We’re b-a-a-a-c-k

Yessir — your incessant emails, Facebook messages and general harrassment of me in most public places has paid off: the blog is back up and running.

I’m just kicking the tires and checking the oil around the ol’ site, but we’ll have some dandy new features for you in the next day or two.

Tell your friends: we’re back, baby.

Want two State-ECU baseball tickets? (updated with winner)

Just realized I have two N.C. State-ECU baseball tickets in my possession. The game begins at 6 p.m., so the first person to email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com gets ‘em.

You need to be able to come by TFP office by 5:30 p.m. to collect them.

UPDATE 4:50 P.M.: Congrats to Reid Rouse for winning the tickets! Listen — I have tickets to every home game, so if I forget to throw them up here for a giveaway, remind me to start a contest!

Morning News Report; Feb. 23, 2012

FREE PRESS SOCIAL MEDIA DAY TODAY

The Free Press will be hosting a “social media” social today at the paper from 2-5 p.m.

My take: I wrote about it in my Sunday column — and I hope to see a bunch of you out here today. The whole event is free with excellent foodage, door prizes and Jon Dawson. If you need more info, call me at 252-559-1074.

KINSTON BOYS, GIRLS ADVANCE TO SECTIONAL FINALS

In the second round of the NCHSAA 2A basketball playoffs, the Kinston girls defeated Farmville Central, 42-32, last night, while the Kinston boys survived a scrappy and tough Topsail team, 66-46.

The wins advance the Vikings to the sectional finals; the girls host Elizabeth City Northeastern at 7 p.m., while the boys travel to Croatan. Both games are at 7 p.m., Friday.

My take: We’ve grown accustomed to the Kinston boys making these deep runs — and I anticipate they’ll do well at Croatan tomorrow night, too.

But it’s been pretty cool seeing the Kinston girls — fueled by Tish Dixon, Brittany Drumgoole, Monique Loftin, Hailey Vermillion and Caroline DeBruhl — also playing well. I’ll say this: there might not be a better trio of girls I’ve seen than Dixon, Drumgoole and Loftin in my 10 years here in Kinston. Should be a fun night tomorrow.

FREEDOM CLASSIC STARTS TOMORROW

The second annual Freedom Classic begins tomorrow between the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy; 5,000 fans turned out last year for the three-game series and organizers hope there will be more this year.

My take: I have several sets of tickets to the series — just let me know how many you want and I’ll try to accomodate as many of you as I can. Leave your name in the comments here or email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com.

The iPod shuffle

Winter — Tori Amos

Fixing A Hole — The Beatles

Sledgehammer — Peter Gabriel

All Shook Up — Elvis Presley

Ocean Avenue — Yellowcard

ECU-UNC ticket silent auction update

HUGE update for our UNC-ECU ticket silent auction — I now have three pairs of tickets to Saturday night’s game; the current bid is $100 for a pair (they’re valued at $120).

As I said Wednesday, the money raised by these tickets is going to go towards helping a needy family at Christmas. It’s a project we do every year in conjunction with the Salvation Army.

SO — get your bid in! You have until 2 p.m.! Email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com or leave a comment with this post.

See UNC-ECU, hang with The Kid and help a needy family! (UPDATED)

We did this a few weeks back and made $100 for our Christmas family … so here we go again — I have two tickets to Saturday’s 8 p.m. football game between UNC and ECU at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville.

I’ll start the silent auction bidding at $80 for the $120 tickets — email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com and we’ll go from there. I’ll post updates for the prices here on this thread. The money raised will go to help a needy family at Christmas.

Here’s some added treats — whoever wins the bidding (which closes at 2 p.m. on Friday) will receive a pair of Free Press coffee mugs, a Free Press umbrella and will get to sit beside The Free Press’ very own Justin “The Kid” Hill, a UNC alum who will personally make sure this game is one you will never forget.

So — get on it and get your bids to me ASAP!

7:30 p.m.: There is a $100 bid! Get yours in!

Some nuggets for your perusal

Some loose items that don’t need their own blog post:

  • I’ve wondered for awhile why there hasn’t been any new bloggees registering to join our little family (which numbers 1,132 at the moment). Well, here’s why — somehow I turned off the option to allow that to happen. I have NO idea how I did it … but it’s back on now. If you’d like to register to make comments, etc., hit the log-in button on the right rail and follow the instructions. Big-time thanks to Justin “The Kid” Hill for helping me fix it and to Elizabeth “Michael’s Wife” Moon for calling this to my attention.
  • As I mentioned in today’s MNR, we had a successful HBFL draft last night at the DugOut. While that was a lot of fun — it was good to see old-time bloggees like B.J. (Heelatious) Davis and Jonathan (Heelsfan) Davis, Bobby Hatcher, Lee Wetherington, Jonathan Massey and others, loading the rosters today was a freaking disaster. Guys — be patient with me; I’ll have it up before this day is over. I know … that’s what she said.
  • I’m going to post the Blog Survivor Pool sign-up sheet either later today or first thing tomorrow, before the MNR. If you want to get in, the details are here.

Blog Survivor Pool 2011

Let me know if you’re interested in participating in the NFL Blog Survivor Pool this year. Last year, we had 21 players in a game that Heelatious (B.J. Davis) won.

Here are the rules: every week, you’re allowed to pick the one NFL team you think is going to win this week. If that team wins, you’re alive until next week. If your team loses, you’re done. And once you pick a team, you can’t pick them again this year.

For example — if you pick Carolina to beat Arizona in the first week, you can’t pick Carolina again in the competition.

If you’re interested in playing this year, leave a comment or email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com. I’ll list your name below as I receive it.

There is a $5 entry fee, but it doesn’t need to be paid until you’re eliminated from the contest. Like last year, this is a winner-take-all contest — whoever is still standing at the end of the year gets all the bucks.

Tell your friends! I’d love to get 30 players this year — and we have a week to get them all together.

Blog Survivor Pool players for 2011:

1. Hanks

2. Hot Blonde

3. Defending Blog Survivor Pool Champion Heelatious

4. Brent Pelletier

5. Michael Moon

6. Elizabeth Moon

7. Jeff Howard

8. Horns

9. Canyoureadthis

10. Randy Capps

11. Shanna Capps

12. ECPirates11

13. Daniel Jones

14. Seth Jones

15. Dylan Jones

16. Petey Pablo

Streak for the Cash August winner: J. Osterberg!

 Congrats to J. Osterberg, who wins for the second time in our little game. He pretty much dominated the month, although C. Pollock made a good run there at the end.

Osterberg also won in December. Contact me at bhanks@freedomenc.com and we’ll hook you up with a valuable prize from The Free Press prize closet.

Want to join our little streaky family? Go here — it’s a blast and you can win valuable prizes, maybe even $50,000 from ESPN!

August’s Top 10

1. J. Osterberg — 85

2. C. Pollock — 82

3. J. Irvin — 75

4. Hanks — 73

5. M. Moon — 71

6. D. Pollock — 70

7. R. Capps — 69

8. E. Moon — 60

9. Hot Blonde — 56

10. L. Walker — 52

All-time blog winners

2009

February: Flagan (F. Jones) – 43 wins

March: B. Pelletier – 60 wins

April: Flagan (F. Jones) – 59 wins

May: Flagan (F. Jones) – 57 wins

June: B. Pelletier – 53 wins

July: Flagan (F. Jones) – 69 wins

August: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 69 wins

September: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 69 wins

October: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 62 wins

November: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 83 wins

December: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) & D. Guido – 91 wins

2010

January: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 71 wins

February: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 68 wins

March: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 82 wins

April: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) – 77 wins

May: R. Capps (Randy Capps) – 75 wins

June: P. Howard (WolfpackPete) – 69 wins

July: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) – 80 wins

August: R. Capps (Randy Capps) – 87 wins

September: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) – 73 wins

October: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) — 79 wins

November: R. Capps (Randy Capps) — 79 wins

December: J. Osterberg — 79 wins

2011

January: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) — 81

February: D. Guido — 71

March: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) — 96

April: Flagan (Franc Jones) — 90

May: D. Pollock (David Pollock) — 90

June: D. Pollock (David Pollock) — 81

July: Bryan Hanks — 78

August: J. Osterberg — 85

Morning News Report; Aug. 23, 2011

HERE COMES IRENE!

Accuweather.com is predicting that Hurricane Irene will be strongest storm to hit the Carolinas since 1996.

Here is Accuweather.com’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.

LETTERMAN LAUGHS OFF INTERNET JIHADIST

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.

KINSTON-SOUTH LENOIR MOVED TO THURSDAY

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.