Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tessa Virtue's Facebook Shyness: is it about Love - or Money?

I don't want to jinx it, but Scott has asked for suggestions for a new profile picture on his facebook fan page. Fans naturally all suggest photos with Tessa. I am hoping this was of course anticipated, and that he does as they ask. Face it, it's a VM fan page even though just his name is on it. I hope we don't get the profile pic of him solo at some random crafts services table.

Smart of him to ask fans, because then it's not like he's putting up a second photo of himself with Tessa because he wants to. That would just give the game away.

Anyhow, this post is kind of about that, but it needs a review as to the visibility (or invisibility) of Tessa Virtue on facebook since about 2008, and her seeming mania for privacy bordering on neurosis. I want to look at that from a different angle.

Even after Scott won an Olympic gold medal - and Worlds -  his personal, private facebook profile picture was a group shot of the Canadian Team on ice at Nationals.

I had guessed the issue was - how could he post a photo of just himself with his Olympic medal, when he won it with a partner? And if he posted a photo of him and Tessa with their Olympic medals people would know they were a couple off the ice. Better play it safe.

His facebook didn't acknowledge Worlds, Olympics or Monaco. Okay, but then how come he was accepting eight billion friend requests a day starting the week after the Olympics?

We know why - so his page could be a mirror site for sham activity, so his mom, his aunt's, Jessica's and his relatives/connections' sham efforts would be visible to fans on his friends list. 

Monaco was tasked to his mom's facebook. Alma didn't show us Olympics or Worlds either - why would Scott's thousands of friends who are mostly VM fans care? Show us Jessica in Monaco. That's what we're here for.

I kind of got a kick out of how little Scott pretended that his facebook was anything but bullshit - he was practically telling people. It was endearing, or so I thought then, before I started considering the money angle. Never overlook a money angle.

Informal, non-skating-related, non-public appearance Tessa/Scott photos have been tightly rationed on facebook since approximately some time in 2008 -  not just Scott's facebook - all the skaters' facebooks rarely show her. It wasn't always like this. She used to not apparate into her bubble of invisibility when someone's Canon Elf is aimed in her direction at a party, restaurant or  - bus.

I suppose it's possible that, since 2008, everyone's come to hate her. That could be why she's rarely in photos at events that are not explicitly about either figure skating or Tessa Scott, Inc.

Maia Shibutani had a 16th birthday party summer 2010. Lovely restaurant. The entirety of team Canton is in that facebook photo album. Including coaches. And a few significant others. Scott, of course.

Who is not in any photo? Tessa. How much of a bitch must you be to end up the lone Canton skater excluded from Maia freaking Shibutani's sweet sixteen?

She used to be at all the parties. Then something must have happened.

Nobody wants her at their wedding. Nobody wants her at their birthday party. They'll invite strangers in off the street, but please Tessa, stay home. They don't want to ride the same bus with her - it takes a lot for anyone in Korea to be that rude. Did you see Scott had put something on the bus seat next to his? Tell Tessa this seat is occupied - the bus is full.

At Nationals 2010, Jessica walked into the banquet with Cynthia and Bryce. No concerns that people would get ideas  - the trio actually stopped and posed.

For her entrance to this banquet, Tessa was offloaded to Patrick Chan. Scott ain't gonna walk her in.  A) people might go "ooo - a couple". Look what happened with Jessica/Cynthia/Bryce. People went: "ooh, a menage a trois! They're all doing it together!". B) Scott's not about to spend time with Tessa in his off time - not even for a three minute stint as a walker. He'll vamp for the camera solo and not go with another girl so as not to show her up, but he ain't walking in next to her. He gets enough at practice.

Patrick's the kind of guy you stick with that stuff. If you're kind of a loser, you seek out a Patrick type because he has to be nice, he can't be any other way, then it's not so obvious you're the event's fifth wheel. Look how much David P. and Jaime S. seemed to hang near him at ATS summer.

J/k .

Patrick got the short straw and had to walk Tessa into the banquet and get his photo taken at the entrance with her on his arm. He wasn't world champ yet, so he got stuck.

She seems so sweet on television - how did she get so disliked?

So now, Scott has asked fans for suggestions for his new fan page profile pic. I bet he's shocked there are no requests for more photos like the three-year old one of him with Marina using her hand to block the camera, or him in the Lambeau leap which we just haven't seen enough, or a two-year old photo of him sitting alone in the Canadian condo at WTT.

It was easy to go on the premise that due to extreme sensitivity and an acute sense of privacy, Tessa has a camera lens allergy that has only intensified in recent years. She could not abide sharing the same camera frame with Scott unless her professional responsibilities made it an obligation.

But then we look back at Tessa And Scott, Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold and it's full of off-ice photos of Tessa/Scott, including some of them at the Olympics - a few of which fans would have loved to have seen uploaded to facebook when they were current. After all, all the 4,000 and counting new facebook friends were just sitting there, waiting - for something, anything -  yet nothing to do but wipe nonstop Jessica/Scott photo spam off their retinas. Thanks for the add, Scott!

Are shots of Tessa and Scott being horded for another payday? She's genuinely private, so that's a good umbrella excuse. We couldn't make Scott the "camera shy" one.

Tessa/Scott in some real situation - that's the money shot.

Could this be why even the most ordinary point-and-shoot photo of Scott and Tessa "sharing free time" is scrubbed not just from Scott's fan page and personal page, but from most skaters' facebook pages? Are these simple, facebook-type candids of innocuous, non-incriminating activity waiting to be monetized in Our Journey Continues, Volume II?

Because Tessa's camera shyness is more than privacy protection, she's the woman invisible. People know she trains in Canton, she's friends with the Shibs as much as anyone at Maia's party, they know she had to get her butt to the arena to practice for the ATS show - but she vaporizes.

This is not private life stuff. This is unofficial, non-public appearance, non-skating, basic visibility and she tries to be invisible - at least when Scott's also present. Could it be that Tessa Scott, Inc. doesn't want to depress the future sale value of even the most harmless of these photos by uploading "real life" shots of Tessa Scott to a free platform like facebook?

She's not invisible here:

You want snapshots like this free?
That'll be 25.99.

You want free? Check out the Jessica/Scott spam. It's more than free - they outright mugged us to get us to look:

"I said - LOOK!"

This - captioned Enjoying free time  (nice tans, kids) - does not come free.

$25.99


One of these photos is free. The other is $25.99.
Team Virtue/Moir and most things Skate Canada/public relations are so compartmentalized and obtuse, it's hard to tell what's naked exploitation of gullible fans and what's normal Skate Canada-bred myopia leading to hair-raising douche-bagginess.

If it's not about privacy, but business calculation - that happens. They have a future to consider and a family to support.

But, there are lines of decency to which they appear oblivious. It's pretty grotesque to blink back tears and thump your heart in front of a Canadian audience while working over their wallets and going out of your way to make fools of the Canadian audience and individual fans. To have actual planning committees with that as the agenda.

Not even the Olympics were sacred - they corrupted that, too - one of the many things they corrupt to put over a hoax, while pandering to O Canada.

Plenty of celebrities horde photos fans want to see. That's how many celeb babies get their first trust fund.

But, to set up a facebook and invent a fake, virtual private life to scam fans into thinking you're sharing real stuff, and they defend you. You pm your gratitude - because they're rolling over for your lies.  Meantime on the dl,  you catalog  real life photographs so they'll provide another payday down the line.

If you want to be private, be private. Dematerialize when some camera swings your way, do what you need to do.

The distasteful thing with Team Virtue Moir as managed by Skate Canada is nobody believes ethics, common decency or anything in the area of a moral code or respect applies to skating fans. They all seem to believe "business" is exempt from ethical considerations or any kind of non-mendacious value system.

To them - it's not corrupting the Olympics, weddings or Christmas - they preserve the sanctity of that experience for themselves. To also use these things as a manipulative tool? Eh. That's where compartmentalization kicks in. Fans are a resource at their disposal. Ethical considerations are irrelevant because skating fans don't count as human beings.

19 comments:

  1. If you're friends w/ Chris Mabee on FB, he has some pics of Tessa off-ice, even an album w/ Scott, Jessica in it. They're really old though. Also, didn't Jordan Virtue have a FB?

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  2. Chris Mabee doesn't accept the casual fan. I tried friending him once and never got a reply. I have seen Scott-Tessa photos on other skater facebooks, but like you say, they're really old. Except for a couple instances, not from a formal skating event, I don't know that I've seen anything off-ice with Tessa and Scott next to each other that's dated after 2007.

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  3. I think a lot of Tessa's disappearance from photos can be attributed to her injury. She really seemed to pull back and become a lot more reserved when that happened to her. We did see quite a few more off-ice photos of her in the batches posted by other skaters after Worlds.

    But, as I am continually shot down for everything I say on the blog, I'm sure that I'm completely wrong and Tessa never had CECS in the first place.

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  4. PS: You should make a post about Tessa's nose job. How come no one ever talks about that! On Fanforum, someone brought it up once and they were pretty much burned at the stake.

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  5. If she pulled back and became reserved since CES, how come the photos with Scott popped up in the book that was then mass-marketed? The photos are being taken - we're just not being shown them.

    Why was it alright for Fedor to tweet two photos - one from the Dave Matthews concert, the other from the "Inn at St. John's" exterior in Ann Arbor, implying they were there as a couple? Ergo - it was her "private" life. More than implied it was her private life - her intimate life. Although the Inn at St. John's has two restaurants, the photo as captioned implied Fedor and Tessa were at a hotel, and it went out to twitter.

    Both were taken after CES, shortly before the commencement of the Olympic season.

    While off-ice photos of Tessa are not common, it's the off-ice, unofficial, down-time photos of Tessa with Scott, in particular, that are the topic. She's reserved with that. Scott has never uploaded a photo of "me and Tessa" at the airport, me and Tessa backstage" - as other skaters do, even when their partners on platonic.

    The more recent photos I've seen of Tessa on other skaters' facebooks have been at banquets or a semi-public gathering of skaters. Not the hanging out, birthday party, running-an-errand, outside the rink, everyday type of photo, and not photos of Tessa when she's not competing or not gathering for photos with other skaters at an international competition. Certainly she could be more sensitive and withdrawn since CES, but then up pops book photos and then there's the Fedor photos.

    It's contradictory and inconsistent. What's the consistent through-line? She hesitates to be in the frame with Scott in 'unofficial' photos and often makes as if she's not in attendance at all. (The bus. Maia's b'day party). How come?

    And then photos surface in the book. So photos are getting taken, and perfectly public-appropriate, non-incriminating photos such as the ones shared in "Journey to Gold". But we're not seeing them. Except when we did. For $25.99. (The price is a figure of speech).

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  6. She seemed to be okay with appearing in Carol's album from the Shoeless Joe's opening last year.

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  7. "Shoeless Joe's VIP Night" was a public appearance (the VIP's were Tessa and Scott). Tessa and Scott posed together with a group of the owners (Scott's uncles). Tessa also posed one-on-one with Cara. Of course no photo of her posing one-on-one with Scott was published. Dear heavens, public or not, it's a bar-restaurant!

    They each donated an Olympic costume to go on display. It's similar to being the "draw" at the Bursary Golf event. The Tessa and Scott Steering Committee - album also on Carol's facebook - was the official thank you to those who had supported Tessa and Scott. These aren't the non-public appearance, unofficial, down time situations on topic.

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  8. "[PS: You should make a post about Tessa's nose job. How come no one ever talks about that! On Fanforum, someone brought it up once and they were pretty much burned at the stake.]"

    What does a nose job have to do with anything?
    So Tessa might have had a nose job. So what.

    A nose job is completely irrelevant. It has nothing to do with ethics, character, moral integrity. I could care less about a nose job. But if Tessa wanted to, and was able to make that kind of tiny alteration to her nose, more power to her!

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  9. I just find it strange how many people refuse to believe that Saint Tessa the Virtuous had work done on her nose. I think she looks much better now and it's great that she decided to go ahead and do it. You must have been one of the people at Fanforum who jumped all over someone asking about it.

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  10. It's interesting to note that before Tessa and Scott had their current official website, they had a really nice, charming site. Admittedly, not all slick and professional like the current one but full of videos, links to V/M articles and photos. As far as photos, not only many skating photos but also a whole bunch of off-ice photos, and many in fact credited to Tessa Virtue, who used to list "photography" as one of her interests. So at some point all of a sudden V/M, and especially Tessa Virtue, developed an aversion to the camera?

    I can't help but note that at around the same time they seem to have disappeared from anyone's candid photos, Scott-Jessica's relationship status became very public as far as facebook activity. Also, wasn't this at around the time David Pelletier was on special assignment with V/M, thanks to SC, for "advising"? Seeing the Olympic potential, and going on his own experience - did he not only advise them, and SC officials like Debbi Wilkes, to not only set up some fake SO's but also to stop sharing the photos so they'd be available for a book? Of course I'm just speculating, but it's very interesting that they do this fake SO stuff (Tessa-Fedor and then Scott-Jessica) and at the same time restrict anything personal to the public, while not having any compunction about the "intimacy" implied in the photos put out with the "SO's" nor in then turning around and "sharing" in their book.

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  11. Their web page may have been set up by professionals but it's not maintained professionally. Back in July Scott said "soon" about the webpage being updated. It's nearly October and there's still last year's event schedule.

    It just all painfully underlines how little of a fuck they give for actual fan outreach unless there's something tangible in it for them. They'll get sanctimonious, turn on the sweetness, but it's crap. There's no back up, no follow through - hardly ever follow through. The main thing they follow through on like clock work is sham stuff. That protects them, so there's something in it for them, that works the fans over, so let's not fail to do that at every turn.

    Every aspect is unseemly, and accompanied by sanctimony, which makes it nauseating.

    And yes, while Tessa is a private person in a genuine way, in the broad sense it certainly is situational and disappears at convenient times.

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  12. I agree, their official website may look professional but it's a disgrace to the Olympic champions how little it's ever updated and maintained. They really really want to keep the fans at arms' length, don't they.

    And they just proved your point about the follow-through with sham stuff. Exactly according to the established pattern, right before a public appearance by V/M (in this case, the Finlandia competition next week), Jess Dube changes her profile picture to make sure it's put out there that she and Scott are a "couple" and no matter what we see on or off the ice next week, we the fans better not forget about Jess! Hahaha. I must say, this is extremely entertaining to watch.

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  13. To the anon above who mentioned that Tessa 'used to be' interested in photography, this is along the same lines as what I was thinking. Maybe it's Tessa taking all the photos of her skating friends at the off-ice skating events :) (complete speculation of course!) This could be construed as very convenient for their situation. Or not.

    I hear you about their lack of attention to their official website. I was really surprised that it had not been updated, especially at the beginning of a new skating season.

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  14. It's okay to keep the fans at arms' length if that's their preference, but they're all over the map. The way they've chosen to cover all the bases is to engage in constant fabrication where everything is grist for the lying mill. There's not a thing that's sacred - not a competition like the 4CCs, not leg surgery, not weddings, not the Canadian competition venues in an Olympic year, certainly not facebook and not common decency.

    It's completely possible to have the appearance of accessibility in a way that absolutely satisfies fans, via non-bullshit experiences actually created for fan outreach (see USFSA in general for how to do that, and see IMG) - while keeping your real lives protected and remaining inside a totally controlled environment. To achieve that takes intelligence, relevant experience doing this successfully, genuine professionalism, and giving a shit.

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  15. Anon one above my last comment - I agree it could be Tessa taking some of the photos. That doesn't cover the fact that no Moir on facebook bothered to show any Tessa behind the scenes where she wasn't the one taking the photos. She was in plenty of photos - we just had to pay to see them in their book.

    Is it also that they don't want to show us too much Tessa behind-the-scenes, such as at the Olympics, because we'd wonder where Jessica is at all the stuff they might show us?

    If that's it, why doesn't that apply to Jessica? In her Olympic album, Jessica was given clearance to run photos of her mom's b'day, celebrated with Bryce and other friends during the games. Jessica and Bryce on the train, Jessica and Bryce here there and everywhere, The album had a few de rigueur sham shots at public places such as the opening and closing ceremonies but otherwise it was Jessica and Bryce's Olympics.

    So that circles back to - if it's not to disguise the fact that Jessica and Scott don't cross paths when it's not staged or an all athlete ensemble occasion - then why is Tessa hidden? Why, even when we know she's there, does she not pose with Scott one on one, unless it's a promotional event or a public appearance?

    It's all me me me with them. It's not just photos - it's even the meagre fan "outreach" Scott does on his page - he can't follow through. They're only diligent when they're selling something, like the book. Or Body Butter. Or when somebody's paid at a charity event.

    They lie too much. And they half ass too much. Why did they bother with a web page in the first place? Why does Scott pop into his fan page and promise things like "soon" complete with exclamation point? Why not say - sorry, we've kind of slacked off on it - hope it will be updated at some point! Or not reply. Or provide a link to the schedule on another site.

    Are they absolutely incapable of a genuine exchange? Not personal - genuine. There's a difference.

    They seem a little mercenary to me, because their priorities are painfully obvious. That's not good marketing.

    What they do take the time and trouble with is crap. They are certainly attentive and show follow through with the garbage they shove at us. Plenty of effort trying to sneak in sham shit like Skate Canada's little gambit with Craig Buntin's wedding.

    But a simple, honest, updated competition schedule of what - seven events? too much work? - on a web page they voluntarily set up - they can't be bothered. But they can be bothered throwing out a cheerful lie about it, because it suits the mood and it's expedient in that moment, and who cares if it sets up fans' expectations. They're only fans, not people.

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  16. "It's all me me me with them. It's not just photos - it's even the meagre fan "outreach" Scott does on his page - he can't follow through. They're only diligent when they're selling something, like the book. Or Body Butter. Or when somebody's paid at a charity event."

    Thinking back, I must agree that since they took down their previous webpage - which was full of professional and candid photos and competition updates - we've hardly seen anything of Scott and Tessa together that wasn't a professional or skating appearance. Except for the book's photos, of course.

    Nothing wrong with wanting to have a reserved public persona, plenty of celebrities have figured how to do that while still being a public person. But it is galling when it's the fans who ultimately support their endorsement endeavors and pay the money to attend shows and competitions, not to mention their book, of course.

    They really do need to get some good, professional advice on how to do this - To be popular public figures. Have appropriate fan outreach (why continually offend the fans and treat them like pesky idiots?), and create genuine public personas that are not rooted in lies and distasteful crap. It can be done, it's done all the time.

    Even without all the facebook and SC garbage they've thrown out, the way they have handled their official website shows their attitude. It's basically ignored while pretending to be a connection between them and the public. The photos are from a professional photo-shoot (yes, they're beautiful, but where are the competition photos? A few off-ice photos? Even updated professional photo-shoot photos?). Why are they unable to keep it current? Whatever the reason, it definitely sends the message that engaging the public is simply not important. And you have to ask, Why? Don't they need the public's interest and recognition to have the kind of skating career (with all the accompanying endorsements and $$) they trained for all their lives? With all the acclaim they've already received, they must know and understand that their skating isn't something private, that takes place in a bubble. You would think it's logical that an official website is one of the best means for fan outreach while keeping your distance. But instead of setting up appropriate and professional ways of relating to fans, Scott cheerfully allows family and friends to share on facebook as many "personal/private" photos of him and Jessica as they want and SC to make stupid statements, however indirect, about his "private life" (the Skatebug "sharing" and comments like the Buntin wedding). And I have to agree with others on this blog who brought this up, that Scott's birthday Muskokas mention was an attempt to allude to Jessica and this ridiculously stupid game they're involved in and not about sincere, genuine sharing. It was obnoxious and utterly contemptuous of the fans. There's a disconnect somewhere, and I attribute it to exactly what this blogger has been railing about. Their incompetent (and arrogantly entitled) management.

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  17. We can speculate about Pelletier, but 2007 is the beginning of Tessa's disappearing from candid pix on facebook. 2007 saw the first forays into VM/DD shamming.

    In 2007 William Thompson hired Debbi Wilkes.

    Of all the options, why did Wilkes choose the scheme allowing her intimate knowledge and public control of the most private aspects of SC's star figure skaters' lives?

    Allowed her to separate star figure skaters and pair them romantically and sexually with others for public consumption?

    Debbi Wilkes is playing at fan fiction in 3D. Fan fiction is gross when fans do it. It's revolting from the SC marketing director.

    Why is Wilkes tenacious with a policy that continually requires two figure skaters NOT involved with each other to pretend they're having sex with each other?

    There's always an unsettling gap between what's needed and what's done - so - why is it done?

    Are fans just an excuse for Debbi & Co. to get their rocks off?

    They seem to have a type at Skate Canada - unseemly preoccupation with the personal in athlete management has been there from the beginning. Slipchuk and Thompson have gotten their fingerprints on it too and this is NOT their department.

    Considering we're talking about marketing and shamming skaters' sex lives, it's disturbing how eager the SC directors have been to keep it going and how they have apparently decided it must be promoted with great frequency. It's the lynchpin of Scott/Tessa marketing.

    Marketing elements not related to faking romantic/sex lives were and remain sloppy, inconsistent and random, punching holes in the facade.

    TPTB haven't bothered cleaning up that part of the act. But they never ever overlook a potential sham occasion. They seek them out.

    They're way too into it.

    So - do they really care if the sham works or not? Or has it become a pretext for getting their jollies?

    Who's all this garbage really for? The public?

    Or are SC’s directors a bunch of pervs?

    Unctuous, oily older people pasting themselves all over the perceived sex lives of some young, attractive figure skaters. It's gross.

    And there's this: Debbi's written a book before. Starting day one at SC, she's maneuvered herself into a position of having a ton of red hot material for another one after her retirement. The families, the sex lives, the secrets, the personalities behind the scenes, she's got her mitts on it all, and the reins are tight.

    As to any kind of genuine fan outreach by Scott and/or Tessa - it doesn't exist. Pm-ing fans to thank them for support is meaningless when the support they provide is back-up for the lies you tell.

    Scott seems to appear on his "fan page" in tourette's-like bursts with no follow through. It's unprofessional It's hurtful towards fans who respond with enthusiasm; happy he's acknowledged them.

    Last Wednesday, Scott posted he was looking for a new profile photo - any suggestions? The response was over 20 answers, with examples. Fans included photos of the type they'd like to see, etc. They took him seriously.

    It's Saturday now and the photo hasn't been changed. I hope this is because he plans on a Finlandia shot - if there is one, doubtless it will be on ice or from the podium, not the harmless candid people would like to see. A podium shot isn't marketable in a book down the line.

    It’s every celebrity's dream to have just the up side of fandom - which means just the benefits - and none of the down side - which is of course, actually dealing with conversation, expectations, neediness and assumptions.

    I can't think of a parallel situation where two people were marketed as the kids next door while treating fans as dismissively as these two and their management treat, exploit, abuse and use the public.

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  18. ^ The above commentary derives from this question - who benefits?

    This is a huge mess. Scott and Tessa could achieve whatever their business aims are with a sane marketing program handled by intelligent professionals who had no interest in crawling into bed with them, smarming all over them, or setting it up so they treat fans like shit.

    Skate Canada isn't benefitting, that's for sure. Ticket sales are depressed, television ratings down, sponsors have taken a hike.

    It appears to me that via her strategic preoccupation with maintaining the sham and all the hidden private information that entails, in concert with her talent for pandering to absolutely anything breathing that crosses her path, Debbi Wilkes has set herself up quite well.

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  19. Just came across the blog. I'm not for or con anyone--except this blogger. Reading this, whoever writes this blog, sounds VERY bitter and negative. You have nothing better to do with your time than forge up things about people?! I'm betting 100 to 1 that you don't even know them--AT ALL. So pathetic.

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