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Archive for the ‘New Hampshire Tattoo’

Ant McPartlin and new wife beam on honeymoon as TV star …10.08.21

The new Mr and Mrs McPartlin look every inch the smitten couple in snaps captured of them enjoying a day on the beach during their honeymoon

Ant McPartlin and Anne-Marie Corbett appear in a state of wedded bliss in snaps captured of them on their honeymoon.

The TV favourite and his former PA are currently soaking up the sun in Portugal after tying the knot in front of their closest showbiz pals in Hampshire on August 7.

And proving that the new Mr and Mrs McPartlin couldn't be happier, photos taken of them playing on the beach show them full of glee as they lark about on the sand whilst playing with a bat and ball.

Ant can be seen showcasing his competitive side in the snaps as he hits the ball back to Anne-Marie whilst sporting a pair of turquoise swimshorts decorated with images of sharks.

Anne-Marie looked equally as involved in the playful game as she leapt about in a blue bikini teamed with a striped shirt.



She continued her chic beach look with a pair of sunglasses and styled her blonde hair in a pretty braided up-do.

Also visible in the photos is Ant's new tattoo - which appears to be a tribute to his wife - of the letter A encased inside a circle, inside a heart on his chest.

Earlier this month, Ant and Anne-Marie said 'I do' at St Michael's Church in the village of Heckfield.


Ant's famous co-presenter Declan Donnelly played the role of best man.

Anne-Marie looked stunning in her white bridal gown and she carried a bouquet of purple and white flowers.

The groom looked dapper in black tie while best man Dec wore a matching suit - they even stood in the same positions they do on TV as they posed for pictures outside.

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Guests included David Walliams, as well as former footballer Frank Lampard and his wife Christine.

Ant and Dec's longtime pal Cat Deeley, who they presented SMTV Live and CD:UK with, also turned out for her mate's big day alongside her husband Patrick Kielty.

Other guests including their longtime pal Dermot O'Leary and his partner Dee Koppang, while Alesha Dixon was there with her partner.

Ant is said to have spent a whopping 100,000 so that his 100 guests could stay with him and his new wife at the luxury hotel where the reception was held.



The TV star and his former PA embarked on a romance in 2018 following the disintegration of Ants first marriage to expert make-up designer Lisa Armstrong, 44.

Ant and Lisa had been married in 2006, but their marriage began to collapse in 2017 when Ant entered rehab after acknowledging he had put his then-wife through hell due to his drug and alcohol problems.

Meanwhile, Lisa has begun a new romance with businessman James Green who she has shared selfies with on her social media channels, describing the time she has spent with the hunk as perfect.

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Business is Buzzing at Kat’s Piercings and Tattoos in Edgecomb – The Lincoln County News10.08.21

Lincoln Countys only piercing and tattoo studio has officially hit the scene in Edgecomb.

Located at Twisted Iron Customs on Route 1, Kats Piercings and Tattoos opened on Aug. 25 after a long summer of renovations.

Kat Stewart, a body piercing practitioner since 2013, spent a year considering and preparing for the business with her long-time friend and Twisted Iron Customs owner Michael Benner.

Theres nothing in the whole Midcoast for piercing, at all, she said at her shop on Sept. 28.

Stewart currently has three full-time tattoo artists, Floyd Harper, Shane MacDougall, and Brian Frampton. While the three artists can do a wide variety of tattoos, each of them specializes in a particular style.

Harper is from New Hampshire and has 25 years of experience as a tattoo artist and particularly enjoys realistic tattoos and fine lines. Frampton has been tattooing for 24 years and specializes in New School-style tattoos, which feature bright colors and a graffiti-like quality. MacDougall has been tattooing for nearly six years and specializes in lettering and American traditional-style tattoos, which feature clean, dark lines and vivid colors with minimal shading.

Theyre all versatile; they can all do everything, Stewart said.

An accomplished and well-regarded body piercing practitioner across central and Midcoast Maine in her own right, Stewart said she can do any piercings and has performed as many as 25 to 40 piercings a day in the past.

Stewart began her career teaching cosmetology, with a focus on anatomy and physiology, at a school in Portland, and when there was demand for a female piercer at the tattoo shop where her ex-husband worked, she took up an apprenticeship as a piercing practitioner. She fell in love with the occupation, and it wasnt long before she was piercing full time.

I love the diversity One minute Ill have a nose walk through the door and the next minute Ill have a microdermal or Ill have an ear or Ill have somebody come in that has an issue with one of their piercings, Stewart said.

Although her shop only hit the scene a month ago, Stewart said she is already booking appointments out to November.

However, the road to opening the shop was not an easy one. The building her shop resides in on the Twisted Iron complex was left dormant and in a state of disrepair. The entire interior had to be gutted down to the studs.

New walls, new floors, new plumbing, new electrical. Im not joking, Stewart said.

Stewarts partner, Anthony Luce, took care of most of the renovations with her and Benner, and he serves as the shops manager.

As a result of their efforts, the new interior is unrecognizable from its past life. The shops gray walls and burnt wood trim complement the black leather tattoo and piercing chairs, speaking to Stewarts effort to create a calm, welcoming atmosphere.

I just want people to feel comfortable when they come in. I know there are some shops that are really loud and play a little more aggressive music, Stewart said.

Stewart said her working relationship with Benner, whose shop sits less than 20 feet away, has been immensely positive and symbiotic.

Hell send people over this way and Ive had people come here asking for Mike, she said.

Stewarts shop is the latest addition to the Twisted Iron family after bringing in Atomic Shakes, a seasonal milkshake business, in July. At the shop on Sept. 28, Benner said the studio has already been a huge draw for new patrons.

So far Ive heard nothing but real good things about their artwork and their piercings. Theres always someone looking for her, everybodys chasing her down, he said.

Benner said that his goal for Twisted Iron Customs is to turn it into a destination along Route 1 where visitors can stop for a bite to eat, get their cars worked on, or get a piercing or a tattoo.

Stewart has big plans for the shops future as she continues to invest in their shop, its services, and her inventory of jewelry.

She and Benner said that they will continue to work on the exterior of the shop, as they plan to add a deck on the outside for additional waiting space. She is also planning to hold an official grand opening event in October.

Kats Piercings and Tattoos is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and offers both walk-in services and appointments.

For more information about the shop and the artists portfolios, visit Kats Piercings & Tattoos on Facebook.

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New Hampshire Man Wanted On Violations Of Court Order …09.04.21

CONCORD, NH The U.S. Marshals-New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force is searching for a man who is wanted on court order violations.

Padraic Ryan Bean is 47, about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighs 215 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. Jeffrey White, a deputy marshal, said Bean also has a tattoo on his left shoulder and a number of prior arrests. An arrest warrant was issued by Webster police on Jan. 22 for three violations of domestic violence orders.

"Bean has a criminal history that includes arrests for stalking, assault, narcotics, manslaughter (x3), and resisting arrest," White said. "Bean has known ties to the Conway and Webster areas, where he has family, friends, and associates."

If you know where Bean is or see someone who looks like him, do not try to apprehend him. Contact police or the task force at 603-225-1632.

Editor's note: This post was derived from information supplied by the U.S. Marshals Service and does not indicate a conviction. This link explains the removal request process for New Hampshire Patch police reports.

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New Hampshire Chronicle: With Prouty event, participants go the distance to end cancer – WMUR Manchester07.25.21

New Hampshire Chronicle: With Prouty event, participants go the distance to end cancer

Forty years of cycling, walking, and fighting back, all about the Prouty

Updated: 8:00 PM EDT Jul 22, 2021

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New Hampshire Chronicle: With Prouty event, participants go the distance to end cancer

Forty years of cycling, walking, and fighting back, all about the Prouty

Updated: 8:00 PM EDT Jul 22, 2021

Tonight, for forty years folks at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have been on the move in order to fight cancer. It's all part of The Prouty, a family fundraising event that combines cycling, walking, and more to raise money to support the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Plus, a group of local artists whose work is sometimes kept covered up and rarely seen. We are talking about tattoo artists and their beautiful art can also be used to save your life in an emergency. On Fritz Wetherbee's New Hampshire: Balthazar's Ice Shack.For more information on tonight's stories:The ProutyCreative Ink Tattoo StudioKeene,NHNew Inkland Tattoo CompanyManchester, NHHosting this week from:Lost River Gorge & Boulder CavesNorth Woodstock, NH

Tonight, for forty years folks at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have been on the move in order to fight cancer. It's all part of The Prouty, a family fundraising event that combines cycling, walking, and more to raise money to support the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

Plus, a group of local artists whose work is sometimes kept covered up and rarely seen. We are talking about tattoo artists and their beautiful art can also be used to save your life in an emergency.

On Fritz Wetherbee's New Hampshire: Balthazar's Ice Shack.

For more information on tonight's stories:

The Prouty

Creative Ink Tattoo Studio


New Inkland Tattoo Company

Manchester, NH

Hosting this week from:

Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves

North Woodstock, NH

Visit link:

New Hampshire Chronicle: With Prouty event, participants go the distance to end cancer - WMUR Manchester

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From an epic riverside nature walk to Netflix’s tattoo-fixing reality show with a twist… the top TV shows to watch this week – Independent.ie07.25.21

There was lots of talk during the first lockdown about how people were finding solace by reconnecting with nature, but naturalist, activist and broadcaster Chris Packham has always been connected. Though his outspoken views have sometimes landed him in trouble, Packhams passion for conservation and the environment is beyond question, and hes used his public platform to campaign against everything from fox- and badger-hunting to the loss of natural habitats, and to promote veganism.

n this documentary, Chris pays homage to the Hampshire countryside hes loved since childhood and which, he says, shaped and saved his life. He has talked before about feeling excluded and bullied at school, but nature rode to the rescue, and Chris now dons the walking boots to retread precious steps. As he wanders along the River Itchen, he talks about the importance of natural surroundings to our mental health and well-being, and recalls travelling this stretch of riverbank with his father, and playing in the fields around with his beloved kestrel.

Using a hand-held 360-degree camera, he heads north from Southampton towards Winchester, and as he follows one of the oldest waterways in England, he meets those who live, work and play in the area. He talks to wild swimmers, and observes farmers maintaining centuries-old practices by flooding a local meadow. Pick of the week: The Walk That Made Me, Wednesday, BBC2, 8pm

Mary Queen of ScotsSunday, RT One, 9.30pm

Coolly reviewed on its release a few years back, Josie Rourkes handsome drama gives three dimensions to a character whos often considered an aside in British history. Saoirse Ronan is Mary Stuart, a pale and slender young woman who returns to Scotland in 1561, having spent most of her life at the French court. Determined to unite her country, she raises the hackles of John Knox (David Tennant), the tub-thumping zealot whos incensed by the young queens Catholicism. And meanwhile, way down south, Queen Elizabeths adviser William Cecil (Guy Pearce) has become convinced that the menace of Mary must be contained. Margot Robbie co-stars.

SATURDAYGAA BeoTG4, 2.30pmMchel Domhnaill and guests introduce live coverage of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 relegation play-off between Westmeath and Laois, which throws in at 2.45pm.

FilmJulie & JuliaTG4, 9.20pmComedy starring Amy Adams as a young New Yorker who sets out to cook all 365 recipes in legendary chef Julia Childs classic French cookbook in a year. With Meryl Streep.

The Heart of Saturday NightRT One, 9.35pmIn this new summer series, Una Healy and Loah present musical performances by Gavin James, Kodaline, Joseph OConnor, Lyra, and Loah herself. And tonight therell be a special tribute to Phil Lynott.

SUNDAYThe Sunday Game LiveRT1, 1pmJoanne Cantwell presents coverage of the Connacht Senior Football Championship between Galway and Mayo at Croke Park, which throws in at 1.30pm. Cora Staunton, Ciarn Whelan and Toms S analyse the action.

FilmSkyscraperFilm4, 9pmAmusing disaster movie starring Dwayne Johnson as a security expert at a Hong Kong skyscraper who finds himself framed for sabotage when the building bursts into flames. With Neve Campbell.

BaptisteBBC1, 9pmJulien and Zsofia are getting nowhere with the case, the interview with the tattooed man does not go well, and things get worse when the Budapest police receive a hostage video. With Tchky Karyo, Fiona Shaw.

MONDAYTokyo 2020RT2, 7pmDarragh Maloney looks back on day three at the Olympics, with 21 gold medals up for grabs, including the mens 100m breaststroke, the mens triathlon, gymnastics, skateboarding and taekwondo.

FilmRampartTG4, 9.30pmThriller starring Woody Harrelson as a bigoted, old-school cop who must face the consequences of past offences when hes caught on camera beating a suspect. With Ben Foster, Cynthia Nixon, Anne Heche.

Taken: Hunting the Sex TraffickersChannel 4, 10pmPolice investigating brothels in which women are being abused and exploited decide to set a trap to catch the man behind the trafficking scheme in the act. But doing so wont be easy.

TUESDAYThe Galway RacesRT2, 5pmJane Mangan, Emmet McNamara and Andrew McNamara join Ruby Walsh for coverage of day two at the Galway Races, with trackside reports from Katie Walsh and Brian Gleeson.

FilmA Farewell to ArmsBBC4, 10.40pmClassic melodrama based on Ernest Hemingways novel and starring Gary Cooper as an American army lieutenant serving in the Great War who falls in love with a passing British nurse.

24 Hours in A&EChannel 4, 9pmWhen a man is rushed to emergency after crashing his car and flipping it on to its roof, his husband explains how they met, and how friends and family members found it difficult to accept their marriage.

WEDNESDAYGeorge Clarkes Remarkable RenovationsChannel 4, 8pmGeorge meets a couple who fell in love with a derelict 19th-century coach house in Staffordshire and sold their home to buy it. But while renovating it, theyll have to live in a caravan.

FilmMaster and CommanderTCM, 6.20pmPeter Weirs seafaring saga stars Russell Crowe as the wily captain of a British warship who plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a French vessel during the Napoleonic Wars. With Paul Bettany.

Deutschland 89RT2, 10.45pmWhile Martin gets mixed up with a group of suspected terrorists, Schweppenstette settles into married life with Beate and impresses his new managers with his in-depth knowledge of East Germany.

THURSDAYTokyo 2020RT2, 7pmOn day six in Tokyo, Irelands Paul ODonovan and Fintan McCarthy were hoping to be in the medals in the lightweight doubles sculls rowing final.

FilmBlack SwanSky Movies Drama, 7.30pmDark thriller starring Natalie Portman as a driven young ballet dancer whose obsession with perfection will drive her to the brink of madness.

Can I Improve My Memory?Channel 4, 8pmThe four semi-finalists face daunting challenges, including memorising 1960s number-ones, Olympic gold-medal winners and American presidents.

FRIDAYEastEndersBBC1, 9.05pmKate has found out about Billys homelessness, and Tiffany is stressed out about her graduation party but Whitneys attempts to help only make things worse.

FilmIntolerable CrueltyTG4, 11.55pmCoen Brothers screwball comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as a serial gold digger who plots her revenge on the slick lawyer who foiled her attempt to swindle a super-rich husband. With George Clooney.

The Lateish ShowChannel 4, 10pmMo Gilligan welcomes more guests for silly games and chat, with tonights line-up including rapper and YouTuber KSI.

Tattoo RedoNetflix, Wednesday

Just Tattoo of Us... How Far Is Tattoo Far?... Bad Ink... Just some of the body-art TV shows currently in existence, and thus indicative of the sheer proliferation of poor judgement out there. With a seemingly limitless wealth of bad decision-making to be mined, the humble Tattoo Fixers format was destined to be reborn on Netflix, with the obligatory twist. While host Jessimae Peluso teases the clients over their life choices, what they dont know is that the person who nominated them for a tattoo do-over also gets the final say on the design. Will the client love it, or hate it, and by extension the loved one who chose it? Indeed, the last three weeks have been filled with outrageously facile streaming recommendations on my part; it is summer, after all, and our brains deserve a break after the last year. Back to the serious stuff next week. Or the next.

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)Netflix, TuesdaySeason three of the Mark Zuckerberg-esque clone sets up an online drug empire series blasts on to Netflix this week, giving you mere days to catch up on the prior two seasons. This time, Moritz finds himself totally alone and desperately trying to hold on to power as CEO of MyDrugs. But when Lennys condition suddenly worsens and he needs Moritzs help, the two best friends (and Dan, for some reason) come back together for the fabled one last job with explosive consequences.

Marvel Studios: AssembledDisney+, streaming nowGiven Marvel is yet another tentacle of the ever-expanding Disney empire, there is the now-mandatory how it was made immersive documentary series examining the creation of the Studios thrilling new shows and theatrical releases. This glorified behind-the-scenes content trailer kicks off with The Making of Loki.

Transformers: War for Cybertron KingdomNetflix, ThursdayLast week, it was the Masters of the Universe reboot; now its the turn of Transformers to be reborn without the aid of Michael Bay. This trip back to your childhood you didnt ask for centres on the Autobots and Decepticons. The former must team up with the Maximals to confront the latter, who have joined forces with the Predacons, in the race to find the missing AllSpark. However, the Predacons are in control of the Golden Disk, a mysterious artifact that has a personal connection to Megatron and gives him an untold advantage over Optimus Prime!

Myth & Mogul: John DeLoreanNetflix, FridayCombining exclusive access and interviews with never-before-seen footage shot by Oscar-winning director DA Pennebaker (Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back), this three-part documentary series explores the rise and fall of automotive icon John DeLorean, the poster boy for late 70s corporate greed. He epitomised these hubristic times with his grandiose vision of the car of the future, and the series will show how John DeLorean came to captivate the world.

Shadow in the CloudAmazon Prime, FridayIn the throes of World War II, female pilot Captain Maude Garrett (Chlo Grace Moretz) joins the all-male crew of a B-17 bomber with a top-secret package. Caught off guard by the presence of a woman on a military flight, the crew tests Maudes every move. Just as her quick wit is winning them over, strange holes in her backstory incite paranoia as to her true mission. But this crew has more going on... something sinister is tearing at the belly of the plane. Trapped between an oncoming air ambush and an evil lurking within, Maude must push beyond her limits to save the hapless crew and protect her mysterious cargo. Amazon Prime has tapped into a need for high-octane action movies with little dialogue and a typically convoluted narrative.

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The Flavors of Our Neighbors: At Lalo’s In Lebanon, the taco Is king – eagletimes.com07.09.21

Eddie Morns loved tacos for as long as he can remember.

Theyre simple, easy and fast, Morn says. His love for them runs deep. He even has a taco tattoo on his left wrist. At his restaurant, Lalos Taqueria in Lebanon, he makes food thats pretty (and Instagrammable), keeps it locally-sourced and affordable.

At lunch time, pop music plays as customers check out the whiteboard menu (there arent individual menus at Lalos). There are three main food options, in addition to a few smattering of sides: tostadas, quesadillas, and the star of the show: tacos.

But its impossible to miss the corn and roosters in a mural on the restaurants wall. Morn wanted to make a point with it.

The food hes serving at his restaurant, he says, doesnt fall into a traditional Mexican category.

I wanted to...start my own thing, like, not fully call it Mexican, Morn says. Its just kind of Upper Valley food, with the Mexican.

One quote from the Netflix show Ugly Delicious, is one of Morns guiding principles for the experiences he wants customers to have: a taco has to have the most flavor per square per bite.

It should be two or three bites of just an explosion of flavor, Morn says.

Morn and his team make everything from scratch nearly every day, including about 300 corn tortillas, meats, beans and salsas.

He uses tomatillos, onion and chiles to make green salsa. Add some lime and salt, blend and its ready.

Include picture of that here

That salsa lends a layer of visual appeal and flavor to one of Lalos customers favorite tacos: the street taco.

Its got cilantro, onion, salsa, Morn says. Customers have their pick of meat, or beans, if they want to make it vegetarian.

The tostada is his favorite dish to make because he uses his own tortillas to make the crunchy shell.

It looks beautiful.

At 34 years old, Morn is living out the dream he had as a high schooler, one that was shaped by spending a lot of time in kitchens as he grew up. During his childhood in the state of Washington, hed spend time with his mom at the restaurants she worked at.

I didnt like school, so I saw her working and I liked going to work with her, he said. Since I was 9, Ive been cooking with someone,including his aunts, and grandparents, Mama Olga and Pap Lalo, the namesake of Morns restaurant.

I liked the process of making tamales, Morn remembers. My grandma would make the meat, and the dough. My aunts would put that on the corn husks, and wed add the meat.

Those experiences would form the basis of his palate and culinary skills, which he continued to work on when he and his family moved from Washington to New Hampshire.

In 2005, Morns mom and stepdad opened Gusanoz, a Mexican restaurant, in Lebanon. He worked there for 13 years. But much of the recipes there were set and Morn wanted a chance to experiment with his own style.

So, he opened his own food truck, Tacos Tacos, in 2017.

My mom taught me the basic recipes, and I made them mine, he says. I changed up the salt and garlic I dont like garlic. All the poblanos and chiles that I use are things she doesnt use.

His parents support has been an important part of his journey. They helped him out and offered advice when he transitioned from a food truck to a brick and mortar restaurant after buying the Lebanon Diner location right off the city green last year.

The pandemic posed its challenges for Moran. But he says since he already built a following from his food truck, and Lalos quick turnaround for orders lends it the style of a takeout restaurant, , he was able to weather the pandemic.

Morn says the region is already changing. More people are moving in from across the country, and bringing their tastes with them.

I think its creating a market, and people are asking for these things, for lengua, and for stuff I would have to sell for a dollar on the [food truck] for people to at least try it, he says.

Lengua, or cow tongue, is a popular meat to use in tacos. Morn also gets requests for barbacoa, a slow cooked style of meat.

The Upper Valley is growing, and its really cool, he says, citing other small businesses right off the Lebanon green, like Luckys, a coffee shop, and Scratch, a yarn shop.

Moran says he hopes that his tacos feel connected, either to a memory or to this new place theyre calling home.

Food should make you want to dance, or be just happy or bring memories to certain places, he says. I think its just them realizing that, and just the idea of what a taco can do.

The Granite State News Collaborative is highlighting Latino restaurant owners who have found ways to innovate and adapt during the pandemic, and whose restaurants provide a sense of home for people, through food and connections with the folks who run it.

This project was developed through a collaboration between leaders of Latino communities in New Hampshire and media partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. The stories, audio and video for this project were reported and produced by Daniela Allee of NHPR; and, Jasmine Torres Allen, Oscar Villacas, Kevin Genao and Esmeldy Angeles of First Gen Multimedia.

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Pregnant Kaitlynn Carter Shows Bare Baby Bump for 1st Time in Bikini – Us Weekly06.29.21

Bikini bump! Nearly two weeks after announcing her pregnancy, Kaitlynn Carter showed her bare baby bump for the first time.

My oldest tattoo finally made it into a photo, the Hills: New Beginnings star, 32, captioned a Sunday, June 27, Instagram slideshow in a blue bathing suit.

The MTV personalitys ex-husband Brody Jenners mom, Linda Thompson, commented on the social media upload: You look exquisitely beautiful! Brandon Jenners ex-wife, Leah Felder, added a few heart emojis.

Carter announced on June 17 that she is expecting her first child with boyfriend Kristopher Brock, his second. The reality star posted an Instagram photo of their shadows, giving a glimpse of her budding belly.

We cant wait for Wyatt to have a new friend! Carters costar Ashley Slack wrote at the time. Love you guys so happy for you.

On Thursday, June 24, the expectant star opened up about her lucky pregnancy. When I began dating again, I knew it was really important to me to find somebody that had the same goals and wanted the same things in life that I did, Carter said during a HillsCast podcast episode. We got to the conversation about having kids and where we stood about all of that really quickly.

The couple were definitely on the same page and decided to go for it, but the New Hampshire native noted that she is still adjusting to the idea of becoming a mom.

Its something that I wanted for so long, the University of New Hampshire grad said on Thursday. When I found out I actually was pregnant, I was really surprised in a good way of course. But it took me a while to really absorb it. Im just really excited now.

Carter began dating Brock in May 2020. She was previously in a relationship with Miley Cyrus from August 2019 to September 2019, following her and Brodys divorce.

The mom-to-be gushed about her short-lived relationship with Cyrus, 28, in November 2019, writing in an Elle essay: Ill remain eternally grateful to my most recent relationship for opening my eyes to this unexplored part of myself, and for inspiring a new level of self-discovery and wonder at all the possibilities of life. Ive been forced to get to know myself in a far deeper way than ever before, and not just in terms of my sexual preferences. Ive also been forced to reckon with who I am as a person.

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Pregnant Kaitlynn Carter Shows Bare Baby Bump for 1st Time in Bikini - Us Weekly

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I hate grass: Confessions, quirks, and authenticity from Hoi Ning Ngais Baccalaureate Address – Bates News05.31.21

One of the things that I say to every Bates student I meet is that, whatever it takes, know yourself and know yourself well.

Engage in the critical self-reflection thats necessary to really know who you are, who youve been, and who you want to be. So often we go through the motions of life not thinking about what exactly were doing and why exactly were doing it. And then we wonder why we feel unfulfilled.

Life is hard enough why live it with less intention, meaning, and purpose than we have to? It can be difficult to look inward and think deeply about our whys. Sometimes its because weve never done it so we dont know how, sometimes its because were worried about what well find or not find. And yet, its through knowing the whys that we find clarity, direction, and focus.

Baccalaureate AddressHoi Ning Ngai of the Bates Center for Purposeful Work delivered this address during the virtual Baccalaureate Service on May 23, 2021. An associate director of employer engagement and business advising with Purposeful Work, Ngai also serves as an interim associate dean of intercultural education. The Baccalaureate speaker is chosen by the senior class.

As you reflect on your own lives and next steps, and because you dont all know me yet, I thought Id share a few thoughts and confessions that you may find helpful or at the very least sufficiently amusing. I hope youll get a sense of my whys as well as who I am, who Ive been, and who I want to be.

You may (and probably should) ask for advice and guidance from others, but you should always be the final arbiter of your own destiny.

To start, Ill confess that Ive always wanted a tattoo. Of course, my pain threshold is pretty much non-existent, so it still hasnt happened yet. But Im only 42, so theres still plenty of time, right? Specifically, Ive always wanted a tattoo of a compass, on the back of my neck, with the needle pointing upward. Its because I know that I am my own true north and you are yours.

You may (and probably should) ask for advice and guidance from others, but you should always be the final arbiter of your own destiny. As soon as you relinquish your decision-making power, you take a back seat to what could be an amazing journey of your own design. Even if you run into challenges along the way, dont let anyone else take the steering wheel. All of the bumps and detours they will test you. How you respond to them and what choices you make ultimately contribute to a narrative, a story, a life thats truly yours.

If I listened to everyones You must do this or You cant do that Im not sure Id feel quite as empowered as I do at this point in my life.

Ill confess that I dont know how to drive, so I really should avoid all car and road references since I honestly have no idea what Im talking about. I used to have the line: Im so excited to learn how to drive in Maine in my bio. Six months ago, I specifically asked my colleague Sheila to remove that line. At some point during the pandemic, I decided that I simply dont care enough. Im a free and independent spirit a Sagittarius born in the year of the horse so not knowing how to drive has definitely limited how far Ive been able to go.

However, Ive been able to see more of the world without a license than most would ever think possible. More importantly, I have other things that Id rather do with my time. As this crazy and intense year has shown us, you never know what life will bring, so you need to figure out what your priorities are, separate from what everyone else has to say. If I listened to everyones You must do this or You cant do that Im not sure Id feel quite as empowered as I do at this point in my life. For now, my priorities are: finding community, building relationships, and making friends. And yknow what? They all have cars!

Ill confess that Ive always been afraid of public speaking. I literally cried when I had to memorize two lines for my fifth-grade play a play that neither I nor my classmates nor our parents remember the title of three decades later. In school, I hated getting randomly called on in class. At work, I hated making presentations, especially to strangers. I either talked way too fast, jumbled my words, or sounded like a robot. Or some combination of all three.

Unlike driving, though, public speaking is something Ive always wanted to get better at. I mean, it literally shows up in every aspect of my personal and professional life. And if Im being completely honest, I know that 1) I have a dramatic streak and 2) Im a bit of a ham.

When something matters enough, youll do what you need to. And even if its not always the best show, try to make it your best effort.

So I took a deep breath and then a deep dive straight into the fear. While I was in grad school, I became a fitness instructor, because what could be more terrifying than having 30 people staring at you, in a wall of mirrors, for 60 minutes? On one occasion, I completely crashed and burned on a routine. No one knew what was going on including me. It was an epic fail, but no one got injured (thankfully) and the entire class was really supportive. And despite the embarrassment, even I couldnt help laughing about it.

When I worked at Penn, I signed up for Acting 101. We could take one class for free every semester and this was the motivation I needed. I still remember the shock and thrill of being able to memorize 10 whole minutes of dialogue with my scene partner Adriana, a junior who was incredibly patient whenever she sensed my anxiety level rising. I cant say public speaking has gotten that much easier over time, but Ill own all of the progress Ive made since that fifth-grade play. When something matters enough, youll do what you need to. And even if its not always the best show, try to make it your best effort.

Ill confess that I hate grass. Especially live grass. With bugs. I grew up in the urban jungle of New York City, where I spent more time on concrete pavement than dirt roads. My family was poor, so I never had the chance to go to sleepaway camp or get exposed to nature in a way that was deeply impactful. So it meant a lot to be able to go away to Dartmouth for college. I couldnt wait to escape the noise and pollution of the big city for the fresh air and mountains of New Hampshire. I also love snow, so I was always so excited for the first snowfall of the year. Of course, when the snow melts and spring arrives, the grass comes out.

You may have people who dismiss you for your quirks and idiosyncrasies, but the ones who love you are the ones wholl allow you to be who you are and make space for your strange and special qualities.

So when I say I hate grass, I really mean it. I hate walking in it. I hate sitting in it. I dont even like the smell of it. One spring, my best friend, Derek, really wanted me to watch him play ultimate frisbee on the green. Of course, I immediately said no. And he knew exactly why. Its not like hed never teased me about it, but he certainly never made me feel bad about it either.

So what did he do? He found the biggest blanket he could find. In my fuzzy memory, it seemed as big as a 10-foot square. He laid it out on the grass and had me sit right in the middle of it. Just me in a sea of blanket. You may have people who dismiss you for your quirks and idiosyncrasies, but the ones who love you are the ones wholl allow you to be who you are and make space for your strange and special qualities. No strings attached.

Ill confess that I love shooting. Ever since I met my first-year hallmate Doug, who shot and hunted regularly with his family in Montana, Id really wanted to try it. Of course, its not something everyone wants to do and back then I wasnt sure about doing it on my own I mean, its not really a city girl hobby. So when I visited my friend Victor from grad school at home in Texas, he made sure the local shooting range was on my itinerary.

Like Doug, hed also grown up shooting, so he was comfortable showing me the ropes. Despite being petite and lightweight myself, to everyones surprise, I preferred shooting the .45 a higher-caliber gun where I could feel the weight and recoil more intensely. I also hit the bullseye multiple times from 100 yards away.

For a long time, I used to ascribe that to beginners luck, but after shooting more regularly, I realized that Im pretty good. Its because Im careful, and focused, and committed. Over the last six years, Ive taken group classes, gotten private lessons, and worked on my accuracy and precision. During the pandemic, I even got the chance to shoot a rifle, which had been on my to-do list for some time.

For me, being able to shoot isnt about causing harm or inflicting pain. It is however about flipping the script on who I can be and what I can do.

Lets be clear. As a 5-foot-2-inch Asian woman, I navigate a multitude a multitude of gender and racial stereotypes every single day ones that constantly frame me as quiet, passive, and weak. And whether the world admits it or not, these stereotypes exist, and they persist, and they continue to impact how others experience me and how I experience them. And because I dont subscribe to all of the assumptions, presumptions, and norms applied to me, I simply want everyone to know that Im a boss. For me, being able to shoot isnt about causing harm or inflicting pain. It is however about flipping the script on who I can be and what I can do. Whenever I have the chance, I make it a point to challenge the expectations of the world. I strive to be and do more because I know that I can.

Ill confess that Im terrible at poker and anything that requires deception. I wear all of my emotions on my face from delight to disdain, from glee to gloom. I cant bluff, I cant lie, and if you deserve it, I definitely wont hesitate to give you side-eye. Whether Im extremely excited or deeply disappointed, I dont want to hide it. At the end of the day, authenticity is my deepest of values, and all I ever want is to be wholly me. I want to say what Im thinking and what Im feeling. I dont ever want people to wonder whats on my mind.

You have to accept your voice for what it is and what it can do. Embrace it, own it, and use it hopefully to make the world a better place.

Of course, that hasnt always won me favors, or friends, or followers. Not everyone wants to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth, especially when its criticism. You can always work on your diction and framing, your timing and tone. At some point though, you have to be comfortable with your voice and saying what you need to say. You may not always get the response you want and you have to figure out how to navigate that possibility, but you have to accept your voice for what it is and what it can do. Embrace it, own it, and use it hopefully to make the world a better place.

I hope these confessions have helped you get to know me a little bit better and what I care about. I share them with you earnestly because I want you to be comfortable embracing all of the ways that youve grown, all of the ways that youre still growing, all of your strange and special qualities, and all of the people who love you for them.

As I like to say, theres nothing between the lines what you see is what you get. But if a summary would be helpful, heres what I hope you heard:

Im so excited for what the future will bring you as you find your meaning, your purpose, and your pathway. I hope that youll keep us updated as you imprint yourselves on the minds and hearts of those who have the honor of meeting and knowing you.

Cheers to your success in the world!

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How Instagram helped FBI bust smash-and-grab diamond thieves in Detroit – Detroit Free Press05.06.21

Their modus operandi was smash and grab an organizedcrew of diamond bandits who terrorized jewelersacross the country, the FBI says.

Theypulled off more than 30 heists in 11states, records show, though the FBI eventually caught up with the main culprits all from Detroit with some help from social media.

The feds found an Instagram account with a peculiar handle,"doitfor_diamond," which onesuspectsays wasnamed after his deceased sister Diamond. But the feds say multiple smash-and-grab members also used thisInstagram account andit helped them connect the dots.

In a criminal complaintfiled in U.S. District Court this week, the FBI detailed how a local group coordinated a string of robberies that targeted Jared jewelry stores in Michigan, Tennessee,Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and New Hampshire.

According to the FBI, the robbers used sledgehammersto bust theglass display cases,then made off with diamonds and other jewelry by the bag-load.Typically, the FBI says,two groups would drive to the robbery location from Detroit in two separate vehicles:one in a clean carthat was either properly registered or lawfully rented, and one in a burner," or stolen, vehicle that could be immediately ditched after the robberies.

After abandoningthe stolen car,the crewwould travel back to Detroit in the clean vehicle.

It was a lucrative scheme, records show.The feds seized more than $1.5 million in diamonds during their investigation, though the probe is ongoing.

To date, 10 Detroitmen have been charged in the scheme, including three new suspects: Antonio Jones, Deshawn Bates and Chance Reed.

More:Feds: Oak Park fugitive busted on Instagram his necklace gave him away

More:'See you at church with my AK' Facebook hate speech heightens voter intimidation fears

In an affidavit filed in federal court, an FBI agent explained what led the agency to these Detroit suspects. According to the filing:

On June 18, 2019,three Detroit men were arrested while attempting a smash and grab robbery at a Jared's Jewelry store in Collierville, Tenn. A local detectivehad noticed suspicious activity at the shop and arrested the three suspects while the robbery was in process.

According to court records, the detective had seena car backing in and out of parking spots at a lot adjacent to the jewelry store, gotsuspicious and continued to watch the vehicle.

As a mall security vehicle drove by, the detective noticed the same carmove to another spot, and eventually pull into the parking lot of Jareds. It then backed into a spot outside the front door of the jewelry store.

A man got out and sprinted into Jared's while a driver stayed inside. The license plate was covered by a gray shirt.

The detective called for backup.

When officers arrived, the driver waiting in front of the store was arrested.

Meanwhile, inside the jewelry store, a caper was underway. Employees were on the ground as two suspects ran out another door.

But extra police officers lay in waiting and arrested them.

The suspects were later identified as Deshawn Bates and Antonio Jones,both of Detroit, whoallegedly terrorized those inside the store.

According to the police report, witnesses insidethe store said that Bates and Jones had demanded everyone get to the back of the store and onto the floor. They then stoletwo iPhones from two employees and ordered them to open thedisplay cases containing loose diamonds and rings.

The suspects yelled two minutes and hurry as they removed diamonds from the display cases and stuffed them into bags, court records show. And when they observed the cops outside, the suspects forced a store employee to open a side emergency door so they could escape.

Their plan was foiled as police were waiting outside and arrested them and they had ditched their bags of jewels. Police found one bag of diamonds behind the counter. The gems were worth about $181,400.

A second bag filled with $131,600 worth of diamonds was located behind an adjacent building, near where Bates and Jones had fled. Near the diamonds were a set of gloves that police said matched the gloves observed on the suspects during the robbery.

Following their arrests, each suspect was read his Miranda rights andreportedlyprovided a statement to police where they allegedly confessed to driving to Tennessee from Detroit to steal diamonds and sell them for money, according to the FBI affidavit.

Specifically, according to records, Reed advised the police that he would sell the diamonds when he returned to Detroit.

Jones, Bates and Reed are currently jailed pending trial on state charges in Tennessee. They also now face federal conspiracy charges in Michigan, where seven of their alleged accomplices have already been indicted for their alleged roles in the smash-and-grab operation. Out of the 10 suspects charged so far, one pleaded guilty to his role in November and was sentenced to just over five years in prison. Another defendant,Tristan Murphy, is scheduled to plead guilty to his role in the scheme on Thursday before U.S. District JudgeMark A. Goldsmith.

The FBI has been investigating this string of jewelry store robberies for nearly three years, relying on local law enforcement, confidential witnesses and social media photos and comments to connect the dots. For example, following the June 2019 arrests of four smash-and-grab suspects in Florida, another suspect took to the "doitfor_diamond" Instagram account and postedan image that referenced "losing soldiers." It read:

"We been taking so many losses with our brothers. Not even the money. We just losin soldiers. But y'all can't count us out."

The profile picture on that Instagram account is of defendant Kai Rivers, whose lawyers are trying to keep the jury from seeing the "doitfor_diamond" handle on the Instagram account, and the photo of their client's diamond tattoo. They want that evidence thrown out at trial, arguing it will create unfair prejudice against their client, who created his Instagram handle to honor his deceased sister.

"There is a real risk that jurors will assume that Rivers picked this tattoo and Instagram handle because he is so obsessed with diamonds," defense lawyers argue in court documents. "This is a stranger-than-fiction scenario. The government does not dispute that Rivers had a sister named Diamond and that the Instagram name and tattoo relate to her."

The government, however, is fighting to keep the Instagram handle and tattoo in trial, arguing both help show that the account in fact was used by Rivers, may have been used as a business account by other smash-and-grab members, and that he was connected to other suspects. Prosecutors may also usethe Instagram account to show that the location of Rivers coincides with the locations of the smash-and-grab robberies.

In court documents, the FBI has alleged that Rivers used Instagram to vent about his accomplices' arrests.

"The screenshot seems to reference the recent arrests by indicating the group is 'losing soldiers,'" an FBI agent wrote in court documents.

Five defendants are scheduled to go to trial in June, including thealleged mastermind, Darrell Reed, who is accused of coordinating the robberies andordering his accomplices to return the diamonds to him in Detroit, where they would be sold on the black market.

According to court documents, Darrell Reed was already facing drug charges in a separate case before the feds caught up to him for his alleged jewelry theft operation. Court records show that Reed was facing conspiracyto possess with intent to distribute methamphetaminewhen he started coordinating smash-and-grabs.

On Dec. 14, 2017, Darrell Reedwas released on the condition that he doesn't break any laws.

Nineteen months later, he was charged with robbery conspiracy.

Contact: Tresa

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Dave Barry: Review of year we’d like to forget – telegraphherald.com01.05.21

Were trying to think of something nice to say about 2020.

OK, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know.

In the past, writing these annual reviews, we have said harsh things about previous years. We owe those years an apology. Compared to 2020, all previous years, even the Disco Era, were the golden age of human existence.

This was a year of nonstop awfulness, a year when we kept saying it couldnt possibly get worse, and it always did. This was a year in which our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.

Which is fitting, because 2020 was one long, howling, Category Five crapstorm.

We sincerely dont want to relive this year. But our job is to review it. If you would prefer to skip this exercise in masochism, we completely understand.

If, however, you wish, for some sick reason, to re-experience 2020, now is the time to put on your face mask, douse your entire body with hand sanitizer and then to be safe don a hazmat suit, as we look back at the unrelenting insanity of this hideous year, starting with


which begins with all of Washington, as well as parts of Virginia and Maryland, gripped by the gripping historic drama of the impeachment of Donald Trump. Remember that? How gripped we were?

To set the stage: Back in mid-December, the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment, after which Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, handed out souvenir signing pens. Everyone expected that Pelosi would then send the articles to the Senate.

But as of early January the Senate has not received them. People are wondering if Pelosi, what with her various official duties and hairdresser appointments, simply forgot to send the articles. Or maybe she tried to send them, but because of a bureaucratic snafu they wound up at a different federal entity, such as the Coast Guard.

Eventually, however, the articles arrive at the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch The Undertaker McConnell promises that the impeachment issue will receive full and fair consideration.

He is of course joking, but this is not obvious, because even when Mitch is in a jovial mood he looks like a man passing a kidney stone the size of the Hope Diamond.

Meanwhile in other political news, all eyes are on Iowa as it prepares for the caucuses, which are closely scrutinized because they are the first opportunity for a tiny group of unrepresentative voters to engage in an incomprehensible and deeply flawed process by which they anoint presidential candidates who traditionally go on to fail.

This year, in an effort to modernize the caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party has upgraded from its old-fashioned manual reporting procedures to a modern, state-of-the-art app based on the same software used in the Boeing 737 MAX airliner.

In international news, the big story is a U.S. targeted drone strike, ordered by Trump, which kills Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, thereby triggering World War III and forcing the U.S. to reinstate the military draft, at least on Twitter. Iran responds this is a good indicator of what kind of year it will be by shooting down a Ukrainian airliner.

Elsewhere abroad, Chinese news media report that a man in a city named Wuhan died of a mysterious new virus. This is not considered a big deal in the U.S., since it has nothing to do with either impeachment or the Iowa caucuses.

A much bigger international story concerns Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who announce via Instagram that they are sick and tired of being part of the British royal family and want to just be regular normal everyday hardworking folks making millions of dollars solely because one of them was born into, and the other one married into, the British royal family.

This plunges Great Britain into a crisis the likes of which it has not been plunged into since Brexit. The crisis finally ends when, after a royal summit meeting with Queen Elizabeth II described by participants as frank and heartfelt, Harry and Meghan are beheaded.

In sports, Major League Baseball is rocked by scandal with the release of a report concluding that the Houston Astros engaged in an elaborate multi-year cheating scheme, which critics charge enabled the team to win the 2017 World Series as well as six congressional seats in the 2018 midterm elections.

By way of punishment, the league sending a clear message to future would-be cheaters rules that all players involved in the scheme will continue to play baseball in exchange for enormous amounts of money.

Speaking of scandal, in


Washington and its immediate suburbs remain gripped by the U.S. Senates historic impeachment trial of President Trump, with Democratic prosecutors arguing that Trump illegally pressured Ukrainian leaders to benefit himself politically, while the Republican defense team, employing an alibi strategy, claims that Trump was playing golf at the time.

Under the watchful eye of Chief Justice John Roberts, who is kept from nodding off by a law clerk armed with a pellet gun, everyone, in accordance with Senate rules, repeats everything 127 times, after which the Republican majority, to the surprise of anyone who has the IQ of sponge cake, acquits the Republican president. Washington and its suburbs immediately start looking around for a new historic thing to be gripped by.

In the midst of the impeachment drama, Trump delivers the State of the Union address, an awkward affair that begins with Speaker Pelosi refusing to use the traditional high privilege and distinct honor introduction; then Trump refusing to shake Pelosis hand; then Pelosi tearing up her copy of Trumps speech; then Trump hocking a loogie onto Pelosis suede pumps.

OK, the loogie part did not happen. As far as we know.

In other political news, Iowa Democratic Party officials sense that there may be a problem with their new app when it declares that the winner of the states caucuses, with 43 million delegates, is Walter Mondale, followed by the Houston Astros (who also win the Super Bowl). This fiasco does not sit well with the other Democratic candidates, who realize they have wasted an entire year trudging around Iowa eating fried objects on sticks and pretending to care about Iowans.

Things go more smoothly for the Democrats in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses, with Bernie Sanders emerging as the clear front-runner, which only seems to make him angrier.

A new challenger emerges in the form of charisma-impaired billionaire Mike Mike Bloomberg, who uses his personal fortune to hire a vast army of consultants to supply him with a powerful arsenal of focus-group-tested policies, retorts, memes, jokes and humanoid personality traits. Nevertheless he struggles in the debates, the low point coming when Elizabeth Warren, during a heated exchange about non-disclosure agreements, pulls the waistband of Bloombergs underpants over the top of his head, a debate tactic known as the atomic wedgie, first performed by Lincoln on Douglas in 1858.

Despite all these exciting political developments, the number one concern of the American public, based on the amount of passionate debate it generates on the internet, is the burning issue of whether it is, or is not, OK to recline your airplane seat.

Remember? Those were good times.

As February draws to a close, 2020 seems to be shaping up as a typical election year, in which the political-media complex is repeatedly engulfed by raging apocalyptic dramas that the regular human public pretty much ignores.

And then, unfortunately, comes


which starts off calmly enough, as the Democratic Party, desperate to find an alternative to 132-year-old white guy Bernie Sanders, settles on 132-year-old white guy Joe Biden, who cruises to a series of primary victories after replacing No Malarkey with a bold new campaign slogan: Somewhat Alert At Times.

Biden is endorsed by most of his Democratic opponents, including Mike Bloomberg, who spent more than $500 million on his campaign, which seems like a lot of money until you consider that he won the American Samoa Caucus, narrowly edging out Tulsi Gabbard, who spent $13.50.

And then, sprinkled in amid all the political coverage, we begin to see reports that this coronavirus thing might be worse than we have been led to believe, although at first the authorities still seem to be saying that its basically the flu and there is no reason to panic.

But all of a sudden there seems to be no hand sanitizer for sale anywhere, which makes some sense although there is also no toilet paper, as if people are planning to be pooping for weeks on end (ha) and then we learn that Tom Hanks Tom Hanks! has the virus and now theyre saying its a lot worse than the flu and we need to wash our hands and not touch our faces and maintain a social distance of six feet and use an abundance of caution to flatten the curve (whatever the curve is) but theyre also saying we dont need face masks no scratch that now theyre saying we DO need face masks but nobody HAS any face masks but hey heres a funny meme about toilet paper but ohmigod look at these statistical disease models WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE but Trump says maybe this hydroxysomething medicine will work no it wont work yes it will work no it wont and now theyre saying there wont be enough ventilators or hospital beds or PPE and Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx are saying everybody has to shelter at home or else WE ARE ALL DEFINITELY GOING TO DIE hey heres another funny toilet-paper meme but seriously what is PPE and is that different from PPP and where will we get the ventilators and there wont be enough hospital beds and there is still no hand sanitizer and I keep touching my face and they just canceled the NBA can they even DO that wait now they canceled ALL the sports and closed all the schools the colleges the stores the restaurants the bars the theaters the hair salons the parks the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and now theyre saying we need to stay at home for HOW LONG what about the toilet paper I cant stop touching my damn face are you seriously telling me all this is because somebody ate a freaking bat maybe Amazon has toilet paper ohmigod theyre sold out too WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE TOILET PAPER not another Zoom meeting I am so tired of shouting at people in little boxes maybe I should take a shower but whats the point hey heres a bunch more funny memes ohmigod look at the Stock Market the price of oil maybe Ill just take a peek at my 401k oh NOOOOOOOO and WHAT ARE PEOPLE DOING WITH ALL THIS TOILET PAPER and how long do we have to keep being abundantly cautious what did Trump say about the ventilators and what did Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci say about what Trump said about the ventilators and what did Trump say about what they said about what he said about the ventilators ventilators ventilators LOOK AT THESE MODELS WE ARE STILL GOING TO DIE but do we really want to go on living in a world where theres no toilet paper and every single TV commercial sounds like as we navigate these difficult times together, the National Association of Folding Chair Manufacturers wants you to know that we are committed to running these TV commercials with a somber narrator voice telling you how committed we are and WHY WOULD SOMEBODY EAT A DAMN BAT these memes are getting old hey do you think that Carole Baskin woman actually fed her husband to a tiger maybe we should order pizza tonight wait I think we had pizza last night are you sure its Tuesday because it feels more like Thursday no please God not another freaking Zoom meeting stop already with the memes if the tiger ate her husband shouldnt there be a skeleton somewhere are we flattening the curve yet Dr. Fauci Dr. Birx because were in a recession no wait maybe its a depression look at the unemployment numbers we are never going to recover from this if the virus doesnt kill us we will starve to death we need more money from the government we need billions no we need trillions no we need MORE trillions where is this money coming from we have to open the economy up but if we do WE WILL ALL DIE hey I found some toilet paper oh no its one-ply which is basically the same as using your bare hand thank God I also found some hand sanitizer and speaking of good news Bernie Sanders is endorsing Joe Biden so apparently theyre both still alive if I see one more meme I am going to puke in my facemask Im afraid to get on a scale my thighs are basically two armadillo-sized wads of pizza dough hey Dr. Birx Dr. Fauci when will we have a vaccine when will we have herd immunity when can we go outside when can we go back to work what is the new normal good lord what did Trump say about disinfectants DONT INJECT CLOROX YOU IDIOTS what about the food chain what about reinfection what about the second wave hey theyre showing the NFL draft and Georgia is opening the tattoo parlors and holy crap now its


and we are, as a nation, exhausted. We are literally sick and tired of the pandemic. But amid all the gloom, there is a ray of sunshine: As we go through this harrowing experience affecting all Americans, in both red states and blue states we are starting to realize that our common humanity is more important than our political differences.

Ha ha! Seriously, we hate each other more than ever. We disagree about everything when to reopen the economy, whether to wear masks, whether to go to the beach, whether its OK to say China everything. Each side believes that it is motivated purely by reason, facts and compassion, and that the other side is evil and stupid and sincerely wants people to die. Every issue is binary: My side good, other side bad. There is no nuance, no open-mindedness, no discussion.

On the other hand, there is starting to be more toilet paper.

President Trump continues to provide leadership during the crisis by repeatedly pointing out that he knows an incredible amount about viruses more than most medical doctors! and is frankly doing a terrific job.

For its part, the White House press corps, seeking as always to be fair and objective, asks the president many probing questions, all of them variations of why are you so despicable?

Somewhere in here the president goes on Twitter to suggest, without evidence, that MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough committed murder, but we have reached the point where this falls into the category of ho-hum.

Meanwhile, in a basement somewhere in Delaware, Joe Biden and his campaign team have managed to procure a webcam, which they intend to use to log on to the internet so that Joes campaign message can go viral, just as soon as Joe decides what it is.

In scandal news, the justice department moves to drop all charges against former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Outraged Democrats claim this is a travesty of justice; outraged Republicans claim it is proof that the Deep State tried to stage a coup. And thus we are back to arguing about the 2016 election, which we are going to keep arguing about until everybody involved has been dead for 50 years.

On a more uplifting note, America cheers the first manned space launch from U.S. soil in nine years as the commercially built SpaceX rocket, carrying two NASA astronauts, blasts off for the International Space Station, only to discover, upon arrival, that it has been closed since 2014.

Here we should at least mention the arrival of the Asian murder hornets. In any other year they would have been a huge story, comparable to famous celebrity pests of the past, such as the killer bees, or the cast of Jersey Shore. But in 2020 there is simply too much competition, and the murder hornets end up living in a cheap motel near the Canadian border, their dreams of fame shattered.

In sports, Major League Baseball tries to come up with a plan to salvage the 2020 season, a task that becomes more urgent each day as the Houston Astros already have won 137 games, all of them no-hitters.

The National Football League also is trying to adapt to the pandemic, exploring the possibility of a season with no fans, no coaches and no players.

Were thinking of just showing 60 minutes of referees throwing penalty flags and peering at replay monitors, says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. So it wont really be much different.

Meanwhile the National Hockey League admits that it stopped playing games in 2003, but nobody noticed.

Toward the end of the month the economy is starting to open up, the virus numbers in many places seem to be improving and people are starting to venture out of their homes. For a few minutes, the nation seems to be groping its way, an inch at a time, toward relative calm. And then

WHAM, 2020 strikes again, this time in Minneapolis, where the horrendous killing of George Floyd at the hands of police ignites a protest movement that quickly spreads across the nation, sometimes mutating into violence. In the past, such movements tended to lose energy, smothered under a thick cloud of politicians platitudes, but this one has legs, and as we enter


the protest movement grows in size and passion with frankly not a whole lot of social distancing. In Washington, D.C., large crowds gather in front of the White House.

President Trump, angered by reports that at one point he retreated to an underground bunker, states that in fact he was merely inspecting the bunker, this being a responsibility explicitly assigned to the president by the Constitution, right after where it says hes in charge of foreign policy.

To demonstrate that he is not the kind of leader who hides in bunkers, the president courageously goes outside (after the protesters have been cleared away) and personally walks several hundred feet to historic St. Johns Church, where he holds up a Bible. Or possibly it is a thesaurus. The important thing is that it is a serious-looking book and a strong visual, at a time when what this wounded and divided nation needs, more than ever, is strong visuals.

For their part, the Democrats, fed up with the longstanding pattern of systemic racism and police misconduct in major U.S. cities, vow to bring about real reform, just as soon as they can figure out who, exactly, is in charge of these cities.

One much-discussed reform proposal is defunding the police, which is clearly defined by its proponents as taking the funding away from the police as well as not taking the funding away from the police.

Meanwhile COVID-19 cases are rising alarmingly, especially in the South. President Trump, having apparently decided that the best way to deal with the pandemic, as chief executive, is to occasionally tweet about it, focuses his efforts on getting re-elected. He holds a rally in Tulsa, where, addressing an issue of concern to all Americans, he explains in detail that the ramp he had to walk down at the West Point graduation ceremony was slippery AND steep. The president gets a big hand from the crowd when, displaying leadership, he drinks from a water glass with one hand.

During this period the Biden campaign focuses its energies primarily on being in Delaware.

Also during this time important news events are occurring in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and possibly even Canada. But we frankly do not have time to think about these places.

In sports, Major League Baseball owners and players, faced with the very real threat that the Houston Astros will win the World Series unopposed, reach an agreement to hold a shortened season, with a few COVID-related rule modifications:

Unacceptable: HeybatterbatterbatterbatterSWING!

Acceptable: HeybatterbatterbatterSWING!

Speaking of positive tests, in


COVID-19 cases continue to rise sharply in some southern states, accompanied by what the World Health Organization describes as an alarming spike in smugness in some northern states, notably New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveils a poster, for sale at $11.50, commemorating, in a cartoony manner, New Yorks pandemic experience. Really. It is as if the White Star Line sold whimsical souvenirs of the Titanic.

On July 4, despite all the bad news and the gloomy outlook, Americans pause to celebrate the independence of their nation by reducing entire neighborhoods to smoking rubble with illegal fireworks.

In a decision that outrages Democrats, President Trump commutes the federal prison sentence of his longtime friend and political operative Roger Stone. The White House states that imprisoning the 67-year-old Stone would be inhumane because he has a medical condition that requires him to roam free at night seeking fresh human blood.

Meanwhile in Delaware, Joe Bidens team continues to ponder the question of who should be Joes running mate, the goal being to find somebody who (a) is a woman and (b) has a name that Joe can remember.

Kanye West announces that he is running for president, representing the Birthday Party. In any other year this would seem ridiculous, but in 2020 a lot of people are like why not?

In other political news, the coronavirus continues to disrupt both major parties convention plans. The Republicans, having already moved Trumps acceptance speech from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., announce that they are now considering the Roll n Shoot Bowling Alley & Gun Range in Elwood, Okla., contingent on the availability of a long enough extension cord.

The Democrats also have downsized their convention, which originally was to be a four-day event at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee but is now going to take place mainly on Instagram.

On the diplomatic front, the Trump administration announces that, after tense high-level negotiations, it has reached a peace agreement under which U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Portland, Ore., where for many weeks protestors have been seeking social justice via a combination of peaceful demonstrations and arson.

By far the months most disturbing event occurs on July 15 when Twitter, responding to a cyberattack, temporarily suspends many verified blue-check accounts. Within minutes emergency rooms in Washington and New York are overwhelmed by media thought leaders whose brains are literally exploding from the pressure of unreleased insights.

Meanwhile in the rest of the nation, non-elite Americans wander the streets aimlessly, with no way to know what they should think. Fortunately this situation lasts only a few hours, but it highlights the urgent need for a federally maintained Blue Check Media Emergency Tweet Reserve, similar to the National Helium Reserve, but more gaseous.

In sports, the Washington Redskins, bowing to mounting public pressure, announce that they are changing their name, which critics say is insensitive. They will henceforth be known as the Pittsburgh Redskins.

In Major League Baseball, the teams begin a shortened season with stadium seats occupied by cardboard cutouts representing fans, except in the case of the Houston Astros, who use live human snipers.

Speaking of threats, in


President Trump escalates his attacks on TikTok, a Chinese-owned social-media app that threatens our national security by causing millions of Americans to learn stupid dances while Chinese people are making useful products to sell to Americans. The president wants to force TikTok to be sold to Microsoft, apparently in the hope that Microsoft will render it unusable by means of updates.

In other foreign-policy action, Trump brokers a historic Middle East peace agreement, which, along with the estimated 45 previous historic Middle East peace agreements, brings the Middle East one step closer to potentially being on the verge of reaching the brink of what could some day become a stepping stone to lasting peace, although you should not hold your breath.

Meanwhile at home, the nations mood increasingly is tense and angry as Americans are bombarded all day, every day, with a constant stream of news about protests, boycotts, disruption, despair and rage. And thats just on SportsCenter.

California, as it traditionally does at this time of year, bursts into flames. Adding to the citizens misery are rolling electrical blackouts, possibly related to the fact that the state legislature has banned all sources of electricity except windmills and 9-volt batteries.

In politics, controversy swirls around the U.S. Postal Service, which until now most Americans have viewed as a non-sinister agency whose function, as authorized by the Constitution, is to faithfully, rain or shine, deliver vast quantities of bulk mail to us so we can discard it unread.

But now there are reports of USPS mailboxes mysteriously disappearing from the streets, which Democrats charge is part of a sinister Trump administration plot to sabotage mail-in voting, the theory being that voters, having no place to deposit their mail-in ballots, will give up in despair and, we dont know, flush them down the toilet or something.

While this alleged conspiracy is being debated, Steve Bannon, a former influential Trump aide with the uncanny ability to always look like he just woke up in a dumpster, is arrested by increasingly this cannot be a coincidence agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Bannon is charged with fraud in connection with a GoFundMe project called We Build the Wall, which is supposedly raising money for President Trumps largely imaginary wall between the U.S. and Mexico, although according to prosecutors a better name for the project would be We Basically Keep the Money.

In other legal developments, Trump pardons Susan B. Anthony, calling her, in impromptu remarks delivered as aides hustle reporters away, a terrific person who I look forward to inviting to the White House.

In election news, Joe Biden makes history by choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate; if elected, she would become the first U.S. vice president whose name can be rearranged to spell I Alarm A Shark. During the Democratic debates Harris leveled some harsh criticisms at Biden, but a Biden campaign source says that Joe has forgotten all about that. Literally.

For his part, Trump dismisses rumors that he might change running mates, telling reporters Im very happy with whatshisname.

Because of the pandemic, both parties hold their conventions virtually, which means that instead of endless hours of repetitious blather, the TV broadcasts consist of endless hours of repetitious blather but without the entertaining visuals of delegates in stupid hats.

The Democrats adopt a sweeping platform filled with bold policy initiatives that nobody will ever look at again. The Republican platform consists of, quote, whatever was in the presidents most recent tweet.

Speaking of principles, in


the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg triggers a classic display of Washington-style ethical consistency as both political parties, addressing the issue of when the vacancy should be filled, passionately embrace positions diametrically opposite the ones they passionately embraced in 2016.

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Dave Barry: Review of year we'd like to forget -

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