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Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen


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Pass the Scotch…tape

sex tapesSome things in life are inevitable, like chicken nuggets, being heralded as parts is parts, the need for personal space, and cellophane tape, sticking anything into place. However, should you shake them up in a bag, what comes tumbling out is our society (or lack thereof) and the way people make money in our new unordered world.

As a young girl, I loved hearing real family voices, on Dad’s reel-to-reel tape recorder, and later felt my independence, with a cassette player, screaming out odd remixes of Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin and the Carpenters, with Humperdinck thrown in for romance. It was also fun, recording a favorite television show on my 30 minute a side, K-Mart cassettes, that came three to a bag. Mentally watching an episode of MASH or Hogan’s Heroes, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. To this day, the wishing episode, where Hawkeye needs a new pair of boots, is mentally and forever in my head, along with the icy, cold puddle of water he steps into, which I saw a hundred times from my mind. Having such ability was freedom!

However, as that freedom evolved, so did the magnetic mystery of tape, and soon we had VHS,  actually capturing and televising our family moments, as well as private ones, best left at the Super 8 Motel, and camera of the past. Suddenly, it was possible to have your world immortalized as a movie, captured to share, or be remembered, whenever you wanted. For the most part, it was wonderful, reliving priceless times, many that would never be repeated. However, about that price part…

In recent years, bedroom rodeos of the bare back, and butt variety have become giggle and blink moments of unscripted release. Such grainy, personal and sex-filled tapes, made in the heat of passion, the moment, and behind closed doors, have no business in the public domain, unlike The Pink Panther, who got his point across with similar innuendo, but acceptable animation. Be that as it may, sex does sell, and becoming rich, and/or famous these days, is often due to the accidental or retaliatory release of such a video.

When did it become a viable revenue stream to flash your parts on tape, letting them perform to the masses?  Only to later cry foul…or chicken, and go to court for a tidy pay off in the millions, or see a foundation for  lifetime notoriety built. Whatever happened to working an honest day of work with pride? The number of times sex tapes are mentioned in the media anymore is uncountable, even if they appear to have pride attached…false or not. But who really cares, since the payoff is usually more than real.

Life taught me a simple and good rule of thumb. If it’s private, keep it covered, and if you have to, tape it down to avoid an accidental embarrassment. Also, try to keep your life whole, because once parts start flying free, there will always a missing piece, and once a piece is lost, there’s a hole that never gets filled right again.

In addition, if you need to record a sexual moment, do it in your heart, because that’s where it belongs anyway…along with the person sharing it with you. Life may be a movie in many ways, but there is never a need to publicly audition, because your soul is the only thing you’ll ever truly own, and once it is sold, the world will own you, and no amount of money, or crime scene tape can ever put it back in place.


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Recipe for disaster: ½ cup ego, and ¼ each of boredom and ability

selfiesAlthough we now say, Different Strokes for Different folks, it was a Sly remix of Different Strokes by Different Folks, that brought it into the family. Regardless of the origin, coupled with the freedom of the Internet, it now takes on a whole new meaning, from simple Idiom to deviant idiot…mainly because we have too much time, are paid for doing nothing and have more ability at our fingertips.

Once upon a time, cable television and HBO brought previously unheard profanity and sex into our homes, if you had a scrambler; otherwise, you got static and strange shadows, which frankly might have been a good thing. Suddenly, visions of personal privacy were no long secret, and swearing like a sailor became the norm, in everything from cartoons to the daily news…then we really hooked up! Because clicking a power button, is more than a simple turn on. Live and in the flesh tone, the world presents itselfie, via standard pose, moving gif or video…welcome to the world wide weird!

Photographs once commemorating, or memorializing a moment in time, used to be taken when someone either didn’t want to be in the picture, or was more than happy to oblige, posing and giving their best or worst shot possible. Looking back on such relics of film art, there are tears and moments of laughter, since we know that is how we’ll most likely remember those certain someone’s. So, taking that for what it’s worth, how will our grand children explain Aunt Valerie’s Vulva?

Since human dignity and personal values long since jumped ship, leaving the brain to function on its own, we’ve allowed our growing knowledge of technology, along with boredom, due to lack of employment, education, imagination or desire, to fall victim to personal vanity and ego, with vile results. Children as young as six are sending off pictures in their underwear to friends, or worse…and anyone with a free right hand (awkward pause), can click off a sensual, sexual, scintillating and/or scandalous photo, unsuitable for an instant upload, and eternal mark on the highway of cyber communication. All because they need a like, or comment from the darkness of their room and soul. As a certain Church Lady would have said, “Isn’t that Special!”

When did waking up in the morning, wanting to have a great day, do a good job and love one another become a footnote? Telecommuting and lack of real employment and education in general, has given birth to a society of misguided individuals, that see breaking the Internet, with their private parts in a public post, better than a gold watch, and unpaid ticket to popularity. It is also highly doubtful, that they will ever see the stupidity of their actions, because after all everyone is doing it!

When X rated films hit the screen, the equivalent of what is now seen on cable or Youtube, I was a newly married twenty year-old, and went to see one with my husband and another couple, out of curiosity. The theater was old, because just like in Vaudeville, when an act plays Burlesque it’s finished. No one was looking at each other either, as we picked up popcorn, and purchased overpriced tickets of $8 (a regular film back then was $1.75.) Before the film even started, I learned embarrassment also had a price, and the fact that I actually ate the popcorn, freaks me out still today.

Nevertheless, we peeked into the filmed bedroom, and watched as others did it, with reckless abandonment, in every orifice, and with devices never intended for personal use. There was also strange background music, which later triggered a gag reflex, every time I was in an elevator with musac (Google it.) I can say now, as I did that night, it was not entertainment. I also remember how none of us talked on the ride home, except when the guys laughed hysterically at some of the aerobatic poses, and areola exposures. Maybe it was because I took my values along with my curiosity, and they were mortified. Be that as it may, it took years to forget that evening, and the salad dressing used in Barbara Broadcast.

My ire if you will, is that again this week came a deluge of naked celebrities, with black lines across a top and bottom section, equaling nothing more than exhibitionism, for the sake of an ego, a troubled level of self esteem and pure boredom. Yes, I know porn is porn, and will always be around for those who need to make it, view it and desire it. However, a daily and amateur offering, into streams of communication everyone is submerged into is wrong.

These instant, mini electronic posters for adulthood, which young minds view, and copy, send a very wrong message. I don’t know about you, but Uncle Sam saying, I Want You, had nothing to do with a pair of naked breasts, or an erect penis at attention. War efforts may have a political bend, and not something everyone agrees upon, but right now the war is at home, and like it or not, we can’t afford to butt out or turn the other cheek.

The naked truth, which needs to be face-timed, is that we are creating a generation of children that believe it is acceptable to show and tell, as well as reach out and touch, what should be private and personal. Eventually, without the proper foundation and direction, they will also end up paying the price for their lights, camera and unsupervised, but emulated actions, and we will have no one to blame but our selfies.


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Touch me in the Morning…just don’t do it to my life!

picture thisI have had the honor of raising three daughters through school, and now watch as grandchildren climb the same step stool and ladder towards knowledge and success. The highlight for their efforts is seeing a class photo each year. Albeit way over priced monetarily, they are priceless in the hearts of those who posed, and those who receive.

We’ve all been there. It is the morning of school pictures, and you either have crappy hair, a zit, totally forgot and have nothing to wear, or you’ve been up for hours as if it was a Vogue cover shoot along the canals of Venice. Regardless what your take is, or was, on that memorable day, what developed after the film was processed would follow or haunt you forever, and become an icon to your youth on Ancestry.com. That being said, it also is a moneymaker of epic proportions, and in most states a well-held account by a company called Lifetouch.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a small business that has grown over the years, and hired only a few reported and/or investigated criminals, such as those noted by the FBI in Rochester, NY. However, when anyone in business has such an untouchable hold on something, things always fall through the cracks. In case you don’t believe me, see what happens when you try to hold sand too tight in your fist….get the picture? These may be the days of our lives, but they are dictated by a precious few, and if you take a look at the recurring complaints they rack up, their pictures speak more than a thousand ill words.

In our family, one  particular noteworthy shot is my older sister with her bangs held back in pin curls (consult Google or Betty Boop). In her haste to get her daughters to school, Mom overlooked the embarrassing and the obvious. There are also a couple I personally shudder at in junior high, with white yarn bows I knew looked great, stuck in at the last minute, and another, with the indentation from a leather cord, since I wanted to be a flower child, and needed to hide my accented attire outside the home. However, regardless of the toothless, hair flying crazy, those photos were who we were, and how we lived, and forever have a place in life….touched as they may have been.

So that being said, why does a single company hold the inspiration, imagination and decision for such moments? Over the years there have been many times when a photo was taken poorly, due only to the judgment of the photographer, and we were left without what we paid for, and usually no recourse, or occasionally the option for a retake. Regardless of the fix, the moment in time was gone, and when the pictures were eventually brought out, inevitably someone would say, that was the retake…OMG you should have seen the first one. Negative as they may be, dark comments forever remain in a family room.

This brings me to a granddaughter, anxious for her first school photo. Frozen was still all the rage (will it ever end?) and so, her short hair was put into a side braid, and in her heart she was Elsa the Winter Queen. However, did the Lifetouch photographer let it go? Oh Hell to the no! Instead, they positioned this sweet child with her hair pushed to the back, so it appeared she had been the victim of Edward Scissorhands on a good day, and not the beloved Princess of snow. They also decided on a background different that we had selected and paid for.

When pictures arrived, this little girl burst into tears, and said, I look like a BOY! Her spirit, memory and excitement were crushed. Lifetouch also refused to refund the ridiculous price that was paid, so we took a new photo ourselves, and placed it in her school memory book. You would think that was enough…but it wasn’t.

Today, this little girl was an official elementary delight, anxious to be with her friends and take their photos, which would also be in a yearbook (yes, don’t ask….again, Lifetouch$$$.) Bouncing down the stairs in all her creative and imaginary delight, trust me when I say she is a true original, she presented herself in a full piece panda suit, hood and ears outlining a face with missing teeth and bright eyes. Certain that was how she wanted to look; she left for school and pictures. Arriving home however, that delight was long gone.

It appears the photographer not only removed her from the panda suit, but according to very fine print on the offer all children were put in a cap and gown, which we had not asked for…it, is KINDERGARTEN NOT HIGH SCHOOL! There was also no reason to assume this would be done after they collected our money. Therefore, all the bows and headbands, special hair styles or memorable outfits were removed, hidden and lost forever, along with the memory of “Mom…that was my first school picture!”

There are only a few days in life that can never be recaptured, and that is why photography, from the days of tin type, to Kodacolor, and now digital remains a lifeblood for families. Who doesn’t want to remember catching her bouquet, or seeing a bouquet of blessings in a nursery, the first lost tooth or a football bruise worn in pride? Life touches us all, good and bad, and when it is saved for future generations, it is a gift, triggering memories and emotions, that die away with the person, leaving only a photo behind.

There is time enough, with individuality frowned upon, school uniforms issued and peer pressure demanding identical looks. However, when the cookies are still fresh from the oven, don’t we own them a chance to be sprinkled and sugared with the innocence and happiness that fades too fast? Companies that overstep their bounds in the arena of education, or a photographer, coach or teacher, need to be slapped with the nearest ruler, and read their rights, because they do not have the right to ruin a child’s laughter or dream! Just because they aren’t sexual, some touches are every bit as bad, and we trust these people to see our children to the end of their rainbows, where unicorns and pandas wait patiently for their day in the sun, where they will leave a lasting impression on our future adults.

 


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Strike the pose and let the door close

vogue it

There was a saying once, that you were old when you worried about the denigration of the youth. Now, however, it is the denigration of society and the entire human race, and worrying about it has long since grown old. Vogue Magazine, the timeless tome of advertising, style and impulse dreaming, was in the news today, with an exhibit, which confirms that flash for cash is no longer model behavior, leaving behind negative images, cluttering the stage of society. That being said, it also confirms there isn’t any social left in humanity, so along with your exhibition, please pen a new moniker for this world…the darkness where we co-exist.

Newspapers and magazines were the first tangible window of the world, bringing fashion, news, humor, spirituality, cartoons and advertising. Teething on these pages of once mighty trees, was a rite of passage, which gave us the option to share life with one another, offer an opinion or quote a fact. I am proud to have known it, because it is where my mind learned, and yearned for more. However, as that desire grew, so did curiosity, and soon Pandora’s Box was laid open, against waves of invisible communication, offering more than ever dreamed possible.

That being said, knowledge is not rude voyeurism, which is what now corrupts our minds, hearts and souls. Why is it news to know the intimate deals of strangers or celebrities? Watch boils and cysts pop open, spewing yellow and green pus against blood stained gauze, or hear heart wrenching details, as someone dies or an animal is killed? Likewise, underwear is just that…something worn under…and in private,  not something for public commentary! Nothing is sacred anymore, personal or sentimental…because if it will get a response on social media, it is posted, and all the more, if it could be liked or become viral…as well as vile. We don’t dream or live vicariously anymore, we live for quick attention, even if it is bad, or disgusting.

The society we have created, has fallen back to a Roman thumbs up or down with more lying than lions, as people tear down lives with hateful comments or jealous retorts. Everything is now offered for public critique, and there is no end in sight.  Bullies, advertising companies, media productions and our very children will continue this game of life to the end, as it gets darker and darker. People are hurt, some die and some  simply give up, all because of empty words and personal bravado, stepping in where it never belonged.

Lord of the Flies is no longer a book against a wall, but a reality, as we turn on one another just because we can, and know we will come out victorious with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter crowds of invisible applause and approval. I remember fears that Strawberry Fields would forever brainwash the youth, offering ideas of free love, pot and LSD, music and nonconforming lifestyles, sure to undermine the establishment. However, as someone from that same slice of American Pie, I saw more love for one another, compassion, and roots of family values than I ever saw hate, blood and destruction.

All lives mattered when I grew up, and we didn’t need to make it a statement, we just respected it and one another. Yes, there were times of political and racial unrest, but the foundation my home was on, was committed to caring, and with my open door, open heart and open mind, I didn’t need an open Wi-Fi- signal to share. Life, like everything else, only works when it is taken care of, allowed to find its own level, tended and nourished with honesty and love.

Maybe someday compassion, understanding and brotherhood will again be in vogue, and having pride and class won’t be something held up for comment, but will again define character in more than an exhibition. Then again, we’ve moved so far in the wrong direction, does anyone even care? What I do know, is that Somewhere over the Rainbow there are more than a few Grateful Dead, happy they are not living in the shadowed reality we’ve accepted, and taken for granted.

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Milton was a Monster ~ and Paradise is Getting Lost

milton blog

Years ago, cartoons could be dark and funny, and Milton the Monster was just that, in the era of The Addams Family and The Munsters. Looking at life through a slightly cobwebbed glass is probably what made me the person I am, and the writer I became. There is something reassuring about living in suburbia knowing it is okay to wonder about a twin size coffin with matching sheets.

Unfortunately, such humorous darkness is far from the real darkness, which shadows my writing career. I also know, that I am not alone in this world of publishing and social media and the perils are ones Pauline would’ve avoided. Yes, the days of mailed in submissions with stands of hair between a page, to tell if they had been read, when the rejection notice arrived are gone. However, writing along with ability, was and still is a business of who you are, or who you know, along with a dash of luck, and a moment of opportunity. Frankly, anyone who chooses this torture is either a true writer or a masochist, who enjoys pain with number two lead.

Vanity Press as it once was is now E-Publishing, and everyone and his or her grandmother can be an author in a few days with less than $25. That being the case, those of us of that live, breath and cry over plots and characters, nurturing a manuscript to life are often lost in the shuffle between these What I did on My Summer Vacation memoirs. It is indeed a twisted desire; to bring a character to life, filling them with your dreams, fears and ego, only to send them into the world to be ignored. Again, we have returned to the picking of sides for basketball in 1968, and we all know how that felt.

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all of their twice removed, third cousins play a role in this popularity contest, and despite reviews one prays to see, sometimes the book never is, all because you aren’t playing full court with the right press or team. Becoming a bestselling author anymore can be as easy as having a lukewarm plot and have a Kardashian hold up the book, or have it shown in a shopping bag. Suddenly 51.9 million people want to read it. So much for the satisfaction of knowing the story is good – you just need placement…like an apple in the Garden of Eden.

I remember someone telling me the weight of popularity made her crazy. She went so far as to go to school wearing only one long earring. The following day, all her friends arrived with only one earring. She laughed, they beamed and I want to puke. This behavior is the lemming flavored stupidity we live. If it is on social media or television it is a winner and everyone needs to celebrate it. Lost behind are the true gems, never uncovered because they wanted to shine on their own, and not through an endorsement.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if for one day, everyone with a social media base looked at reality and those around them and made a difference? What is the value of all the likes and followers, other than an ego boost if they just sit? Look at those who are contributing to the world, writing great things, designing and bringing to life new possibilities, and offer them a hand with maybe a comment, simple nod or emoji smile:). In turn, as I was raised, they will do the same for the next person, and before you know it, there will be a better diversity of things to choose from! Books otherwise shelved can deliver a message, instructors can offer a new way to feel and express emotion, cooks might have a breakthrough that isn’t featured at Starbucks, and children will know they really can accomplish anything.

I stopped wearing earrings years ago when I left work, staying home to care for my family members. Once in a while, I put them on and sparkle, remembering and changing my appearance. However, I do always wear two, because just like everything else in life, they go better together, and I can always share…if someone else needs to sparkle.

 

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Misfits & freaks of society relegated to the streets find family in Stiletto
learning it isn’t blood or the box we came out of making a family.

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The Shot

theshot

Indeed…heard, felt or seen across the world.

No other two words have such immediate impact, visual recognition or feeling. Regardless if it is photography, sports, physical contact, celebrating, healing, hunting, comfort or commentary, at one time or another, we’ve all experienced The Shot.

In school prior to the 1990’s, actually comfortable in the 50’s and 60’s, nurses in crisp white uniforms took up residence in the gym, and vaccinated the next generation of leaders against many a feared disease. As we lined up waiting our turn for the painful privilege, the three words going in and coming out were the same: “Did it hurt?” Because as we faced the shot, we already knew we would feel. To this day, the response or memory is the same, since we are creatures of comfort and not agony, wanting to be prepared…wanting to feel.

Imagery does the same for us, when we feel the exhilaration of the athlete or hunter who takes the shot, only to then celebrate or crash in defeat. Likewise, the photographer…amateur or not, who captures a moment, wherein we all share the shot as it attaches to our heart, soul, conscience or being. However, sometimes life takes a different direction, and needing to rise above or escape, alcohol or drugs will provide the shot, numbing senses into a place of soft darkness. All that aside, when we turn on the news anymore  it is always a killing or upraising, which also started with the shot – be it bullet or verbal assault. Regardless of the action,  the end result is again the same…physically, emotionally or spiritually we feel.

I find this ongoing human connection a true paradox, since the majority of humanity hides behind phone, computer, tablet or door, doing most of their living vicariously through the technology sector of life, that place where bugs have viruses, don’t need grass or soil, and byte very differently. Nevertheless, we  need to feel, because it is the essence of life and  fuel for our existence…even when it isn’t our own experience.

When the media started to invade our lives it was through radio, and it was an experience or theater of the mind. Listening to worlds of adventure, news, entertainment or music hit the spot, and although G rated, that spot was a climax of experience outside of the normal routine in life, and for many was never forgotten. There were no aliens in War or the Worlds, the Hindenburg was a lifetime away and Fibber McGee’s closet would make us walk around the image – but in the moment…in the spot where we sat…it was our reality and we felt it.

So was it really a shock when we saw the rise of the Selfie? The picture…the shot…the share. By clicking a button, we offer up our soul to the world, so anyone can experience what we feel…and in an equal click, we are either celebrated or rejected, causing us to feel something all together different. Acceptance, which was once discovered on a playground, in an office, in a church or on a front step, is now done primarily in front of a bathroom mirror, hoping for the perfect spot. The reason is simple, we want to feel how we look, how important we are, and how life is around us. Ego and feelings are mutual.

Many rely on the shot from private worlds, sent out with abandonment, a bottle, the media or drugs to amp up our existence, and give us a few minutes of nerve stimulating, heart pounding, tear jerking feeling. Whipping out a microphone on a newscast, or a cell phone in a moment of crisis has become so normal, that without one we doubt the validity of the moment. Why do we need the shot of cheap journalism asking a person in panic, pain or fear how they feel? Just so we can equally experience it? Do we need that instant photo…the shot at a crime scene, bloodbath, war torn panic or injury to validate we have a heart or conscience? Why have we accepted the mail order reality of a scratch and sniff experience, wanting to see dead children, injured animals, multi-million dollar celebrity weddings, live births or disembodied infants, simply to feel what was behind the shot?

When I was a child I got the shot, and yes, it hurt. Today I turn on the news or computer, and again, there is the shot…the image…the moment someone else had to experience, and I am being offered the chance to view it against my own life and yes, it usually hurts. Even though I prefer to walk away, some can’t…or they need a mind numbing feeling from the shot of a different kind…regardless, we’ll both end up feeling something.

Life needs to take a step back, feeling with feet on grass, hands held together with feelings of security, friendship, acceptance and reality…first hand, and not through the shot someone else wanted to share or made. Not all of them are cheap, but the best ones are always felt before they are made, and in time they also make us feel that we matter.


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All by myself

carmenEric Carmen never made a last minute elementary school Halloween Costume, put a homemade holiday meal on the table, or watched as a bowl of cookie dough was inhaled rather than baked. Nevertheless, he will forever be known for his famous single…and a song.

In this me first world, there is a huge difference between being alone on a daily basis and living alone. Those that are alone, generally have made that choice, prefer their independence or have yet to find someone to share their life. Regardless of the reason, they have continued their personal 24 hour, 7 day a week pattern, knowing that the bed will be made or unmade, waiting when it gets dark…no one cares if they drink from the orange juice bottle, and if their home is cleaned it stays that way, or clutter becomes a confident reminder of possession. There is nothing wrong with being alone, frankly it saves on utility bills, justifies ice cream for breakfast and toilet seats are never disrespected. For those who cherish their independence I salute you!

However, for those who live alone, it is much like walking into the last 30 minutes of a great movie, enjoying what you’ve seen, but all the while knowing you need to see what came first, in order to complete the picture. When you have been a part of a family unit, no matter how small albeit dysfunctional, there is a schedule and routine involved, having nothing to do with a Daterunner, Blackberry or org chart. Setting a meal on the table to cheers and jeers, and sometimes not eating because there is only enough for those you love has a very emotional place in life. Staying up late for crisis, talent show, cookie sale, bicycle assembly or removing stains from a game uniform are only a few of the moments of non-silence, which attach to those same hours and days.

There are also interpersonal moments such as hamsters giving birth, dogs or cats disappearing, accidents in bed at 3 am and broken hearts over things we will never understand, let alone justify. Needless to say, when all of that goes silent, due to divorce, death or grown children, living alone becomes a sentence that could be best served in Sing Sing, and again, has nothing to do with Eric Carmen.

Cooking for one slides into cooking for none, and ends up being food over the sink, or worse, sitting in the same spot at the table looking across at nothing. Listening to voices when they are only music or television, and wondering why you ever took hugs for granted can indeed cause insanity. At some point, it also becomes clear that wearing just your shirt and sliding across the floor of the living room is not risky business, but no one’s business…because frankly, you can do whatever you damn well please, and it pleases you like an unmedicated root canal.

In this ever changing technological world of silence, and isolation, don’t just listen, but hear when someone mentions they are the only one at home, and if they say they live alone, there is probably some sadness behind their eyes. Marlo Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore and Batman lived by themselves and did it well, but for those who read The Notebook, smelled ZuZu’s petals, or longingly swore they would never be hungry again, having that other half makes getting up every day the best part of the film

So the next time you are by yourself, offer some popcorn, maybe  a hug or even a kind comment to someone that you know is alone, and who knows…you might both just leave with a new song in your heart.

 

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Stiletto is now on Amazon! Check out a lovable Serial Killer, along with drag, DNA, drama and drugs.pr cover

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