got to watch Llyton Hewitt in probably his last US Open and Andy Roddick in his last US Open.

12. Trevor.  He is always a crack up and a comfort and a calming influence.

13. My Bruins.  Back or not, they did well (and Beat SC!).
14. New York, most of the time.


15. My husband.  All of the time.



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saw Les Mis - and Aaron Tevit was in it! (Updated)

So, an old Mascot of the Month - Aaron Tevit was in Les Mis.  He plays the head of the rebels (who's name is Enjolras - but I didn't know that until I looked it up.  He looks a little goofy with the curly hair, but they wanted Marius to stand out as the only rebel with good hair, so I get it.
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At the table: Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Aaron Tevit as Enjolras
Aaron (if you don't know) originated the role of the son in Next To Normal both off Broadway on on Broadway - as well as starring in Catch Me If You Can.  He is an amazing voice and actor.
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Otherwise how was the film?  Well, every song you liked in the play is in the film.  Every song... every single one.
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And they are done in CLOSE UP and quiver'y.  I suspect that if you never saw the stage show - you will love it.  If you have seen a good production of the stage show, the movie is a little long.
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Eponine - as always - fantastic.  Anne Hathaway is also great.  Hugh Jackman is great (if a bit much - but then it's the role).  Go see it if you are interested.  Eddie Redmayne - as Marius - has a fantastic voice.
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Update.  Ed noted that it is harder to "suspend" disbelief in the movies than it is on stage

Friday, December 28, 2012

Spire Starting at WTC 1

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World Trade Center 1 (once called the Liberty Tower) is beginning completion - over due and over budget, but near the end at last.  You can see it in the left of this picture (the tall building on the right is in Jersey City - and you can just make out the Statue of Liberty in the center of the picture).
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The glass facing work is almost done.  The big winds this week - and even Tropical Storm / Hurricane Sandy didn't seem to effect it.  The base of the spire was shipped in a few weeks ago - there were pictures in the paper.
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It seems like it might be done by late spring early summer.

Of Blimps and Dirigibles and Dreams

A proposed Cruiser that would need less space than an airplane.
Fantasy, whether steam-punk or basic, is filled with airships.  You can find them all over fiction, science-fiction and even future science (Popular Mechanics and other magazines of those types regularly hype the coming of the new dirigibles).
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I confess to loving the idea of traveling by blimp (or Zeppelin or whatever you want to call it).  The idea of floating lower to the ground and proceeding at a stately pace seems magical.  Watching the world go by. 
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Steampunk version of a airship
You would get (I imagine) a similar feeling as to that of a helicopter - which is a beautiful way to see things.  I have been in a helicopter tour of Capetown and the ruins of Ankor in Cambodia.
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There was, for years, a route of Zeppelins around the world - brought to an end by the disaster in New Jersey.  It occurred because of the Hydrogen used in the gas bag that was flammable.  One of the reasons that the Germans used Hydrogen was because the United States had (and still has) great reserves of Helium that we wouldn't release.  Much of it still stored (in Texas I think).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Golden Age

Eddie and I went to see Golden Age, the new Terrance McNally play last night.  It was in an intimate theater with Lee Pace and Bebe Neuwirth.  They were great.
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It is all about the backstage shenanigans at the 1883 Paris Premiere of the opera The Puritans.
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It has received some terrible to boring reviews.  It is a bit talky, but I think the bar for Terrance McNally who wrote Master Class, Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, and Ragtime is just higher than for most people.  I really enjoyed it - although it was too long.
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And who can resist Bebe on stage.
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Lee Pace as composer Bellini.  Amazing sets, costumes and lighting!  Lee & Bebe were great.

Oddly enough, Lee Pace - in the first act - seemed to be doing a Jeff Max impersonation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thunderbirds Are Go... :-(


If the phrase, "Thunderbirds are go!" means anything to you, then you will find this news sad: Gerry Anderson, the co-creator (along with his wife Sylvia) of the sixties British puppet adventure showThunderbirds, died today at the age of 83,according to his son.
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In similarly sad news (for those familiar with Madison WI) the Marsh Shapiro, owner of the Nitty Gritty also passed away.  It will be a Blue Christmas without them.

Christmas Memory #3

So, when I was little we started our Christmas Celebration on December 21 or 22nd (I'm not sure which - I am sure someone will correct me if they remember).  This was at Unc and Jane's house.  Unc (short for Uncle - I don't remember his real name, everyone called him "Unc") or Jane's birthday was on the 21st or 22nd, so rather than compete with Christmas, they celebrated the whole thing together.
Aunt Smitty (in a dress & heels, the only picture I have seen of her like this)
Unc and Aunt Jane.  Look at the curtains!  I loved that house.

A picture of the booty.  The TV was a built in console from the 40's!
Look at the size.  It ultimately came to me, but Mark gave it away.
On of the chihuahuas is on the harth rug.
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The family would drive over to Unc's for Christmas dinner (family in this case being Zela, Martha, my Grandfather and me - joined  by my Dad and Mom when they were still married).  Now, at some point this was a pleasant affair, but by the time I remember the whole thing it would inevitably dissolve into a major scene, usually before dinner.
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Unc and Jane were quite the drunks.  I don't mean that judgmentally  it was just what we called them in the olden days.  By the time I was aware of life, Unc spent most holidays in bed, "sick", usually Jane took him his medicine, until she got hammered, then someone else, often myself, was sent in carrying the Scotch on the rocks.  Aunt Jane drank pony beers - these little 6 ounce cans that she went through by the case.  Every year, around 3 PM my grandfather or my father and I would have to make a run to get a case for Jane - she blamed it on the guests.
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Unc and Jane fought spectacularly.  I mean, they were quick witted and then slooshy.  And they always pulled me by their side at some point to trash the other one.  Unc and Jane had beautiful furniture and all, but not too much money.  Apparently he was a war profiteer and sold gas on the black market (he was a motorcycle racer and had "contacts" - this was always said a little scary.  He had met Aunt Jane in the heydays of Hollywood where she was a cigarette girl at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (where the first Academy Awards were).  Unc's mother - crazy Aunt Smitty - was convinced Unc married beneath him and brought it up yearly - about the time Jane was too drunk to get up and Unc needed more "medicene".
Jane one year.  I got the couch and table too.  The couch got left in San Mateo
destroyed by Oscar the cat!  The couch had lights in the back.  Amazing!
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Back to the house, if you see the furniture remember this was in the early 1960s, and most of the stuff was bought in the 1940s.  It was beautiful at the time.  Unc also had glass panels made for the shower that was a full sized naked woman, that had little holes where the nipples would be.  Quite the scandal for a 6 year old Scooter!
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Unc loved my mom because she would drink with him - also my entire father's family loved my mom more than my dad.  A different story, but understandable.
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Jane started cooking early, but never finished in time.
By the time dinner was ready, Unc and Jane were screaming at each other and we all usually beat a hasty retreat.  The idead was to have dinner, open presents and have a good-bye drink.  By the time I remember going it was open presents so we could leave right after dinner.  Then arguments started, at some point Aunt Smitty would announce that Jane was drunk and had burnt the bird and we would all slink out as the screaming started.  I actually remember eating one year and being shocked we were really eating dinner - Unc had passed out, and Smitty was in Fresno - so we just  all left Jane asleep in her chair surrounded by her ever present chihuahuas.  Oh yeah, Jane had the meanist little freaking chihuahuas you ever saw.  They are in a picture or two.
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It sounds chaotic, but I LOVED going to Aunt Jane's.

We Don't Need Yur Kind Here

Piers Morgan - supports gun control.  We don't need those kind here.
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FYI - I think we are missing the giant middle of this argument.  I mean there are plenty of people that believe sporting rifles and some handguns should be legal and regulated.  Those people don't necessarily believe that semi-automatic rifles that shoot 90+ rounds a minute should be freely available.
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But I don't think it is a little funny that we have a petition to deport  Piers Morgan about it.
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No worries, since having a petition site on the White House web site we have also had succession petitions and alien abduction petitions as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Well, it's Christmas Day... So we are going back a while.  Back to about Christmas 2001 to a picture of my honey with Ashford and Hastings.
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We ended up not using this picture in our car.  The final picture only had the pups, because I think I was having some crazy inadequacy issue and hated the way I looked, and Ed wouldn't let me send out a picture of just him.
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Funny how silly things are in retrospect.
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Deserts for Christmas Eve

For Desert we have a home made cheesecake with Rasberries from Randy and a Wisconsin Rose Bowl Carrot cake from Ed.
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I made the horrible Roses.

Best HorseDervers EVER!!

Randy brought this as an appetizer out tonight.
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How cool! Even if I don't like Olives!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ahhhh, the Holidays

Ah the Holidays, time for crusty old Uncle Benedict to tell us to get a damn haircut. He had his Christmas Speech, the one honoring the Savor who believed in living a good life and doing good deeds   He talked about the world today. 
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You know what hurts global peace and people.  Poverty.  Civil war in Sudan, Syria and Mali.  Ignoring Rape and then the violent demonstrations against it in India.  Shooting 20 children in Connecticut with a automatic weapon.
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You know what isn't hurting global peace and people.  Two fags who love each other committing to take care of each other for life.
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Don't tell Benedict.
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Christmas Memory #1

So Christmas in California is always a little weird to other people, so I thought I would share some things that seemed totally normal to me, but maybe a little off to others.
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For my family, Christmas was about 3 things, presents, family and presents.
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This isn't as greedy as it seemed.  My Aunt Martha had downs syndrome, and Christmas for her was all about the gifts.  And, when a family member has downs - sometimes what they get really excited for, you get excited for.
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Afton, Martha and I on Christmas morning (Martha just got a "zonk") which is why the hidden face.

And so, we always went over board on presents.  Truly, I know this now, but not when I was younger.
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And family.  Most times people in Los Angeles (at least in the 70s and 80s) had left their family somewhere else - so who ever was in the state we all got together.  In the  picture above, Afton was my Grandmother's Brother's Wife.  Martha is sitting in the holiday chair, waiting for presents to be delivered.  And I am "dressed up" handing them out.
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You will also notice the open door and sunshine outside.  Christmas seemed cold to us in LA, but by the time the presents were ready to be opened, breakfast had already been cooked and the house was overheating.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Freaking Great Show

So it is just started previews, but last night I saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Scarlett Johansson and Benjamin Walker (he of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as well a Debra Monk.
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Okay, confession, I never saw nor read Cat on a Hot Tin Roof before.  Elizabeth Taylor is always a little to Elizabeth Taylor for me to lose her in a role, so I just never watched it.  Although I have seen clips of Paul Newman as Brick...
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Anyway, it was a GREAT show.  And Scarlett Johansson spends act 1 in a slip and Benjamin in a towel and those are 2 of the most good-looking people I have ever seen.  The set is a huge bedroom with the big blowing curtains - and the 2 of them wander and prowl that stage like crazy.
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I was surprised how much of the show is Brick's - because all the clips I have seen is always Elizabeth Taylor.  It was a huge cast (which also surprised me) with too many of those no-neck monsters (a phrase that is overused in context).
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It was just amazing.

One Doesn't Need to Hunt Very Hard...

I wonder, quite often, what other countries make of our system of government.  For Americans it seems normal - for others, not so much.  In most/many countries if the leader of a party in power cannot get something passed, the government is actually disolved and there are new elections.
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In the US, our elections are set on a certain schedule, so "not getting laws passed" has no effect on the party in power or the leaders of the party.  And that, any foreign readers, is why John Boehner, Leader of the Republicans in the Lower House, can be treated with such distain by his own party.
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Yesterday he decided to vote on "Plan B" which was to perserve Bush Tax Cuts for the first $1,000,000 dollars of income.  As written it would actually be a tax increase on millionaires, and so it was his way to get leverage against the President by saying that his party would in fact vote for some tax increase.
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It would be hallow, since the Upper House (the Senate) already voted for the same type of bill, perserving the tax rates for the first $250,000 of income, but he had to start somewhere.
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Well, he couldn't get that bill passed.  Even though it had no shot of becoming law, he could get enough of his own party to support a tax increase on people who made more than $1Million dollars to pass the bill through the lower house.
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One feels bad for him - in a bizarre way.  It was very easy to find headlines like the one below.
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Great Graphic on Where Americans Think We Should Cut the Budget...

This is a great graphic on where Americans think we should cut the budget, versus how much of the budget is in that area.  I think it shows that we have an income problem more than a spending problem.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

File Under "Bad Ideas"

The cutie at the foot of the table is my niece Dora.  She and her friends are having coco and cookies outside.  In a blizzard.
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It is too much for a LA guy like me to understand.  My brain hurts.  I mean, she looks like she is having fun.  I am freaking out just looking at it.
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Why Regulate Guns, Ping Pong Kills People (says a Texan Representative to Congress)

Guns Don't Kill People, Ping Pong Kills People
Kyle Kacal says (LINK)

Kacal echoed a common nationwide argument that guns don't kill people, people kill people.
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"I've heard of people being killed playing ping-pong -- ping-pongs are more dangerous than guns," he said. "Flat-screen TVs are injuring more kids today than anything."
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Messages left for U.S. Congressman Bill Flores, R-Bryan, and Texas Senator Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, were not returned Tuesday.

Happy Penultimate Day (for you Mayans out there)

Okay the Mayan's don't really think the world is going to end, just the end of this age of man.  Kind of like the odometer in your car turning from 99,999 to 00,000 (before they went to the 100,000s - which is kind of before most people were born I guess now.
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Remember when I said, about guns....

Remember the other day when I said nothing was going to really change with gun laws (LINK).  And I said that lobbying for guns outspends lobbying against guns.   Well someone has gone to the trouble to document how much.
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Chart Source HERE

Come On! It's not just me is it?

Well Ladies and Germs, the "fiscal cliff" talks are going into the pooper.
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Who is surprised?  Show of hands?
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Well, after President Gumby folded and agreed to raise taxes only on those making more than $400,000 instead of $250,000 (which he campaigned on for the second straight election); John Boehner went back to the House of Representatives and immediately proposed something completely unrelated to the negotiations going on.  He and Eric Cantor have come up with a (drum roll please) a cunning plan.
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They call it "Plan B".  And it is to do nothing except extend the Bush Tax Cuts for everyone and everything EXCEPT people who make over $1,000,000 per year.  Then they will dare the President to veto it.  Dare Him! I say.
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Of course it's not clear they can get it past the House of Representatives AND the Senate has already passed a law extending the tax cuts for the first $250,000 of everyone's income.  But that isn't good enough for Boehner - plus now he can do his evil "Plan B" laugh.  Ha ha ha.
The Wall Street Journal notes that it isn't all going according to "cunning plan"
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One thing puzzles me.  That name... Where have I heard that name before.
Now reads "It helps prevent compromise before it even happens."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Header

The new header is from Cleopatra's Beach in Turkey.
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Legend is that Marc Anthony missed the beaches of his homeland while he and Cleopatra were lovers. So she had special sand barged into this bay to make a beach just for him.
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Hokum, but nice.

Best Last Name

So our friend that we sailed with in Turkey has a great last name (for an Italian)... Pompei.
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Holly, Walker, Mr. Pompei and Eddie on deck
Isn't that a great Italian last name?

This was (one of the) picture of a house for sale in Peskskill

First: Why would anyone put this on the web as one of the pictures meant to sell the house?
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Second: Peeks-Kill?  This picture and that name of the town look very serial killer to me.
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Now there are a lot of 'kills in New York, because it is Dutch for creek.  So there is a Fishkill, Peekskill, Wallkill, Catskill and so on.  Still, very creepy when combined with this picture.
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Finally: Rose Ware would never let a picture like this go up on her "for sale" web site for a house!  And that's why Rose makes the big bucks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reeve is in the new Taylor Swift Video

So Reeve Carney is an acquaintance.  By that, I mean he lives in the building, we always say Hi to each other.  Trevor, of course, helps that.  Everyone, Reeve included, loves Trevor.
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Reeve is Spiderman on Broadway (and has been since it opened).  Well he is now in Taylor Swift's new video.  I talked with him this morning as he was on his way to be interviewed at MTV.  He is stoked about it.
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Mormon Brandon Flowers - I like him (sings )

So Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers.  I like his voice a lot.
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Not thrilled he was born the year I graduated college - but if I held a grudge against everyone painfully younger than me, it would be a big grudge.
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"Would be..."  who am I kidding?  Is!