Premature e-launch-ation

OK … perhaps trying to relaunch the ol’ blog before Christmas was a BAD IDEA — you know, with your boss out of the office and 10,000 things to do. However — hang around: I promise we’re set to get everything back up and going soon.

Next week, I’ll be using this space for game updates. I’ll provide a morning update beginning Wednesday and it’ll continue through Saturday’s championship day.

Check this out: This week’s podcast with Jon “Dizzle” Dawson and Kyle Brown.

Congratulations to Justin Hill and Bobby Hatcher, who’re playing for the Hanks Blog Football League championship this week. The winner receives $200; the runner-up gets $50. B.J. Davis was the top points performer for the league and will receive $50.

As always, follow me on Twitter at BCHanks, where we have all sorts of fun.

Catching up with y’all

Some updates for my bloggy peops:

  • Not sure when we’re going over to the new blog. Haven’t heard anything from the tech folks, so … we’re going to keep humping on this blog until I’m told otherwise. I am insisting, however, the categories and blogroll feature are included on the new one — and at this moment, they’re not there.
  • Jon Dawson, Justin Hill and I taped the final Free Press Radio Program/Podcast of 2011 this morning. We talked about the top 10 most-viewed stories of the year on — and I think it’s a pretty good podcast, even though I sound like I’m half-asleep during most of it. Please give it a listen — I put a lot of my heart into it and, frankly, we’re not getting half the listens I figured we would. Do me a favor — give it a listen and let me know what you think. If it stinks, let me know. If it’s good, tell your boys.
  • Speaking of Dawson, don’t forget his new book has dropped and you can purchase it either at our office (2103 N. Queen St., Kinston), on or at It would make a hell of a Christmas present for that special person on your list!
  • We lost two of our four players in the Blog Survivor Pool last weekend as both women — SealGirl and Shanna Capps — went with Tennessee over Indianapolis. It’s down to 2010 champ Heelatious (New England last week) and ECPirates11 (New Orleans). If you haven’t paid your $5 yet — either for the first game or for part 2 — please do so. If you don’t, that means I have to pay the winner out of my own pocket … and you know that ain’t cool.
  • Usually, I’ll write a couple of posts about our HBFL playoffs, but, alas, I haven’t had time to barely breathe the past few weeks. However, we’re in the Super Bowl week of both leagues; in the HBFL Live, No. 8 seed Heelatious’ Heelsfan’s Show Me Your TDs, who were 6-7 in the regular season, are facing defending champion and third-seeded Wes Brown’s Crime Dawgs, who went 7-6. The winner of that game receives $200, while the loser gets $50. Lee Wetherington, whose Wreakn Havoc team finished with the most points in the league (1,314) and wins $50 for that. I’ll pay everyone when I get back to town the week of Jan. 1. In the meantime — if you haven’t paid yet (and there are still four who haven’t) — get your dues in. Again, I don’t want to have to pay winnings out of my own pocket, y’all.
  • In the HBFL Online, the top two seeds — the No. 1 Drew Loftis-owned Hookers With Dysentery (10-3) are taking on the No. 2 Elizabeth Moon-owned Grifton Sea Lions (9-4). Drew’s Hookers also were the top scoring team in the league with 1,190 points. There’s no prize in this league, just pride.
  • Congrats to Kinston coach Wells Gulledge, who won the 300th game in his career in last night’s 74-53 victory against North Lenoir at Viking Gym. Here’s a quick look at his 14-year-plus career: 300-86 overall (.777 winning percentage), 254-53 at Kinston (.827), seven conference titles, three Eastern Regional titles and two state championships. Pretty impressive.
  • Some major thank-you’s to former Kinston stars Dory Hines (now at Mount Olive College) and Reggie Bullock (UNC) for coming out to KHS this morning to help Justin “The Kid” Hill and his Free Press 12-and-under basketball team. Dory, in particular, was there the entire the practice and ran drills with the team. Reggie took about 5 minutes and talked to the kids about the importance of staying in school and overcoming adversity. Additionally, Coach Gulledge and current Ole Miss assistant baseball coach Cliff Godwin helped out with drills and motivation. An extremely fun morning — and here’s a cool photo taken after the practice:

Click on it for a better view.

  • The 2011 Holiday Invitational (formerly known as the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational) tips off next week in Raleigh and Cary. For the fifth straight year, I am the media coordinator of the event — and this year, I’m bringing some of my friends to help. For the previous three years, Jonathan Massey has been my right-hand man as the tournament’s assistant media coordinator and he continues in that role this year. However, Justin “The Kid” Hill is taking over the role of Holiday Invitational girls’ tournament media coordinator this year. Also, Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark did a FANTASTIC job designing the game program for the HSOT; if you make it to Raleigh or Cary, make sure you grab a copy. As for game-by-game updates from the tourney, there simply won’t be as many here on the ol’ blog since the good folks at WRAL/Capital Broadcasting Company — the owners of the HSOT brand — have exclusive rights to that info. However, I will be providing early updates with sort of an MNR-type feel each morning. I’ll give you a schedule of that day’s games along with my predictions and thoughts going into each day. As always, though, there’ll be a video wrap-up each day with Triangle heartthrob Nick Stevens and myself and HSOT will live-stream each post-game press conference.
  • A LOT of you have asked about the Hot Blonde and here’s an update: her final chemo was a few weeks ago and right now, she’s just trying to get her life back to normal, i.e., working the chemo out of her system and recovering from her other related surgeries. It’s been an incredibly tough ride for one of the toughest people I know. But I also know this: she has appreciated every one of you who has taken the time to lift her up in prayer — and again, I know there are a lot of you out there who have done just that. You have no idea what your prayers have done to help her and me through this incredibly difficult time in our lives. I’m not exaggerating when I say this: I love you guys. Thank you for being pretty freaking awesome.

Morning News Report; Sept. 13, 2011


Here is Ryan Herman’s story on Kinston High School baseball coach Jason Wade’s firing.

My take: I feel much the same way as I did yesterday when I broke this on the blog – this is a stupid move and one that will set KHS baseball back at least five years. I’ve since talked to several parents of current players and I know this much: some of these players will be transferring to other schools because of this decision.

It is kind of crappy that she decided to do this AFTER school started in an attempt to keep kids from transferring. If she had made this move before school started (and she had the opportunity to do so), it would’ve been easier for them to do so.

And I am perplexed this decision was made without conferring with the athletics director.

Regardless, keep your head up, JWade — you’re a faithful man and I know God has other things for you out there. Maybe next time you’ll go somewhere you’re appreciated.

I’ve already talked to about a dozen coaches, teachers, parents and athletes at KHS — and not one of them is happy with this decision. I know this much: Ms. Bryant stirred up a whole pot o’ stuff with this move (and other decisions she’s made); I’ll have more here later.


A gay marriage ban and potential amendment to the N.C. Constitution passed the state House last night, 75-42. The bill — which would put the potential amendment on the May 2012 primary ballot — now moves to the N.C. Senate.

My take: Seriously? With no money for teachers, our state budget hemorrhaging money and all the other problems our state has … we’re going to waste time and money on keeping dudes or lesbians from marrying? Seriously?

I’ve been pretty straight-forward from the jump on gay rights — I think homosexuals have as much right to be miserable as straight folks. If they want to marry, by golly, let them. It’s been proven time and again, you don’t choose to be gay, so why punish them? And that’s what you’re doing when you deny homosexuals basic rights.

North Carolina prides itself on not being the back-woods type of state like our neighbors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. You enact this type of bill and our state won’t be getting the kind of progressive companies such as Google to relocate here. But it’s all right … we have tobacco and textiles to fall back on.



Remember that Northern Guilford team that cheated to win a 3A state title in 2009 (the one that beat Kinston in the Eastern Regional finals that year)? Well, now some parents and coaches from that dishonored squad are trying to win the title back in court after the NCHSAA stripped them of it following a school board investigation in Guilford County.

My take: Another idiotic move from a program that continues to make idiotic moves. This has NO CHANCE (yes, in all caps so maybe it’ll be read in Guilford County) of being successful. In fact, if the NCHSAA is forced to restore NG’s 2009 championship, I’ll paint the school’s mascot on my chest and perform a dance on The Free Press’ front yard.

I wouldn’t get the ol’ camcorder fired up, though, ’cause it isn’t going to happen.

By the by, here’s a good column from FOB and’s Nick Stevens on the matter. And he’s right.


Baseball’s former bad boy, Manny Ramirez, was arrested for a domestic violence incident yesterday.

My take: First, he retires instead of sitting out a 100-game steroid suspension and now this? He certainly wasn’t going to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player … now, he’s probably NEVER going to make it to Cooperstown.


I didn’t post it here last month but I’m sure most of you heard about the Burlington Williams quarterback who died two days after leading his team to a season-opening victory.

Investigators now know why the young man passed away — Harry Cohen took his grandmother’s pain medication and it caused him to have a heart attack.

My take: A tremendously sad story but one that kids all over the state can learn from — DO NOT take medication unless it is prescribed to you. This young man was in the best shape of his life and he couldn’t handle his grandmother’s medication. Just because you feel like you’re Superman or Superwoman doesn’t mean that you are.

Also, please take a moment and read the story — it is extremely well-written by Freedom Communications’ Roselee Papandrea.

The iPod shuffle

Sassafras Root — Green Day

Mama Said — The Shirelles

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Saturday In The Park — Chicago

Wild Horses — The Rolling Stones

P.S.: I can eat crow with the best of ‘em, so here goes … congrats to Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark, who whipped my candy ass in our HBFL Live opening game this week, 108-97. What makes this sting more is this was Richard’s inaugural game in fantasy football while this is the start of my 17th year playing. Damn. While I’m at it, congrats to two-time defending HBFL Online champ Brent Pelletier for beating me, 87-79, in Week 1 of that league. Sheesh.

P.P.S.S.: And we’ll close today’s MNR on a somber note — a great man passed away on Sunday in the person of the Honorable Rodney R. Goodman, a longtime Kinston judge. I got to know Judge Goodman while I was dating his niece and he was certainly a funny, smart and wise man. Please join me in throwing some prayers up there for Judge Goodman’s family.

Morning News Report; Aug. 31, 2011

Before we jump into the MNR this a.m., THANKS to everyone for checking out the Irene videos, pictures and stuff on my Facebook page. I appreciate the feedback (including the several “Are you an idiot?” questions I had.

Anyhoo — we should be back to relative normal (other than the fact I’m off Friday and Monday). What this specifically affects is our HBFL Online Draft, which we suspended Friday. It’ll pick back up at 2 p.m. today — I am going to text all the owners. We’re also going to drop the time to select from an hour to 30 minutes between picks.

I’m also going to post the Blog Pick ‘Em contest in the next few minutes — as many of you saw, we are going to throw out last week as if it didn’t exist. Many of you didn’t have Internet access last week, although I appreciate everyone who emailed and Facebooked me your picks — one person even texted me their picks!

For those of you who know the personal stuff I’m going through, thanks for your prayers and kind words. Not quite ready to share that with everyone here yet, but rest assured — bloggees, you’ll be the first to know before I release it for the world.

OK — now on to your MNR:


Seven counties in Eastern North Carolina — Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell — were declared federal disaster areas by President Obama, meaning they are now eligible for federal aid.

My take: Curious that Lenoir County didn’t make that cut, especially considering the millions of dollars of damage in our little corner of heaven. I have noticed in the past, though, that sometimes it takes a few extra days for all the counties eligible to be included. Hope that’s the case in Lenoir County … because there’s a lot of damage from ol’ Irene here.


From 1946-48, the United State conducted experiments with veneral diseases (such as syphilis and gonorrhea) in Guatemala on thousands of unwitting patients. An international panel is urging the U.S. to make financial reparations to those who were affected by the experiments.

My take: Sounds fair to me, but it does shock me sometimes to find out what we — as a country — has done in the past.


Eight University of Miami players will be suspended at least one game following an NCAA investigation into the Nevin Shapiro controversy.

My take: Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like that’s a little light. My feeling is that there’ll be more punishment down the line — just not the death penalty everyone was initially anticipating.

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Treat Me Bad — Firehouse

Longview — Green Day

Janie’s Got A Gun — Aerosmith

About A Girl — Nirvana

Why — Annie Lennox

2011 HBFL Online Draft underway

I know not everyone in our blogosphere is interested in the Hanks Blog Football League draft, so I’ve created a page for the teams and anyone who wants to look at our draft as it evolves — You can also access it by clicking on the link on the right side of this page titled Hanks Blog Football League 2011.

Here’s the draft order, as drawn by Jon Dawson and photographed and witnessed by Free Press Circulation Director Jim Register:

1. Charlie Kraebel:

2. Michael Moon:

3. Darren Becton:

4. Hot Blonde:

5. Brent Pelletier:

6. Matt Lavender:

7. Daniel Jones:

8. Seth Jones:

9. Ryan Herman:

10. Chris Lavender:

11. Elizabeth Moon:

12. Hanks:

13. Taplie Coile:

14. Drew Loftis:

Let’s get it on!

Morning News Report; Aug. 23, 2011

HERE COMES IRENE! is predicting that Hurricane Irene will be strongest storm to hit the Carolinas since 1996.

Here is’s projected path as of 4:12 a.m. today:

Click on the map for a larger view.

My take: This is serious stuff, y’all — not just another weatherman’s breathless BS warning. Get your water and batteries and prepare to hunker down Saturday.


David Letterman returned from his two-week summer vacation last night to the report of an Internet jihadist calling for his tongue to be cut out. In his characteristic style, though, Letterman joked about it throughout his program and even blamed the reports on Jay Leno.

My take: Letterman has gone more and more to the left in the past few years, but those are some damned funny jokes in that link. Check ‘em out … and screw the terrorists. Good for Letterman.


Because of concerns about Hurricane Irene, the Kinston-South Lenoir varsity football game has been moved to Thursday. The JV game between the teams is now on Wednesday at Viking Field.

My take: The Vikings (the past five years) and Blue Devils (first year, 2005) are the only two teams to win the Freedom Cup, the trophy given to the top prep football program in Lenoir County by The Free Press. In my opinion, Thursday’s game will also determine this year’s winner.

Don’t sleep on South Lenoir — I will make my pick later in the week, but I feel like this is as strong a Blue Devils team as I’ve seen since that magical 2005 season, especially the defense. I’ll say this with all certainty: if Kinston can’t hang onto the ball better than it did against Jones Senior last Friday, South Lenoir will win easily Thursday.

The iPod shuffle

Steppin’ Out — Joe Jackson

Don’t Let Him Go — REO Speedwagon

Why Can’t This Be Love — Van Halen

When I Think Of You — Janet Jackson

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go — Wham!

P.S.: HBFL Online folks — don’t forget the draft begins tomorrow at noon. We will draw for draft order this afternoon and I’ll post it tonight. I will also be sending out an email to all the owners, so be looking for that, too.

Friday quick hits

Not your MNR (that’ll come eventually … maybe), but some quick reminders on this glorious Friday morning:

  • We’re getting this Free Press Podcast thing in high gear! On this week’s FPP, Jon Dawson and I welcome’s Barry Smith and FOP, WCTI ABC-12 news and sports anchor, Fox Eastern Carolina news anchor and GQ’s 2004 Man of the Year Brian North. Arguably our best FPP yet — check it out!
  • Missing a lot of our old-timers in the seventh annual Blog Pick ‘Em – if you haven’t made your picks yet, you have until 7:30 p.m. today to get ‘em in. Remind your friends!
  • An important note to our HBFL Online players: the draft, which was set to begin Monday, won’t begin until Wednesday. I’ve had three owners email me with conflicts for the original start, so we’ll get it going at noon on Wednesday. We’ll draw for draft order in the office Wednesday morning and kick this bad boy off at noon that day. I’m going to send all participants an email this weekend to make sure we’re all on the same page.
  • Need to gauge interest in having a Blog Survivor Pool for this NFL season. It was pretty successful last season with our good friend Heelatious (B.J. Davis) taking home all the winnings. We’re still a couple of weeks from the beginning of the season, but if you want to play, let me know. The entry fee is $5 and the rules are simple: pick one team a week you think is going to win. If that team wins, you survive to the next week. If they lose, you’re out and you have to send your hard-earned $5 to TFP. The only caveat is that you can’t pick the same team twice in a season (so if you pick Green Bay in Week 1, you can’t pick the Packers again that season). Again — we had a freaking blast playing this last year, with Heelatious and Brent Pelletier going head-to-head until Week 14! Let me know if you’re in — I’d love to have 25 players this year. Leave a message in the comments or email me at

HBFL updates — with vote results for live draft

Thanks, y’all: Both HBFL’s are filled up — and there are folks on waiting lists.

Here’s the question: do you want these leagues to go to 14 owners? Send me your vote to, put it on my Facebook page or leave a comment here. I’ll make a decision by 5 p.m. tomorrow, so get your vote in ASAP.

I’ve already received votes from Chris Lavender, the Hot Blonde and Darren Becton in the Online Draft; I’ve not received any in the Live Draft yet. Just remember for my live draft homies — the more folks in the league, the more money goes to the winner!

I’ll update this blog post with votes as they go along…

If we stay at 12 owners in each league, is anyone interested in another Online League? We’d call it the B League or something like that, but it might be fun to have another league. Let me know…



14 TEAMS: Hanks, Lavender, Moon, Pelletier, Herman, Coile, D. Jones, S. Jones

12 TEAMS: Hot Blonde, Becton, Kraebel



14 TEAMS: Hanks, Brown, Clark, Massey, Casey

12 TEAMS: Hill, Wetherington, BHatcher, Stanley, J. Davis, B. Davis, Gerber

HBFL 2011: Let’s get it on!

With the end of the NFL lockout that only means one thing: FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON IS BACK!


Ahem … sorry. Anyhoo, we’re going to get the Hanks Blog Football Leagues back up and at ‘em for the fifth year in a row. Again this year, there’ll be an HBFL Live Draft and and an HBFL Online Draft.

I’m going to give first priority to those who were in the separate leagues last year; here were last year’s members:

UPDATED — LEAGUE FILLED (UNLESS WE GO TO 14…?) – HBFL Online (if the name is bolded, they’ve already told me they’re back in this year; if there is a line through it, they’re not in this year and I’ve moved up a waiting list person to their spot): Seth Jones, Darren Becton, Bryan Hanks, Taplie Coile, Hot Blonde, Daniel Jones, Brent Pelletier, Jon Dawson, Michael Moon, Chris Lavender, Drew Loftis, Ryan Herman and Charlie Kraebel.

HBFL Live Draft (if the name is bolded, they’ve already told me they’re back in this year): Bryan Hanks, Joel Gerber, Keith Spence, Justin Hill, Samantha Stanley, Jonathan Massey, Bobby Hatcher, B.J. Davis, Jonathan Davis, Wesley Brown, Lee Wetherington, Charlie Casey and Richard Clark.

Waiting lists: Online — Elizabeth Moon and Matt Lavender; Live — Trey Kriger, Seth Jones and Daniel Jones.

Today is Wednesday; I’m going to set the deadline to let me know if you want back in by Monday, Aug. 8, at 4 p.m. Either respond here, hit me on Facebook or email me at if you want back in the league you were in last year.

If you weren’t in either league but are interested in being in one of the two, hit me up by the methods listed above. I’ll put you on a waiting list, first come first served. I know there are going to be several openings in both, so hit me up.

We play with traditional fantasy football rules in both leagues. In the Online League, I give the champion a nice prize from The Free Press prize closet. Since it’s a long draft (usually takes about a week to 10 days), we’ll start the draft on Monday, Aug. 22, at noon; it’ll run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. You’ll need to provide me a cell number you can be reached at and I’ll update the draft throughout here on the blog.

In the Live League, there will be a $25 entry fee and the prize breakdown is as follows (based on 12 teams) – $200 to champion, $50 to runner-up and $50 to regular season points champion. You will need to participate in the live draft held at the DugOut, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 6 (although that date and time are tentative) and bring your entry fee with you. We had a blast at last year’s live draft at the DugOut and I know it’s going to be as much fun this year.

So … get up with me ASAP! Let’s get our fantasy football on!

A look at our past champions:

HBFL champions

2010: LIVE — Crime Dogs (Wesley Brown); ONLINE — Defending Champ (Brent Pelletier)

2009: LIVE — Wreakn Havoc (Lee Wetherington); ONLINE — NE Raleigh City Slickers (Brent Pelletier)

2008: Agents of Chaos (Drew Loftis)

2007: Free Press Predators (Bryan Hanks)

Morning News Report; March 21, 2011


The first “big name” has thrown his hat in the ring for one of the three Kinston City Council seats that will open up in November — unaffiliated candidate John Nix, the owner of Matrix East and a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General to bring nonpartisan voting to Kinston. He joins Republican Lennie Peterson as the only announced candidates for the city council.

My take: Nix has a pretty solid chance of winning one of the seats.

But where are the rest of the candidates — as I asked in my Sunday column yesterday? I know there are still three months remaining before filing officially begins, but I’m shocked there hasn’t been any movement at all on the Democratic side of the ledger. With Nix — and even Peterson — announcing, they hold a distinct advantage over those who might choose to announce later.

And no, I wasn’t joking about Van Braxton coming back to the council — he had a pretty solid three terms on the council and it would do nothing but help him rebuild his political cause, if he even wants to be in politics any longer.


After the first full weekend of the NCAA Tournament, only two of a record 11 Big East teams remain in the tourney, while three of the four ACC teams invited are alive for the Sweet 16.

My take: This tickles me to no end — the over-hyped (mostly by the four-letter network) league was beat up all weekend. It’s highly likely that Marquette (vs. UNC) and UConn (vs. San Diego State) won’t even make it to the Elite Eight, making this an epic fail for the Big Least.

At least the Big East has nine women’s teams in the round of 32. They have that going for them! Go ahead, Big East advocates — defend your overrated league.

Anyhoo — congrats to our good friend (and Friday Free Press coverboy) Michael Moon for leading our blog standings after the first weekend. He has 46 points, one better than Darren Becton and two better than Brent Pelletier. Kelly Rouse and Rich Jarman are three points back in fourth place.

And yes, my bracket is shot after FSU’s upset of Notre Dame — since I had the Irish in the national championship game against Duke. Oh well, still worth it for the Big East to go down in flames like this!


The Bradley Cooper-Rober De Niro drama “Limitless” was No. 1 at the U.S. weekend box office, hauling in $19 million. It topped “Rango” ($15.3 million) and “Battle: L.A.” ($14.6 million), while new movies “The Lincoln Lawyer” ($13.6 million) and “Paul” ($13.2 million) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

My take: The HB and I took in “Limitless” on Saturday — and it was pretty good. Cooper can certainly be goofy at times (see: “The Hangover”), but he was very good in “Limitless.” I’d give it a 7 out of 10.

By the way, we saw “Hall Pass” a couple of weeks ago — and it was arguably the funniest movie I’ve seen at the theater since “There’s Something About Mary.” It’s that good.

The iPod shuffle

Three Point One Four — The Bloodhound Gang

Hero — Mariah Carey

All I Do Is Win — D.J. Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross

Anything Goes — Guns N’ Roses

The Fly — U2

P.S.: Wednesday is the deadline for a blog fantasy baseball league. I only have six commitments to this point and frankly, if there is no more interest than this, we probably don’t need to have a league. Hit the link above for details and let me know if you’re interested in playing with your fellow bloggees.

HOWEVER, our good friend Randy Capps needs two more dedicated players in his fantasy baseball league. The cost is $25 to join; he gives $150 to the overall winner and $10 each to the 10 (5X5 format) category winners. I’ve played in this league every year but one over the past seven or eight years and it is COMPETITIVE. I’ve never finished above second, although I’ve won my share of categories. It’s a fun, extremely active league; if interested, e-mail Senor Capps at and he’ll hook you up with more info.