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Archive for the ‘Connecticut Tattoo’

Tornado Survivor on Search for the Missing: Not Knowing Is Worse Than Knowing’ – NBC Connecticut12.15.21

Autumn Kirks said she and her boyfriend, Lannis Ward, had been dating for about a year and were saving money to buy a house. They were both working the night shift at the candle factory for extra money when the tornado struck.

Then Ward, described by Kirks as a big teddy bear," disappeared and all she could do was wait.

Not knowing is worse than knowing right now," she said early Sunday as she stood outside His House Ministries, a nondescript prefabricated building on the edge of Mayfield where people have been told to go to wait for word about the missing.

Later in the day, she got the terrible news that Ward had been killed in the storm.

In the aftermath of the massive tornado that roared through the western Kentucky darkness early Saturday morning, the chances for good news seem to diminish by the hour.

An unusual mid-December swarm of twisters across the Midwest and the South leveled entire communities and left dozens dead in five states. The death toll is expected to go higher in Kentucky.

In the terrible moments before the storm hit, Kirks had moved to a hallway in the innermost part of the building that housed Mayfield Consumer Products, where employees were working the night shift to crank out Christmas candles.

They said, Duck and cover, she recalled. I pulled my safety goggles down, jumped under the closest thing, and seconds later I looked to my left and instead of wall there was sky and lightning and just destruction everywhere.

The closest thing was a row of metal stands with nets across the top, used to store wax and fragrance buckets. Kirks said she and some other employees moved the buckets and took cover under the stands. She tried to keep an eye on Ward, but she is a team leader and had to make sure other co-workers were safe.

I remember taking my eyes off of him for a second, and then he was gone," she said.

An eerie silence preceded the storm, Kirks said, and then all of a sudden you hear just crumbling, and its like the whole world is just falling down around you.

Kirks said she and three co-workers were trapped under a concrete wall, but that a co-worker lifted the wall to rescue them.

I still wish I knew who it was that lifted that wall off of us, she said. He was our superman that night.

Another woman entered the building weeping. To help those struggling to cope, a state trooper came in with teddy bears. A golden retriever was there to offer pet therapy.

Autumn Kirks brought a photo of her boyfriend to the recovery center and described his tattoo, scars and other features. She said the authorities asked her to bring back a glass or bath sponge or something that might have his DNA on it to potentially help identify him later.

She was headed home to look for something that would work.

Drone video shows the devastation the morning after deadly tornadoes tore through Western Kentucky.


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Miss Universe Is India’s Harnaaz Sandhu, 70th Winner – NBC Connecticut12.15.21

Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned the 70th Miss Universe on Sunday, topping a field of some 80 contestants in a pageant that was touched by politics and the pandemic.

The previously reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, crowned her successor, a Bollywood actress, in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat. The pageant was held in the middle of the night, wrapping up at 5 a.m. local time (10 p.m. EST) to accommodate the primetime schedule in the U.S.

The pageant included traditional displays of national costumes, swimwear and a series of interview questions to test contestants' public speaking skills. The top 10 showed off intricately bedazzled full-length gowns in either gold, silver or bronze. The Philippines' Beatrice Luigi Gomez wore an asymmetrical cut dress with one sleeve, highlighting a new tattoo she said celebrates her womanhood.

But the contest also drew attention in recent weeks for other reasons.

A grassroots Palestinian-led boycott had urged contestants to skip the event to protest Israels treatment of the Palestinians.

In the end, only Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country with close ties to the Palestinians, did not send a representative, citing the global COVID-19 situation. The South African government, which also strongly supports the Palestinian cause, withdrew support for the countrys representative over her participation.

In an interview last month, Meza urged contestants to leave politics out of the pageant, saying the gathering was meant to bring together women from different backgrounds. When you are in there you forget about politics, about your religion, she told The Associated Press at the time.

Sara Salansky, an official with the Israeli Tourism Ministry, said the country was selected to host the contest earlier this year because of Israels successful coronavirus vaccination program.

The contest suffered a last-minute hiccup with the arrival of the omicron variant, which forced Israel to close its borders to foreign tourists late last month.

Most of the Miss Universe contestants were already in the country before the new regulations came into effect. But those who came afterward were given special permission to enter, albeit with a mandatory 72-hour quarantine period.

Throughout the run-up to Sundays contest, all contestants were tested for the coronavirus every 48 hours and required to obey strict mask requirements.

Amid all the safeguards, Frances contestant, Clemence Botino, tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving in Israel. After 10 days in quarantine, she was declared virus free last week and allowed to rejoin the competition.

Last years pageant was delayed due to the pandemic before Meza was crowned in May for her abbreviated tenure.

Sundays contest was hosted by U.S. TV personality Steve Harvey. Organizers said the pageant was expected to reach an estimated 600 million viewers via the FOX network in 172 countries.

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Kahleah Copper is the Chicago Skys breakout star of the WNBA Finals – SB Nation10.20.21

CHICAGO It took Kahleah Copper exactly one possession to show the Phoenix Mercury she was not to be tested in Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA Finals. Copper locked on Phoenixs living legend Diana Taurasi as she ran off a screen from Brianna Turner and then another from Brittney Griner. Griners screen leveled Copper, forcing a switch as Taurasi popped out to the top of the three-point line. That left the 61 Copper in the post with the 69 Griner, the seven-time All-Star, two-time scoring champ, and one of the greatest players of this generation in her own right.

This is the type of mismatch Phoenix wanted to hunt to establish Griner offensively early in the game. Taurasi had teammate Sophie Cunningham wide open on the wing as the Sky defense scrambled to recover, but this play was always meant to get the ball inside to their star big. As Taurasi threw an entry pass into the post, Copper flew in front of Griner and soared to tip the ball with her outstretched left arm.

The Sky recovered the loose ball, and sped off to attack at the other end.

Copper has been Chicagos beating heart throughout this charmed run to the WNBA Finals, and she may have saved her best postseason performance yet for Friday night in a tied series with the Mercury. She bolted downcourt at every opportunity to burn the Phoenix defense in transition. She busted the Mercury in the halfcourt with her impossibly quick first step and soft touch around the basket. She even knocked down 2-of-3 three-pointers, which has historically been the weakest part of her game but no longer feels surprising.

Copper has done all of this with Taurasi as her primary defensive assignment. Taurasi has a case as the greatest player in WNBA history, but shes 39 years old, playing through multiple lower body injuries, and just watched her wife give birth to the couples second child days earlier. Taurasi is still one of the leagues most explosive scorers she dropped 37 points on the mighty Las Vegas Aces in the semifinals two weeks ago but she hasnt been able to keep up with Copper in this series.

In Taurasis defense, no one else has been able to keep up with Copper either.

Chicago blew open Game 3 of the Finals early in the second quarter when Candace Parker picked up a loose ball and threw a no-look pass to Copper in transition. Copper gathered the ball, contorted her body, and finished through contact for a three-point play. Copper made her free throw to put Chicago up 19 points, and the game was a wrap from there.

The Sky won, 86-50, to move one win away from the first championship in franchise history. It was the most lopsided game in WNBA Finals history in front of an electric sold out crowd featuring major politicians (governor JB Pritzker and mayor Lori Lightfoot), local sports icons (Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields and stud linebacker Roquan Smith), and Chicago native Chance the Rapper all in the stands.

When it was over, Chance the Rapper hugged Copper at centercourt while wearing her jersey. He had said before the game he would get a Sky tattoo if the team won the championship. He feels like just one of thousands of new fans the team has created with this run.

Copper, she was just a handful, Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said after the game. They were isolating her. Like I said, we cant rely on one-on-one coverage. Copper made a lot of great plays.

Shes been a hard matchup for everybody this year, Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said when asked about Copper after the game.

The Sky embody an egalitarian approach to the game. The headline name is Parker, the superstar forward who made the teams title dreams possible when she signed in her hometown as a free agent during the offseason. Theres also the point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who has led the WNBA in assists the last five years, and her wife Allie Quigley, arguably the best shooter in the history of the league. Chicagos role players have all stepped up in a big way throughout this run, from Azur Stevens and Stefanie Dolson in the paint to Diamond DeShields on the wing.

Theres no doubt who the breakout star of the playoffs has been for Chicago, though. With one more win, Copper is likely to be named Finals MVP. Its a development that would have surprised anyone paying attention to the league coming into the playoffs with the lone exception of Copper herself.

Coppers arrival in Chicago wasnt exactly celebrated when she was traded to the team ahead of the 2017 season. At the time, Copper was coming off an unremarkable rookie year with the Washington Mystics as the former No. 7 overall pick in the draft out of Rutgers. She was traded to the Sky as part of the package for superstar forward Elena Delle Donne, who had won league MVP in Chicago two years earlier. Delle Donne yearned to be closer to her native Delaware, and threatened to sit out of the season if the Sky didnt trade her. The Sky really didnt have a choice.

Losing arguably the best player in the world was a massive set back for the franchise, and ushered in a full scale rebuild. For a while, it was hard to tell how much of a factor Copper would really be in the teams long-term plans.

Copper started only 12 of her first 101 games with the franchise, averaging about seven points in 15 minutes per night off the bench for the Sky. Vandersloot and Quigley were the teams foundational pieces, and DeShields was thought to be a rising star after the Sky took her with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Copper was just trying to show she belonged in the league.

Everything changed for Copper when the WNBA went to the bubble wubble in Bradenton, Florida for the 2020 season amid the pandemic. DeShields showed up to camp with an injured knee and would eventually leave the team before the end of the season. Stevens left with DeShields as she battled her own knee injury. Copper entered the starting lineup and never turned back. Her scoring average jumped from 6.7 to 14.9 points per game, and firmly entrenched herself as a core piece moving forward.

The Sky never really looked like the rising team they were thought to be after the 2019 season while they were in the wubble. They battled to a 12-10 record, but were knocked out by the Connecticut Sun in their playoff game.

Everything changed for the Sky when Parker signed as a free agent. Suddenly, the team had legitimate title aspirations, but for a while it seemed like they would never get there. Parker suffered an ankle injury in the second game of the season, and the team promptly lost seven games in a row. When she returned, the Sky won seven games in a row. Chicago entered the playoffs at 16-16 with an offensive rating, defensive rating, and net rating that all ranked in the middle of the league. This was an average team by any metric.

Copper never stopped ascending, though. She led the team in scoring, and was named an All-Star of the first time in her career. While Parker and VanderQuigs got all the attention, Copper was quietly becoming a major factor on the wing.

This playoff run has been her coronation. She scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting against the Dallas Wings as Chicago survived a single elimination game to open the playoffs. Chicago had to win another single elimination game after that, and entered as the underdog to the Minnesota Lynx. Copper put up 16 points and 10 rebounds in the win, and the Sky moved on to the semifinals.

Few thought the Sky could defeat the Connecticut Sun to reach the Finals. Connecticut was the team with the WNBAs best record, the team with the second best defense in league history, and the team with the newly crowned MVP in Jonquel Jones. Chicago won a double OT thriller to open the series before the Sun tied things up with a win in the next game. As the series returned to Chicago for Game 3, Copper painted a masterpiece: 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting to give the Sky a tight win. They would close out the series in the next game.

Copper opened the Finals with 21 points and 10 rebounds five of them on the offensive end in a Game 1 win. The Sky lost a closely contested Game 2, and Copper provided the most memorable moment of the game when she stared down Phoenixs Sophie Cunningham after an open court foul.

The intensity that burned in Coppers eyes in that moment has been the fuel that has led the Sky to the precipice of a championship. After her incredible performance in the Game 3 beatdown, its hard to believe theres anything Phoenix can do to stop her.

Coppers intensity has been contagious for Chicago throughout the playoffs. Her relentless energy on every possession at both ends of the floor is an ideal match with the genius IQ of veterans Parker, Vandersloot, and Quigley. To this point, theres not a player in the WNBA who has proven they can stay in front of her when shes in the open floor or isolated against a helpless defender on the wing.

The Sky are a win away from the title, and Copper is one more big game away from stitching her name into the fabric of the league forever as Finals MVP. At this point, it feels like the only way Coppers star turn in the playoffs can end.

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Repeal of Illinois Abortion Notification Buoyed by Texas Law – NBC Connecticut10.20.21

Alarmed and at the same time energized by a Texas law that bans most abortions, abortion-rights advocates in the General Assembly are targeting what people on both sides of the contentious issue consider the last restriction on access to abortion in Illinois.

Democrats in the House and Senate are pushing to repeal a law requiring that a parent or guardian be notified at least 48 hours in advance when a minor 17 or younger seeks an abortion. Consent is not required as it is in nearly half the states.

To parental-notice supporters, it's a commonsense approach to ensuring that families are involved in a minor's health care and even identify children in abusive situations who need additional help. Opponents say it serves no purpose but to delay a minor's constitutional right to choose their health care, a disruption that could have adverse effects.

Repeal has a sudden sense of urgency among proponents. The Texas lawprohibits most abortions after a cardiac activityis detected at about six weeks. And the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in December a challenge to aMississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.

There is another dimension to this now..., said Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat and the repeals House sponsor. I expect Texas-style laws will be coming to states near us. We're already surrounded by states that have very strict abortion-access laws. It will be this race to the bottom: Who can be the toughest on abortion until the Supreme Court weighs in?

Moeller said she's talking to colleagues, counting votes and trying to persuade moderate Democrats. Democratic Sen. Elgie Sims of Chicago has similar legislation in the Senate, but he did not respond to a message seeking comment. If they can collect the votes, they've got an ally ready to sign the law.

Im in favor of repealing PNA, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said last week. I dont know whether the Legislature will bring this up over the two weeks of veto session, but I have stood in favor of it since I was elected.

The 1995 law, adopted during the only legislative session in the past half-century that Republicans controlled both the House and Senate and the governor's office, did not take effect until 2013,after years of judicial challengesby the American Civil Liberties Union.

Since then, the number of abortions among minors has dropped 38%, to 1,092 in 2018, while abortions overall among Illinois residents remained steady, according toIllinois Department of Public Health statistics. The numbers in both categories have plummeted since the mid-90s; overall, sinking 25% from a high of 49,131 in 1996 while abortions among minors hit a high of 4,853 in 1995 and a low of 1,003 in 2017, a drop of 79%.

It's a very commonsense law that actually transcends the abortion issue, said Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. This has to do with the basic right of parents to be involved in their childrens health care decisions. Here in Illinois ... minor girls cant get their ears pierced, they cant get a tattoo, they cant go to a tanning bed, they cant go on a school field trip, they cant even get an aspirin from the school nurse without their parents' explicit consent.

Gehrke stresses many misinterpret the Illinois law as requiring consent. Its simply notification to a parent, grandparent, or guardian. And its the facility conducting the procedure, not the minor, who must provide the notice.

States and the Department of Justice are waging court battles over the right to abortion that the Supreme Court outlined in Roe v. Wade. But in 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a key case that was less widely known, paved the way for some abortion restrictions - as long as they didn't meet the definition of an "undue burden." With help from Florida State law professor Mary Ziegler, we break it down in this LXplanation.

Of 38 states requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, 21 require parental consent in three of those, both parents must consent,according to the Guttmacher Institute.

If a girl is in a family situation where notifying parents or other relatives would result in her harm, she may go to a judge who then decides whether she is mature and emotionally sound enough to decide for herself. That has happened 550 times since 2013, with a judge denying abortion access once, according to Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

Gehrke and other pro-notice activists maintain that the judicial bypass allows a judge to identify minors who are abused or even victims of sex trafficking and get them the social services they need to extricate themselves. Their opponents contend judges are only there to decide the abortion question and have no involvement in saving minors from treachery.

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the ACLU, whoseJudicial Bypass Coordination Projectassists girls seeking court intervention, said project lawyers have never experienced an instance where a child needed that kind of rescue, but that judges absolutely would intervene if needed.

That's reason enough to maintain the law, said Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, which has been lobbying lawmakers to block repeal since the spring legislative session ended.

If you limit this law, then whats out there? Gilligan asked. Nothing. Is that good public policy?

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Rolling Stones Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Tattoo You’ With 9 New Tracks – NBC Connecticut08.23.21

The Rolling Stones are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their album Tattoo You with a remastered collection that includes nine previously unreleased tracks.

The newly-remastered 11-track album is out on Oct. 22, including songs Hang Fire, Waiting on a Friend and the opening track, Start Me Up. The deluxe formats will also include the albums Lost & Found: Rarities and the 26-track Still Life: Wembley Stadium 1982.

The Lost & Found: Rarities album includes the original Living in the Heart of Love, a version of Jimmy Reed's Shame, Shame, Shame, a cover of Dobie Grays soulful Drift Away and a reggae-tinged version of Start Me Up.

The release comes as the rockers prepare 13 new dates on their No Filter tour in the United States. The new itinerary starts Sept. 26 in St. Louis and extends into November.

Released on Aug. 24, 1981, Tattoo You was a collage of songs from the band's sessions stretching back several years.

The Grammy-nominated Tattoo You remains the last Stones album to hit No.1 in the U.S. charts, peaking at the top spot on Sept. 19 and remaining there for some 10 weeks.

The Rolling Stones received their first Grammy nomination for album of the year for Some Girls in 1978. The bands albums also include Beggars Banquet in 1968, Let It Bleed in 1969, Sticky Fingers in 1971 and Exile on Main St. in 1972. Their singles Honky Tonk Women and (I Cant Get No) Satisfaction have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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The Top Tear-Jerking Moments of the Tokyo Games – NBC Connecticut08.09.21

The Olympics are such a happy time. Nations and cultures come together in a festive atmosphere to witness and celebrate the achievements of the worlds greatest athletes.

So, then whats with all this crying?

Tear-jerking moments and the Olympics go together like medals on ribbons. For every moment of jubilation, there are those that stir deep emotions. Maybe its a sense of loss, a farewell or a new beginning. Or sometimes its the realization of a goal, the culmination of a lifes work and an opportunity to share a most special moment with family, friends, teammates and countrymen.

So, grab the tissue box and prepare to bawl with this top tear-jerking moments of the Tokyo Games:

With a chiseled physique and an eagle tattoo across his shoulder and chest, Caeleb Dressel cuts an imposing figure in and out of the pool. But that all melted away when Dressel was greeted via video by the folks back home. During an emotional post-race interview following his 100m gold medal victory, the 6-foot-3 swimmer was brought to tears at the sight of his wife, parents, friends and family. Love you too, an otherwise speechless Dressel managed. Thank you, guys.

SEE MORE: Caeleb Dressel sets Olympic record in 100 free, wins first individual gold

Watch all the action from the Tokyo Olympics live on NBC

Unless you speak Spanish, you might not have realized what was happening during an interview with Argentine fencer Mara Beln Prez Maurice. But it didnt take long to figure out. Standing behind BelnPrez Maurice was her coach and partner Lucas Saucedo with a marriage proposal scrawled on a sheet of paper. Saucedo went down on bended knee and, thankfully, she said yes.

SEE MORE: Mara Beln Prez Maurice gets surprise marriage proposal

Something clearly was not right with Simone Biles after she got lost in the air during an uncharacteristically shaky vault to startthe womens team final. After meeting with her coaches and trainers, Biles stunned the Games by withdrawing from the finals with a case of the twisties, and concerns over her mental health. "I love you guys, but you're gonna be just fine," Biles is heard telling her teammates.

SEE MORE: Biles exits women's Olympic team final after vault

So touching was the farewell for Olympic diver Ken Terauchi of Japan, it brought NBCs Cynthia Potter to tears. Making me cry, she said as Terauchi, 40, saluted his well-wishers. Minutes later it was Rommel Pacheco of Mexico who made his final Olympic dive and enjoyed another emotional moment.

SEE MORE: Divers Terauchi, Pacheco get standing ovations in farewell

Seventeen years ago, at the 2004 Games in Athens, Luis Scola helped the Argentina mens basketball team make history with a victory over Team USA en route to a gold medal. In Tokyo, in what is expected to be his last international game, Scola received an emotional and deserving farewell.

SEE MORE: Argentina's Luis Scola receives standing ovation in Tokyo finale

Oksana Chusovitina got the Olympic farewell she deserved in Tokyo. At 46, the eight-time Olympian from Uzbekistan failed to qualify for the final in the womans vault and said goodbye to the Games to a standing ovation from her fellow competitors, coaches and others in an other empty arena. She formed a heart with her hands and said a simple bye-bye as her Olympic career came to an end.

SEE MORE: Oksana Chusovitina gets farewell standing ovation

In 1920, Karel Capek wrote the ground-breaking play R.U.R. about robots taking over the world and dominating the human race. Fast forward 100 years and heres a robot sinking free throws and three-pointers at the Tokyo Games.

Capek was right the human race is doomed!

SEE MORE: Our robot overlords are better at basketball than we are

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‘Sex/Life’ Showrunner on the Truths Behind the SeriesFrom Boyfriends to the Female Midlife Crisis – Newsweek07.25.21

Sex/Life has been holding on to its spot in Netflix's Top 10 since it dropped on Netflix at the end of May. People simply cannot get enough of Billie Connelly's (played by Sarah Shahi) story and her struggle to choose between her loving husband Cooper (Mike Vogel) and her ex-boyfriend Brad (Adam Demos).

Billie, a bored mother of two begins to embrace her sexual fantasies, writing them on her laptop. Her life is turned upside down when Cooper uncovers her darkest secrets while simultaneously, her bad-boy ex-boyfriend Brad makes an unexpected reappearance in her life.

The events set Billie on a journey of self-rediscovery as she questions staying with her safe and love-filled marriage to straight-laced husband Cooper or whether she takes the risk of starting over with Brad, the best sex of her life.

Sex/Life was created by UnREAL's Stacy Rukeyser for Netflix and was inspired by the book 44 Chapters About 4 Men by B.B. Easton.

Like Billie in Sex/Life, Easton a mother of two and school psychologist had become frustrated with her non-existent sex life with her husband.

She began journaling her sexual fantasies, reliving her past four relationships and her wild sex life on the page.

In her book 44 Chapters About 4 Men, Easton recounts her wild encounters with her four major loves before meeting her husband Ken, describing them as a "tattoo artist turned U.S. Marine turned motorcycle club outlaw, a baby-faced punk rocker out on parole, and a heavy-metal bass player."

Following the success of 44 Chapters about 4 Men, Easton has written four spinoff books about each of the four men: Skin, Speed, Star, and Suit.

Unlike Billie, Easton deliberately left her journal out so her husband could read it and learn what she really wanted from their marriage and the rest became history.

Speaking to Newsweek, Sex/Life showrunner Stacy Rukeyser shared: "It was inspired by the book. The basic premise of this, this wife and mom with these two young kids who's longing for her former self that's there, and then she starts to write in her journal, about those times, those wild child times, and then her husband reads her journal. And in the book, it never goes awry. In the book, he starts acting out what she wrote, and it is a great solution. And so she starts writing more, and even writing things that never really happened because they're just the things that she wants her husband to do."

The biggest difference of all was Easton got her happy ending with her husband and never reached out to her former flames whereas Billie went deeper into her desires, eventually finding herself in a love triangle between two entirely different menone from the present and the other from the past.

Rukeyser commented: "The basic premise [of the book] is there, and then obviously, that's a big a big difference is that it wasn't all just, you know, sunshine and daisies after that."

In the end, it seems like Billie just couldn't choose between Brad and Cooper, after running back into the arms of Brad... after deciding she would be fully committing herself to her husband Cooper.

Rukeyser explained the show is "grounded" in what is keeping Billie up at night and Sex/Life may be a "juicy wild ride" but it is much deeper than that and Billie's dilemma is more nuanced.

She said: "It is, you know, postpartum exhausted mother of two versions of a midlife crisis and I think that that is something that, that we don't talk about and I think so many mothers in particular, who I speak to feel very seen by that, that these are questions they've been asking in their marriage. And it's not just mothers, it's also just sort of women of a certain age.

"It's like, we're supposed to become responsible grown-ups. A mom is not supposed to be a ravenous sex goddess at the same time. And so, if you are a mom who also happens to really love and want to live on in all parts of yourself or express all parts of yourself, that's a conundrum, you know, and, and we're also looking at what women are telling their whole lives, you know, I mean women are taught that once you meet someone who seems like marriage material that you should make yourself marriage worthy."

Rukeyser reflected that when she first received the book, she believed, as a drama writer, it "didn't have the legs for a drama series."

Thankfully, something else in Easton's story stood out. Rukeyser was drawn to the complications that come with a husband reading his wife's journal alongside the loss of female identity and the desire for female empowerment when you settle down in life.

Rukeyser explained: "When I read the book, I connected really personally with the idea of a wife and mom, who seemingly has it all and loves her children and loves her life. But she can't help wondering, you know, where did this other girl go? And that issue of female identity and who we are once we become wives and moms and that sort of sexy single girl self that we're supposed to give up, and the longing for that and I felt like that was all really rich territory.

"Even more importantly, what I felt was that it was never going to be that easy for Cooper [in Sex/Life], you know, who is the husband, to read that stuff about his wife."

Through laughter, Rukeyser shared: "What I know about men is that is complicated and for Cooper, it's exciting and weird and wild and titillating, in a certain way, but it's also really difficult to read about your wife being with another man and to feel that you need to change or become a different version of yourself in order to be acceptable in some way. So I always knew that it was going to be sort of a deeper exploration of a marriage in that way."

Although the story of Sex/Life is based on a true story, the characters of Sex/Life are entirely fictional from Billie and Cooper to Brad, who is a "new creation."

Rukeyser also clarified for fans of the book, Brad is not based on any of the four men from Easton's past.

There are also several small changes made to Sex/Life which make the story uniquely Billie's but also true to parts of Rukeyser's real life, from the setting to nights out with friends and "some impossibly sexy men."

She shared: "The setting is changed. It's now set in the Connecticut suburb where I grew up and in New York City, and in a sort of sparkly fever-dream version of the New York City where I lived after college, where I had my own single-in-the-city days with my own best girlfriends and some impossibly sexy men."

And although Sex/Life doesn't necessarily stick to Easton's true story, Rukeyser described Easton as the show's "biggest cheerleader."

Sex/Life is streaming on Netflix now.

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'Sex/Life' Showrunner on the Truths Behind the SeriesFrom Boyfriends to the Female Midlife Crisis - Newsweek

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Celebrate mom with more than just a scented candle this Mothers Day – Middletown Press05.06.21

With Mothers Day coming up on May 9, nows the time to celebrate the wonderful mothers and mother figures in your life.

Whether shes the momma who raised you (or your child) or simply a woman who cared for you, we all have women in our lives who we depend on to instruct us on how to properly stuff a turkey at Thanksgiving or provide us with the secrets to folding a flat sheet (Im convinced the only people on the planet who know how to do this are mothers).

For those looking for ways to honor the mothers in their lives (with something other than a scented candle) heres a few suggestions on how to celebrate Mothers Day for the various types of moms out there.

Look, breakfast in bed is a lovely and sweet offering, but lets be honest: it results in toast crumbs between the sheets, and if theres a smaller child involved in the preparation, there will be coffee or juice spilled all over the bed.

Whether or not shes the cook in the household, treat mom to brunch from her favorite breakfast spot. If that includes her usual to-go order from her favorite coffee shop, that works. If that means actually sitting down and perusing the bottomless mimosa options at her favorite brunch spot or the place shes been talking about visiting for the last six months, that works too. (Just dont make mom prepare her own breakfast.)

For the moms out there who cant help but keep you updated on the Royal familys every movement, the ones who have some sort of memorabilia from Will and Kates or perhaps even Charles and Dianas weddings (perhaps the purple Princess Diana beanie baby that was all the rage in the 90s), give them the royal treatment at high tea.

Around Connecticut there are a few places like Gruel Britannia, Tea with Tracy and Alice in the Village that all offer a variety of teas, tiny sandwiches and pastries for mom to ooh and aw over while she fills you in the latest drama at the palace.

Flowers are always a fresh and well-loved gesture, but realistically the lovely bouquet from the florist will only last a week or two before the roses and daisies begin to drop their petals.

Instead of gifting mom a fistful of flowers, take the time to plant her some greenery that she can enjoy throughout the spring and summer. But keep in mind: your mother will be the one who has to take care of the plants longevity, so if her thumbs scream plant reaper instead of gardening goddess, you might be better off with giving her a hardy cactus or succulent.

For certified Earth Mothers, plant a few bushes or plots of her favorite flowers; moms with little gardening space could use a hanging plant or window box to offer a bright splash of green into the home. Remember: theres no shame in hitting up the flower nursery with mom to get her input on what she thinks is the right plant for her.

If you and your mom consider yourselves to be closer than Rory and Lorelai (would this be a Mothers Day story if I didnt bring up Gilmore Girls?) and dont have a fear of needles, consider getting a matching tattoo with mom. For those who are afraid of such a permanent option, you can certainly find a number of temporary tattoo options online and apply one of those before you two hit out to ride some go karts, or rock out to a virtual concert at home.

Its been a long quarantine, okay, and chances are your mom has been stressed (like everyone else) and in need of a self-care day. Whether your budget allows you to take mom for a full-blown day of pampering at the spa, a refreshing trim or nail appointment at the salon, or just a couple of face masks and a pitcher of cucumber water at home, giving mom a few hours to indulge in caring for herself will brighten her day.

For the moms with an artsy streak, gift them the opportunity to attend the painting/pottery/embroidery workshop theyve been toying with signing up for since you were in diapers. It can be something you both do together, or a solo project for her to flex her creative muscles. Whether its a paint-and-sip session or a chance to learn from an expert, mom will appreciate the time to create something for herself.

Whether mom is a five-star chef or lives to watch The Great British Baking Show, demonstrate you care by taking the time to learn how to make one of her famous recipes, or learn how to make something new together in a cooking class . Baking, cooking or chocolate-making options are available all over Connecticut; after you two whip up something tasty, you can both smile knowing youve cooked up a memory or two together.

For moms known for selecting the perfect bottle of wine for her book club, or those who like to unwind with a relaxing class of vino, take mom out to find her new favorite wine along the Connecticut Wine Trail. With dozens of options sprinkled around the state and picturesque views you and mom can spend the day sampling different wines before selecting your new favorite bottle to have a wine and cheese picnic.

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TI and Tiny’s reality show halted amid sexual abuse claims, more news | Gallery – Wonderwall02.10.21

By Editors 5:49am PST, Feb 6, 2021

The reality show, "T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle," halted production on Friday, Feb. 5, due to sexual abuse allegations faced by the show's stars, T.I. and Tameka "Tiny" Harris. Despite the couple's denial of all such accusations, a rep for MTV told Deadline on Friday: "We are aware of the allegations, and while they are not connected to our show, we have reached out to T.I. and Tameka Harris, as well as local and state officials. Given the serious nature of the allegations, we have decided to suspend production in order to gather more information." The show had been shooting Season 4 in Atlanta. The allegations were made on social media, with the accuser accusing the couple of sexual abuse including coercion, drugging and trafficking. In a statement released in late January, a rep for the stars said, "they emphatically deny in the strongest way possible the egregiously appalling allegations." The statement also claimed the Harrises, "have had difficulty with [their accuser] for well over a decade."

RELATED: The biggest reality TV moments of 2020

Oscar-winner and two-time Tony and Emmy Award winner Christopher Plummer has died. His family confirmed the news on Friday, Feb. 5, to Deadline, which reported the star of "The Sound of Music" and dozens of other acclaimed films passed away at his home in Connecticut while surrounded by loved ones including his wife, Elaine Taylor. Plummer, whose career spanned nearly 70 years, recently starred in "Knives Out" and will appear, via voiceover, in the upcoming adventure film, "Heroes of the Golden Masks." Calling the star a "consummate actor" and cherished friend," Plummer's "Sound of Music" costar, Julie Andrews," said in a statement: "I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years. My heart and condolences go out to his lovely wife Elaine and his daughter Amanda." He was 91.

RELATED: Look back at Hollywood's older leading men in their heydays

Turns out Zayn Malik's new "Khai" tattoo, which he got in honor of the daughter he and Gigi Hadid welcomed in September, is part of a pair and the other half is adorning Gigi's bicep. Fans first spotted Zayn's new ink the couple's daughter's name, written in Arabic last month, shortly after Gigi added "Khai's mom" to her Instagram bio. This week, Vogue published a style video pegged to Gigi's March cover story, and once again, Gigi and Zayn's super-sleuth fans noticed a tiny tattoo that matches Zayn's "Khai" art when Gigi raises her arm at one point. Gigi confirmed rumors she and Zayn were expecting their first child back in April dring an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

RELATED: Stars expecting babies in 2021

As Olivia Wilde continues with production on her second directorial turn, "Don't Worry Darling," she's developed some buzz around Hollywood thanks to her "no a-" policy. The on-set rule went public when Variety reported Olivia had fired Shia LaBeouf from the film due to his behavior, which was making headlines at the time amid abuse allegations made by Shia's ex, FKA Twigs. Speaking to "Promising Young Woman" director Emerald Fennell for Variety's "Director on Director" series, Olivia explained that she won't tolerate working with anyone who behaves poorly or mistreats other members of the cast or crew. " It puts everybody on the same level," the 36-year-old said of her policy. "I also noticed as an actress for years how the hierarchy of the set separated the actors from the crew in this very strange way that serves no one. I think actors would actually like to know more about, 'What's happening there when you're pulling my focus? What is that lens change?' But the idea of, don't bother the actors and keep them separate, and don't look at them. I think it makes everyone quite anxious." She said she established the rule after being advised by "a very established actor and director" to fight with people on her set as a means of establishing dominance. "They said, 'Listen, the way to get respect on a set, you have to have three arguments a day. Three big arguments that reinstate your power, remind everyone who's in charge, be the predator,'" she recalled. "That is the opposite of my process," she added. "And I want none of that." Shia was eventually replaced on "Don't Worry Darling" with Olivia's now-boyfriend, Harry Styles, who stars opposite Florence Pugh in the forthcoming thriller.


Before Tiffany Haddish and Common sparked romance rumors last year rumors that turned out to be true Tiffany turned down the rapper repeatedly. The actress and comic opened up about her relationship with the 48-year-old rapper on "The Late Show" on Thursday, Feb. 4, joking with host Stephen Colbert that she nixed Common initially because, per ET, "I was waiting for you, Steve. I was waiting for you to get single." Stephen eventually got the full story out of Tiffany, though, including the real reason she kept declining Common's advances at first. "He was trying to holler, and I was like, 'No, I'm not really interested. Nah, I'm good. My eyes are set on other things. I'm interested in somebody else, I'm sorry. But you seem like a nice person,'" she recalled. As for why she was reluctant to go out with Common? She figured, "I know too many people that dated you," she told Stephen. "I didn't say that [to Common] but " She didn't elaborate on which exes she was tight with, but Common's rumored to have dated Serena Williams and Erykah Badu.

The marine who escorted Lady Gaga to the podium at President Joe Biden's inauguration last month is sharing some of the backstory about how he came to lead the pop star to her performance of the National Anthem and what they talked about as the walked into the ceremony. "She looked at me and she's like 'a fair warning we have an equal chance of tripping on this,'" Marine Capt. Evan Campbell, 34, told The Marine Corps Times, according to People. Her anxiety wasn't an unfounded, of course. The singer was decked out in a massive, custom Schiaparelli skirt and fitted jacket. "There was a concern obviously she was wearing this very beautiful, very large dress and there was a concern that she might need some help getting down the stairs," Campbell said this week in a separate interview with Task & Purpose. "So they basically looked around and I was one of the taller, larger individuals, and they just asked if I would be willing to assist and I was more than happy to." He said that he also tried to set her mind at ease by telling her she'd do a great job with "The Star-Spangled Banner." "It just seemed like a very natural human thing to do to look over and go, 'Hey you're going to do great. You always do well, you know, you're a performer, you're going to do great,'" he explained. "It just seemed like she needed to hear a relaxed voice."

Jennifer Lawrence is recovering from a scary injury she sustained on the set of her forthcoming film, "Don't Look Up." According to Page Six, a stunt in which glass explodes went awry and some of the shattered pieces struck the actress, 30, in her face. A source told the outlet production stopped for the day in Boston as crew members were shaken by the incident. Jen, who stars in the film opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, is reportedly expected to be fine.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos are preparing to send their 17-year-old son, Joaquin, off to college. But as Kelly shared on the Friday, Feb. 5, edition of "Live!," there was a time when even Mark wasn't convinced the couple's youngest would make it that far in his education. "Mark and I were FaceTiming the other night," Kelly told her co-host Ryan Seacrest. "Mark got very emotional and very choked up, because he said, 'You know, I never thought he would be able to go to college' because he was profoundly dyslexic and dysgraphic." Like dyslexia, dysgraphia is a learning disability. While dyslexia affects a person's ability to read, however, dysgraphia creates neurological issues that make it hard for a person to write or use fine motor skills. Kelly went to say Joaquin's "hard work and determination" over the years eventually led to reading becoming "one of [his] favorite things to do." She also noted that learning disabilities make the education process different, but not necessarily less fruitful. "I always say that dyslexia for our family at least and if you read about it can be quite a blessing," Kelly explained. "People panic in real-time because they don't understand it. It's a much often misunderstood learning difference. But kids with dyslexia learn how to read the room. They pick up on social cues and signals. You see in him a fire a desire to learn. That's the thing is, like, these kids are, I would say, even more capable."

More than two decades after Salma Hayek worked with Harvey Weinstein on "Frida," she continued to wrestle with the trauma that resulted from his alleged sexual harassment, threats and unwanted advances. But it wasn't until dozens of other women came forward with similar accusations against the former producer that Hayek realized she'd repressed the pain. "The amazing thing is that I thought I had healed," the "Bliss" star recently told the Evening Standard. "And then everything came out again and I realized I didn't heal. I repressed and I coped, I adjusted, I went on, so there was a layer of healing because it didn't stop me from growing. But it was very painful for a long time. I didn't know there were so many other women affected and that it went so deep. It was very shocking. But the fact that we [took action] together made it really healing." Following a pair of 2017 reports alleging Weinstein had sexually assaulted, harassed and/or raped multiple women, survivors continued coming forward until nearly 100 had told similar stories. Weinstein, 68, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence on rape and sexual assault charges. Todaym Hayek says she's "moved on," explaining to the Standard: "I lived with that for long enough and I detach myself from it now."

Addiction has played a central role in the Osbourne family's lives for as long as they've been a family. But today, recovery's a theme in the lives of Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Jack Osbourne and Kelly Osbourne, too. In a recent interview with Variety, Ozzy, Sharon and Jack spoke candidly about the toll addiction's taken on their lives and shared some insights into how why recovery has worked for Ozzy, Jack and Kelly. "I thought I'd be drinking to the day I die," said Ozzy, 72. Instead, he's been sober for seven years, thanks in large part to the efforts of his wife and manager Sharon, 68. "I've always been self-medicating because I've never liked the way I felt. I've had great success in my life, but I've never felt great about myself," Ozzy admitted. Those negative feelings led to substance abuse that Sharon said looked so awful she assumed her kids would simply want to avoid booze and drugs because of what they did to their dad. But for Jack, who at 35 has 17 years of sobriety under his belt, and 36-year-old Kelly, who got sober again after relapse in 2017, that's not how things unfolded. Jack admitted he was "drinking a lot" in his teens while struggling with depression. "I guess I didn't want to be the downside of [substance abuse]," he explained. "I wanted to be the upside of it, because the upside of it, when things were great, it seemed like a lot of fun. I wanted the excitement of crazy adventures inebriated." Added Ozzy: "It's a very selfish disease. My kids needed me. I had a row with Jack. I had to talk business. And I said 'I'll give you whatever you want.' He says, 'What about a father?' It knocked me sideways."

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The tattoo on her arm said it all: Grace Orzechowski was a fighter – Concord Monitor01.20.21

She called herself a fighter, tattooing the scripted word, in black ink, onto her inner forearm while fighting for her life.

Her family used the verb pivot again and again to describe her adaptability, explaining that Grace Orzechowski absorbed the emotional and physical pain caused by her terminal brain cancer like a champ, never losing hope no matter what all those doctors told her.

Her lacrosse coach at Concord High said Orzechowski was team captain because thats the way her teammates wanted it. Tom Arnold, the former owner of Arnies Place, called her the Captain when she worked for him because the label simply fit.

And her boyfriend Tyler Olander, whos 6-foot-10 and played college basketball with Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker at the University of Connecticut, said he was happy to follow the trail of compassion and competitiveness and charisma forged by Grace.

Right up through the day she died, on Dec. 20.

Ive been around a lot of team leaders, said Olander, who won a national championship at UConn in 2014, and all I can say to you is that she is above them all.

Olander joined a conference call with Graces family her parents, Ray Orzechowski and Anne LaForce, her sister, 26-year-old Hannah, and her brother, Sam, 20.

They wanted to remember Grace, even with the wound so fresh.

We love to talk about her. Its easy, LaForce said. Its joyful, and we were wondering how we would feel once this happened.

Even after the tragedy of a 24-year-old dying after a two-year struggle with brain cancer, unlocking old memories kept spirits up.

Once, Sam was in the unenviable position of being the little brother, a grade school kid targeted by his evil sisters, the high schoolers with strong personalities and a stronger bond who were born just 17 months apart.

The year (Hannah) moved to Boston for school, Grace and I were home and my parents thought we going to kill each other, said Sam, whos studying industrial engineering at Northeastern University. There were a couple of broken things around the house.

Soon, though, Sam got the message, joining Graces orbit later in his teens and benefiting from her integrity and thoughts and behavior.

I started molding my personality after her, Sam said. She was the best role model I ever could have asked for.

The bond between the sisters suffered no such early fraying. Grace and Hannah were one grade apart. They played jokes on friends, pretending they were twins.

And in a sense, they were.

Coming from UConn, driving home to Concord for the weekend, Grace always stopped in Boston to pick up Hannah at Northeastern.

I always wanted her to be part of my friends groups, said Hannah, who works for a software company that specializes in research and development. Shed say to me, I love that you are me, only better. It was just so special. I loved sharing her with my people.

Graces academic and sports accomplishments filled a detailed timeline, sent to me by her father Ray, a Concord dentist. Grace played lacrosse and field hockey at Concord High, captained both teams and won a state championship in lacrosse in 2012.

Add the intangibles, like mixing with and cheering for the schools junior varsity lacrosse team, and the aura of an emerging leader followed Grace everywhere.

A great role model, said Steph Johnson of Derry, Graces high school lacrosse coach. Her peers respected her. She played midfield, so her stats werent great, but she was always willing to help her teammates out and pass off so they could score instead.

The girls voted for the player they thought should be captain, Johnson continued. They wanted someone they could work with and look to as a positive role model.

She met Olander at Uconn. As her father noted on his timeline, his daughter met the love of her life.

Hes far more than a boyfriend, he said. Hes a big presence in the family. Grace got to know romantic love. As a family, you can give her love, but that allowed them to experience that other part of life. He was part of this decision-making process and he was there for all (meetings).

They met online three years ago. It didnt take long for Olander to feel Graces strong, positive vibe. She was a senior the year Olander graduated.

Great fun, Olander said. A great relationship in all aspects. You can not put Grace into words. She had her own way of doing things, and she was unapologetically herself and a kind person you wanted to follow.

After UConn, she pursued her an advanced degree in physical therapy at Franklin Pierce University. Severe headaches in the fall of 2108 led to testing and scans and mystery. And a series of pivots as well, one piece of bad news at a time.

She had to leave Franklin Pierce. She was diagnosed with a highly malignant brain tumor in Feb. of 2019. She endured extensive treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. She lost her hair, wore a wig, lost sight in one eye, wore a patch.

She still found time to return to UConn, where she danced for 18 hours in the annual HuskyThon, raising money for a childrens medical center. She had recently revealed her illness. She hoped for $5,000 and raised $36,000, a HuskyThon record.

She improved, the tumors faded. Then the tumors returned. That cycle happened again, a heartbreaking turn that had devastating effects on everyone.

And how did Grace respond to all those setbacks? She pivoted, of course. Better than anyone else did.

Still fighting cancer, amazed at the care she had received from radiation therapists at the Dana Farber cancer Institute, Grace, shockingly, went back to school, to New Hampshire Technical Institute, to study in its radiation therapy program.

Just like that. Fight cancer. Back to school. Change career paths.

When most folks get treated for this, they do not have good memories about it, said Amy VonKadich, the department chair of diagnostic medical imaging at NHTI.

You do it to get better, but undergoing something like that to get better, and then it turns into something you want to do as a career, shes the first person Ive ever seen do that, VonKadich said.

Even near the end, Grace would not yield.

Three months before she died, there she was, in the passengers seat in her mothers car, using a walker to get around campus.

Shed get to class early, LaForce said. Id walk her in. She wanted to get back just for the energy. She worried she was doing too much, but she was determined not to let things change because of the cancer.

Medical solutions and treatments only gave false hope. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive cancer that originates in the brain, an elusive enemy known for retreating initially, then bypassing medical obstacles in its relentless attack on the body.

And with hope fading essentially gone, actually guess what Grace chose to do: switch to the Keto Diet, of course. Eliminate sugar to starve the cancer. Eat red meat and bacon for protein-enriched calories. Keep punching.

So everyone pivoted.

It was another way we could feel empowered when treating her cancer, her father said. We ate red meat. Every time she ate bacon shed act like it was the first time shed ever had it. Every morning, shed say, Bacon, please.

Those words were put on a bracelet to show support. Another donation-raising bracelet read pivot. She got her Fighter tattoo while in hospice care.

And she died at home, her choice, eating bacon to the end, going to school to the end, inspiring to the end. Fading away in hospice was not an option.

She wanted to make sure shes known as the girl who went off hospice, LaForce said. She decided it was just time.

Grace died at home on Dec. 20. But not before squeezing and kissing hands. Shed whisper, Love you more, each time someone said they loved her.

Her name lives forever at NHTI, which created the Grace K. Orzechowski Memorial Scholarship.

A pair of $1,000 scholarships will be awarded, including one to Graces former classmate in NHTIs radiation program. Donations exceed $41,000.

She got bad news and she would process it and cry and say, I am done being sad, lets move on, Ray Orzechowski said. We just provided the love anyone in that position needed.

Though gone physically, shes still here, her mother said.

Her presence is everywhere right now The wind and the fog are lifting. Her young energy is so strong that I feel her.

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