breaking my toe on a photo shoot

I knew I broke my toe the minute it happened. I was coming down off of a SUV (that I insisted I had to be up on) in order to get a good photograph of a historic building in downtown Oakland. Right before, I said to my assistant, “Don’t worry I do this all the time”. It’s not that I climb up on top of SUV’s all the time but I have before and will do anything to get the photograph I want. I have been on the ledge of waterfalls, on top of moving vans and have photographed in some of the roughest neighborhoods in Detroit alone. I wouldn’t have it any over way. But next time I will not wear my Ugg Boots and will be more careful after learning that it will take two months for my toe to heal! Not being able to do my normal routine (working out every day nor spinning on the bike with my classes) is more painful for me than the broken toe. I can take lots of pain, but I can’t sit still. I actually tried teaching my spin class on the bike before I got an x ray and lasted eight minutes. Even though I think I’m invincible and in great shape, the reality is that I’m almost 40 years old, not 18. Friends have asked, “was it worth it?” I say with a smilie, “Yes, because my client is happy and loves the photographs”. That is most important and always will be, even if I get a little roughed up along the way.

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By the way, my client’s name is Catherine Hailey and she is running for judge in Oakland Ca. I will post her web site when it’s up. She’s a fantastic person, top notch attorney and quite a talented cyclist. (she takes my Spinning Class)

Also note that the awesome mural that is on the side of the Historic building in Oakland, Ca (see photo) is done by Michael and his son John Manente who go to town on a 30 foot mural called the People of Oakland. Watch video to see them at work.


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cookie parties and fun holiday to do's

Every year I'm invited to a holiday cookie party and every year I get very excited thinking about which cookies to make. I Google “Best Holiday Cookies Ever” and get tons of information. I click on Grandma's Melt-in-your-mouth cookies first, then I see Paula's Chocolate-Gooey-Butter Cookies next, and then Gingerbread cookies (I like the ones that are shaped like people best), and Molasses Crinkles, Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies, Lemon Raspberry Delight cookies, Maple Snicker-doodles (love the name Snicker-doodle and remember eating them at camp) Peanut Butter with Chocolate Thumb Print cookies, French Almond Madeline cookies and on and on. After cookie internet overload, I venture out to local bakeries to look up close, at the real thing. I walk to The Bread Garden Bakery in Berkeley first and the cookie sales girl is really nice and knowledgeable. I already know about the big, multi-colored Sprinkle cookies cuz my brother used to eat them, Chocolate Chip cookies cuz their popular and so good and I remember making Shortbread Holiday cookies (with frosting and sprinkles) with my Grandma when I was little, but I had to ask about the others. I find out about Granola Nut and Mini Chocolate Chip cookies, Mexican Wedding Cake cookies (traditional with walnuts and powdered sugar), Almond Horns with Dipped Chocolate cookies, Chocolate Nuggets with crystalized sugar and Financiers (almond butter with a texture of a Madeline and Gluten Free!) I notice they sell dog cookies too, which she says are made out of whole wheat flour with 'normal stuff' that's in a cookie, plus beef stock. The cookie salesgirl says that the dog cookies are not very good (she tried them) but dogs love them and beware they are not Gluten free. Next I go La Farine Boulangerie and Patisserie on College St. in Berkeley and the smell is intoxicating. Go there! Everything is amazing and you'll find cookies, breads, pastries and tons more. Next I stop at Bakesale Betty's in Oakland. They are known for their chicken sandwich among other things and cookies. Betty, the owner (the one with an accent and blue hair) tells me they have Chocolate Chip with and without Walnuts, Ginger Molasses, Oatmeal Raisin with Walnuts and Pecan Shortbread. Be careful at Bakesale Betty's because everything is amazing and I doubt it's good for you. Be prepared to wait in line (sometimes they bring free cookies and scones to you while you wait). By this point, I've spent hours on the internet, have been to three bakeries (with out buying or trying any cookies) and still have no idea what I'm going to make for the holiday cookie party. Last year someone made Almond Cranberry Biscotti, another women made Butterscotch and Chocolate Chip cookies and my friend Jamie, from Jamie Living made healthy, Gluten free, Sesame and Anise cookies. Did I mention Jamie was on Martha Stewart Living Radio show this week? Do you see now why I feel pressure? I just want everyone to think that my cookies look and taste the best, but the truth is that every year I buy 2-3 dozen store made cookies for the holiday cookie party. Last year it was Snicker-doodles from Wholefoods which was embarrassing because someone made real home made Snicker-doodles. The year before that I brought Chocolate Star Cookies from Trader Joes and before that I tried to find Entenmanns Chocolate Chip cookies because I think they really do taste like home made cookies. After the Snicker-doodle incident I broke down during my cookie share and admitted that I've been buying store bought cookies all these years and that I don't know how to make cookies and I don't really eat cookies. No one even cared or knew that the cookies were store bought, (I think the lady that made the Snicker-doodles was suspicious) but no one could believe that I don't eat cookies. So for the record, I could make cookies if I wanted to (I did when I was a kid) and I do occasionally eat cookies my favorite are Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Girl Scout Tagalongs (I can see my Mom saying that she doesn't remember me eating any). But honestly I enjoy looking at the small details and the overall presentation of cookies. For example, one holiday season, my friend Diona made the most beautiful, delicate, perfect looking Hanukkah cookies I have ever seen and I was so impressed with her work that I shellacked 5 cookies with artist spray and saved them. For me they were too beautiful to eat. I'm not shellacking cookies anymore but you get my point. Anyway, this year I'm determined to bring home made cookies to the holiday cookie party. I found two little elf's (friend's kids) to make cookies for me. I don't even care what kind of cookies they make or how they look, well I do care how they look but I can't be too hard on the kids and there's always plan B.

Other Holiday to do's going on in Berkeley/Oakland Ca in December 2011

Berkeley Ballet Theater Nutcracker see site for dates and time
Oakland Ballet – Graham Lustig's The Nutcracker see site for dates and time
Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm
Valley of the Moon Pottery, North Eagle Gallery and Christmas Tree Farm Please visit my Aunt and Uncle's Christmas Tree Farm and Galley in Santa Rosa,CA!!
Claremont Hotel and Resort Gingerbread House and tree display in lobby!
Rockridge Holiday Jazz and Wine Stroll in Oakland Fri. Dec. 9th 5-8pm
The Crucible's Holiday Gifty Fair and Fire Performances in Oakland Dec 10 12-6pm and Dec 11 12-4pm
Lights, Menorah, Action! A Congregational Hanukkah Event at Temple Sinai In Oakland Sat. Dec 10 3-6pm
Hanukah Festival of Light at the JCC of the East Bay 1414 Walnut St, Berkeley Sunday Dec 11 10-2pm
Almost Chanukah Fair in Berkeley at Netivot Shalom 1316 University Ave. Berkeley Sunday Dec 11 11-2pm
Afikomen Judaica Chanukah Party and Menorah Lighting at Afikomen in Berkeley Dec 25th 11-5pm Menorah Lighting at 4:30pm


online dating

I don't even know where to start. On line dating is not something I wish on anyone and yet if you haven't experienced it you're really missing out. You know it's how single (and married but 'available' people) meet these days! We all know on line dating success stories so I'm still trying, maybe I'm just too picky?! I did have one “relationship” from online dating. At the time, I thought he had been “the one”. Until I realized he was not honest about his intensions, sexual past or current codependent relationship with his ex wife even counseling her about her crazy boyfriend. I should have known that he did not want a serious relationship with me from the beginning when he completely became enthralled and very serious about me mentioning kids and marriage right off the bat. By profession he was a doctor but really “acting” and “drama” was more of his style. Did I mention he had a chronic sinus infection that I made him get antibiotics for. Anyway, we were really cute, everyone said he seemed very into me. But on our ten month anniversary (a week after visiting his Mom) he asked to have “the talk” and said “I love you” but he didn't want kids and I would be better off with someone else. A few days later, I received a message on Face Book from his ex wife's boyfriend (who I'm not friends with on FB) saying how sorry he was to hear about blank and I breaking up. Needless to say my now ex-boyfriend went from “I love you” to never talking to me again and I learned we were officially broken up on Face book by his ex wife's boyfriend. I swear I did not make this up! After recovering from the shock, the hardest part for me was not being able to say good bye to his cat, two kids I had fallen in love with and realizing that I had been duped by an emotionally handicapped middle age man that just wanted to have fun. I deserved more. It was painful but in retrospect I had dodged a major bullet. After that learning experience, I decided to used online dating to go and dates and nothing more, not to find prince charming. What I've discovered is that online dating has become a source of entertainment, something to pass the time. Most times I feel there is no real incentive to have a committed relationship because there are so many possibilities and always newer choices on line for me and everyone else on line searching. No one really knows one another outside of being “online” it's very non committal. Then there are men who have online profiles with no photographs. Speaking of photographs, my number one pet peeve is photographs of guys with bare chests and or flexing their muscles in the mirror. Besides looking totally gay, this is a major red flag. Another aspect I find quite amusing is profile names. Some of my favorites are Chaotic Cutie, Teddy Steady, Muffy the Cat, Deep Thoughts Guy, Mr. Kiss Kiss, Very Very Funny Guy and Chef Mensch. I should mention that these particular profile names are men over 50 who messaged me. I have received the impersonal email that appears to have been sent out to more than one woman, everyone gets these right like a group email? And then there is the message that reads more like a short novel providing way too much information like what went wrong with their first marriage, mother issues and how he and his therapist are sorting through his childhood. And I have received the email that says “we seem perfect for each other, when can you meet for a cocktail?” I start to think that this potential online date has not read my profile. I do not drink, would like to have kids and I don't live in Boise, Idaho. I love the message one guy wrote me from New York “guess who's passing thru San Francisco next week.”Even better is the one from the 55 year old, married couple from Boston seeking a threesome. Once I received a message from a guy who volunteered to give me his sperm but wrote, “because of my genetic defect we will have to go thru the in vitro fertilization process.” What?! This was his first and only email to me, I did not reply. Another issue I have is the guy who only wants to IM or text. Once I had texting boyfriend for a few weeks, we had our first 'fight' over a text before we ever met and eventually “broke up” over a text. All said and done, I have met some nice guys on line so far, one guy even took me to a Michelin Star Restaurant on our first date! The presentation and food was fabulous at the restaurant, the guy, not so much.


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Occupy Oakland

I would not say that I participated in the “Occupy Movement” however I have watched and read about cities through out the world protesting based on “Occupy Wall Street” movement. After the unfortunate incident with police and protesters in Oakland at the end of October I became more interested. It wasn’t that I didn’t agree with people taking issues with banks, big corporations and Wall Street before, but felt OK watching or reading about it on the news. After the tear gas in Oakland, it became an Oakland Pride thing for me. I guess whatever it takes, huh? I thought Occupy Oakland General Strike on November 2 had a great vibe, energy and organization. I was really impressed. I’m not talking about the night time trouble makers, graffiti, arrests, ect.. During the day I saw energy, lots of smiling faces, families that had taken their children out of school for the day (what an awesome teaching lesson) old people, young people, professionals, the unemployed and everyone in between coming together as a community. I liked seeing doctors, nurses, teachers, designers, computer programers, city planners, artists, students, to name a few unifying as one to show support for Oakland and the greater cause of social change. I saw so many signs about EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, OCCUPY Oakland not the MIDDLE EAST, POETS for the People, MUSICIAN for Change, CAL BERKELEY STUDENTS for the Future, my favorite CHILDREN’S Support will OCCUPY the FUTURE ,and of course STAND with the 99%. I’m so glad I went!

halloween costumes

Last weekend I photographed a family in Half Moon Bay and on the way down I stopped at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. It took forever to get thru all the “pumpkin” traffic but was well worth it. I've never seen so many pumpkins in my life! There were Halloween themed activities going on too, like haunted houses, a spooky spider display, pumpkin carving contests, hay rides, face painting and costume contests. I only stayed for a little bit because I had to get to my photo shoot. but it made me think about Halloween costumes. Honestly, I never dress up, but once I wore devils ears and a tail to teach my spinning class. I love seeing other people wear costumes and have come up with some ideas for this year. My favorite for a couple is to dress up as Prince William and Princess Kate. Prince William would be dressed in a bright, red, Irish guard uniform with a blue tunic. The costume would be adorable for a little tot, especially if he doesn't have much hair. Princess Kate could wear a white wedding dress with lace overlay, tiara and veil, with satin white shoes. Although no candy eating would be tolerated in the costume, for it would be too messy and not proper. The “Little Royals” could have their 'Mum' walk behind with a double stroller spray painted in gold leaf, with red velvet seats, which would be their carriage. It be really cool if the kids said “trick or treat” with a British accent. This 'get up' could work well for a teenage boyfriend and girlfriend too. They could make the costume more exciting by going with a “ZOMBIE” look. Another idea for the whole family is everyone could dress up as iPod GENERATIONS. Grandpa could be the “Classic”, Mom an “iTouch”, the boy could be be a silver “Nano” and the little girl could be a hot, pink “Shuffle” cuz they're so little and cute. The Dad could be the “Genius” aka Steve Jobs dressed in a black mock turtleneck, 501 blue jeans, sneakers and round eye glasses. He would have two Ipods, a Shuffle in his little jean, front pocket and a Nano hanging out of his back pocket ( like a comb). Other celebrities I thought of being are, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. But who would want to wear an itchy blue wig, white shiny boots, with five inch heels or a a “meat dress”? I would LOVE to dress up as Natalie Portman from the movie, Black Swan, but then I wouldn't be able to eat any candy on Halloween or really any food at all for weeks! I should stay focused on costume ideas for other people though, because I'm not dressing up. My idea for bad boys, like Arnold Schwartzenegger would be a business suite with big muscles popping out, accompanied by a woman dressed up as a maid. Another “winning” costume could be dressing up as Charlie Sheen. I actually think Don Drapper from the TV show Mad Men, would be a better option than Charlie. All the 'bad boy' would need is a dark gray suit, thin tie and belt, a drink in hand (can be apple juice in a sippy cup if it's a little boy) and lots of pomade hair gel. Someone might mistake the Don Drapper costume as Mitt Romney (probably not Don's way cuter) but only if he had a bible instead of a drink and is accompanied by a cult. Speaking of groups, you could get a gang of people to act dysfunctional, disorganized and to disagree on everything and dress up in identical, mediocre business suits and they could go in costume as the members of Congress. But they probably wouldn't get much candy, definitely not any Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! Speaking of candy, a crafty kid could construct a candy vending machine costume, and put all my (I mean the kids) candy in the machine compartment and not have to carry that silly plastic, pumpkin bucket while trick or treating. I think babies look the cutest in Halloween costumes. If I were a Mom, I'd dress my baby up as some type of food like a piece of shrimp, pea pod, peanut, or California sushi roll. Or a cup cake, ice cream cone or Tootsie roll. I also like babies dressed up as ladybugs, little lambs, piglets, lions or spring chickens with alot of feathers. I heard that a popular costume this year for a Mom and baby duo, is to be a character from Angry Birds. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know what Angry Birds is but hear it's an addicting game people play on a cell phone and the angry birds try to shoot cute pigs. Speaking of animals, I hear its trendy to dress up your pet, especially if you have a dog and definitely if you have two boy dogs and they are gay. The first idea that comes to mind is a small sized, United States Military uniform for one dog and a color coordinated, mini striped, sailor uniform for the other. Lastly for recycling conscious kids, borrowing friends costumes from last year is smart thinking. It's better for the environment, cheaper and it's ok if little Lucas wants to borrow his best friend Grace's, ballerina outfit with a pink tutu. Happy Halloween! %%anc%%


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going to temple with my Dad

Going to Temple Beth El with my Dad for the high holy days is always an experience. This year my Mom met my Dad there. My Dad likes to sit in front, but my My Mom likes to sit in back and since my Dad always runs late, they sit in back. They know everyone at the service and everyone knows them. They see Susie and Norman Pappas, who they known since college, and Susie whispers to my Dad “I knew you and Janice would get back together.” My Dad smiles and replies, “Oh Susie, that’s a good one.” See my parents aren’t married or back together, they just act like they are. (They are kitchen designers and have a business together) The first topic of conversation between my parents is about the architecture and design of the building. My Dad looks up and says “stunning, just stunning” and my Mom adds “Yamasaki also designed the original Twin Towers in NY.” It does not matter who is with my Dad at Temple, in no time he is talking. He sees a client and starts talking about her amazing art collection. He asks my Mom if she is making his favorite chocolate chip banana bread for dessert? He sees someone he went to elementary school with and comments on how old she looks and how there’s no reason to look old. My Dad starts digging into his pocket for a mint, offers one to my Mom and continues talking about how much he loves the music and cantor. He says “today the cantor is good but last night at the Kol Nidre service (which they also attended together) she was fabulous!” Then he comments on the flowers, “the flowers look good, but not as good as last year and the flowers that I arrange, look much better. My Mom agrees with my Dad about the flowers. After the service they both call me and tell me about the service. My Mom reports that the only time my Dad stopped talking was when he fell asleep or when he couldn’t get his candy wrapper opened. “Your Father couldn’t open his candy wrapper and during the silent “mediation” (I meant to write meditation) he’s fiddling around, making all this noise and everyone is looking at us!” A minute later my Dad calls and said “I thought your Mother looked great and the sermon was particularly interesting this year, it was on bullying.” They both tell me that after the service my Dad turns to my Mom and says “Jan, oh I mean (my Mom lectured my Dad about calling her Jan, she prefers Janice which my Dad thinks is funny because he’s been calling her Jan for almost 35 years) Janice I think its time for a nice, little snack, don’t some doughnuts, cider and a nice Kosher hot dog sound good to you.” My Mom replies “Gary it’s Yom Kippur!’ They both laugh and my Dad says “You know I can’t fast all day without a snack!” They leave temple together and drive separately to meet each other, at the Franklin Cider Mill, for a snack.

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cars my car has a crush on

My car’s name is Grey Goose, it’s a Prius and it’s a bit of a flirt. It’s a hybrid mix, making it sorta bi, attracted to both girl and guy cars. It’s quiet and unassuming and in Berkeley, California, where 1 out of 3 cars is a Prius, it blends well into the crowd. But don’t let that fool you, my car has quite a wondering eye, and winks and makes passes at quite a few oncoming cars. You could say that I’m (I mean Grey Goose) is obsessed with the Porsche 911 Carrera. There is an immediate nervous feeling when my car is lucky enough to brush up against one. The gas and electricity controls accelerate and the navigation system takes over. Grey Goose’s head light’s start fluttering and its body turns bright red. My car has crushes on other cars too. You could say Grey Goose is more of a tail light, back bender sorta of guy (gal) then a front body, head light one. But in the case of the new Camaro, it’s in love with the total package. Grey Goose has crushes on other hybrids too. Of course not other Pruis cars, that would be like liking your sister or something. But a cousin like the new Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid is fair game. My car also likes the quiet, modest Electric-Hybrid Nissan in black. What a voluptuous body! The BMW 528i Sedan is always a sure thing, but the M series in black really causes over heating. Speaking of hot, it’s time to cool off, take a shower and primp up for Grey Goose’s next gas station date with the Ford Shelby Cobra Convertible. Vroom, Vroom.


A Swim; Making Waves to Fight Cancer!

On the weekend of October 4-6, 2013 I participated and photographed one of the most special, emotional, rewarding, uplifting and insightful experiences of my life; Swim Across America, San Francisco Bay Swim, Making Waves to Fight Cancer. Swimmers gathered at Crissy Field, traveled to Pier 3 and then boarded a boat for a ride around Alcatraz ending just under the Golden Gate Bridge. Swimmers of all ages and levels participated. There were cancer survivors, supporters, donors, volunteers on land and sea, first time swimmers and cheering spectators. I watched and documented families and friends old and new bonding, sharing uplifting stories and life lessons in preparation for the really big “jump into the Bay” just under the Golden Gate Bridge. A record, 273 swimmers along side kayakers and padders swam in 62 degree waters to Crissy Field Beach for a swim totaling around 1.5 miles. There were 20 Swim Angels, 8 US Olympians and 22 “Teams” which made for friendly competition and fundraising. The morning concluded with a celebration and “Team” photographs at Crissy Field Beach on the most gorgeous 85 degree day that I remember. My team lead by Susan Helmrich – Team Susan Survives raised $62,295. Please watch Beating Cancer One Lap at a Time; Video of Susan Helmrich to see her story, which is truly incredible and has inspired me in so many ways. All the money raised by the SAA -SF Bay event fund valuable, cutting-edge cancer research at both the
UCSF Benioff Children’s Cancer Survivorship Program and the Center for Cancer Research at Children’s Hospital Research Center Oakland.

We all have been effected by Cancer in some way. For me, losing my Step-Father Fred Steinhardt, at age 59 in 2000 from Pancreatic Cancer changed my life forever.


It’s that time of year again with parties, events and celebrations of all kinds. In other words, the season of delicious holiday food. Let’s be honest, the season started at Halloween. There is no escaping the plethora of scrumptious food no matter what age, gender, ethnicity, religion or status you may be. So what do we do, we eat holiday food (food in general) and talk about it. There are many ways to describe really good food and actually there are many words to use, to describe really good food. Here are a few of them; delicious, delightful, wonderful, tasty, amazing, pleasing, scrumptious fantastic, orgasmic, enticing, marvelous, sweet, healthy or great. Even using words like really appealing, appetizing, savory, lovely, heavenly, divine, glorious, juicy, salivating, blissful, delectable, satiating, luscious, succulent, titillating, enjoyable, gobsmacked, alluring, sinful, splendid, or flavorful sound nice. Many people open their eyes real big and make the “mmmmm” sound when using one of these words. There are many phrases like, mouth watering, lip-smacking, finger-licking, melt in your mouth, licking your lips, orgasm on a plate, shouting to “eat me”, absolutely sinful, full of zest and zing, fit for a king, coma inducing, sweet as pie, full of flavor, pleasing to the palate or tasty foods with a wonderful aroma. At times we add the word “good” to some of the phrases. There are less sophisticated phrases like; more than good or very, very satisfying, much more than tasty, super delicious and deliciously awesome. At times, there is a real justification for using a swear word like “fucking the best”, “so damn good”, or even “that shit is the bomb” to emphasis a point. I enjoy hearing teenagers use words to describe really good food; dope, hardcore good, OMG, the bomb, tight, sick, ill or off the chain. I have even used swear words and teenage swagger to describe food at times. It might not be classy or appropriate for a thirty-nine year old to use such expressions, but I think it’s ok, unless I’m having the conversation with my Grandma or Mom. And yet, the word I hear most often to describe food by adults talking to other adults is the word “yummy”, which I find to be very annoying. I’m not talking about using the word “yummy” and “yum” to describe food when talking with or feeding children. Then the word is acceptable even the phrase “yummy to my tummy” is okay, well not really but whatever. If I recall from my babysitting years, “yum” was the only word I heard young Eli’s say for some time. I immediately understood what he meant, “that food is good, I want more”. Maybe I even said, “Isn’t that yummy Eli?”, but I don’t think I did, since the word bugs me so much. Babies say “yum” and “yummy” to describe food and that is welcoming and appropriate. When adults say the word “yummy” to describe food I find it ridiculous. It’s probably true that I’m the only one bothered by this. I would much rather hear “wow that is some bad ass, orgasmic, finger-licking good food we had at dinner tonight!” than the mac and cheese was “yummy”. It’s clear I have “hearing the word yummy issues”. It’s becoming apparent that my feelings about the word are the minority. Earlier this evening I got a single word text from a friend describing the food at a local restaurant, “yummy”.

OMG make this F'ing Election over!

Funny Election Video Links for viewing pleasure.

Praying the Gay Away

Couple debates debating the debate

Homer Votes 2012

Smilin#039; Biden vs. Lyin#039; Ryan

Self destruct buttonPromiscuous

Spent on Weed

Wake the fuck up


Rick Perry

Biden Falling asleep

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Biden and Bush share a moment

Life begins at erection

Honey Bubba

Because he's a fake

Ron Paul

Hush Hush Video

Will the real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up

Herman CainJon Stewart#039;s problem with Newt


Simpsons help Paul Ryan explain the budget crisis


Donald Trump

Obama singing

Raging Bullshit

Boyhood Home

I vote because

Ending with a great short film reminding us to be proud of our differences, and to never forget that we are all in this together as Americans.

Film by Sean Penn and Kid Rock
Ending with a great short film reminding us to be proud of our differences, and to never forget that we are all in this together as Americans.