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 cappsr@fayobserver.comand he’ll hook you up with more info.

Fantasy baseball, anyone?

Baseball season is quickly coming on — is anyone interested in playing fantasy baseball? I’ve had a couple of responses, but not as many as I’d anticipated.

If there’s no interest, it’s no biggie as I am committed to being in two pay-for-play leagues as it is. But I’d love to have the league for the third straight season, which was won by Bobby Hatcher last year and David Pollock in 2009.

I want to have a live draft and we’ll hold it at Dug Out the week of April 25. There will be a $20 entry fee with these payouts:

  • $100 to the champion
  • $10 each to the 10 category winners (5X5 league)

Here are the players to this point; I’m going to stop the league at 10:

  • Hanks
  • Trey Kriger
  • Heelatious
  • Lee Wetherington
  • Scott Crosby
  • Jonathan Massey

Please don’t commit to this unless you can come to the draft the week of the 25th and bring $20 with you. I don’t want to have to chase people down for money and I’d love everyone to be at the live draft instead of having to catch folks up on the phone.

HBBL 2010 winner: Bobby Hatcher!

Congratulations to Bobby Hatcher, who won the Hanks Blog Baseball League 2010 championship in incredible fashion — coming from fourth place to first place in the final day of the season! Bobby’s team, the DL Disciples, got contributions from nearly every pitching category on Sunday, finishing with 27 strikeouts, three wins and a save to take the title from Keith Spence (Mean Muthers) and Franc Jones/Flagan (108 Stitches). Bobby made up 4.5 points in the final day — get up with me and we’ll get you a valuable prize package.

In fact, the top four in the final standings finished within 2.5 points of each other.

It was a crazy, crazy season in which Flagan led much of the past month — but it was close throughout. Can’t wait for next year.

It has to be mentioned that our very good friend, Jonathan Massey, finished in dead last for the second straight season. He’s becoming the Pittsburgh Pirates of our fantasy league!

Final 2010 standings:

1. DL Disciples (Bobby Hatcher) — 72.5

2. Mean Muthers (Keith Spence) — 71.5

3. 108 Stitches (Franc Jones/Flagan) — 71

4. Hanks’ Hitters (Bryan Hanks) — 70

5. The Nuke LaLooshes (B.J. Davis) — 63

6. Hooterville Express (David Pollock) — 56

T7. RotoRookie (Lee Wetherington) — 47.5

T7. 서울 한방 (Justin Hill/The Kid) — 47.5

9. Cow Tipping Dwarfs (Trey Kriger) — 30

10. Stankey Leg Studs (Jonathan Massey) — 21

HBBL champions:

2010: Bobby Hatcher (DL Disciples)

2009: David Pollock (Hooterville Express); runner-up — B.J. Davis (Nuke Lalooshes)

NOTE: Flagan, Lee and I both checked — while we were getting stats with players with max games accumulated, they were NOT being counted in the total stats at the end of the day.

HBBL update — rosters loaded

Well, I can’t finish loading the rosters until KEITH SPENCE gets into the league. I’ve texted him, so … if you have his number, tell him to hurry up and register so I can get our rosters loaded before the season begins Sunday night! Thanks!

UPDATE (NOON SATURDAY): The Spence-monster is in. I will load the rosters this afternoon or tonight. By tomorrow morning, you will be able to access your roster (or check here and I’ll let you know).

UPDATE (8:30 P.M. SATURDAY): Rosters are loaded. Go to Sunday and get your rosters set! Good luck.


Heads-up to my Hanks Blog Baseball League homies: I am loading the rosters now, but it’s going to take until probably tonight to finish. Thanks for taking part in the league — this is going to be a fun season!

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): If you’ve received an e-mail, go ahead and register; if you haven’t received one yet, post your e-mail addy in the comments or send it to me at Somehow, I just lost two hours of work because I didn’t have everyone signed up for their team.

Grrrr. Freaking Yahoo. Knew I should’ve gone ESPN.

So send me your e-mail addy’s and I’ll get this damned league loaded … hopefully.

Hanks Blog Baseball League 2010: the details

OK, HBBL freaks, here are the details for tonight’s fantasy baseball draft:

  • It begins at 7 p.m. at The Free Press office. I’ll be wrapping up pages and such, but the draft can begin without me.
  • We’ll draw for draft position at the draft.
  • Here are the position requirements — Starters: C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF, OF, two utility (any infield/outfield position), seven pitchers, four bench = 22 total players on your roster
  • Pitchers will have a 1,200 inning limit (seven pitchers multiplied by 162 games equals 1,134; decided to throw those other 66 innings in there because I’m a hell of a guy)
  • We’ll discuss the other rules at the draft
  • Here are the owners who will be at the draft — Hanks, Massey, BHatcher, Heelatious, Lee Wetherington, Spence; owners using chat (we can use Facebook or AOL; unfortunately, just found out my damned computer doesn’t have Skype capabilities!) — Flagan, The Kid; we’ll be drafting (using draft card) for Trey Kiger and David Pollock. That makes 10 of us

Hit me up here or at my e-mail for your pizza choices. I’m going Pizza Hut ’cause they rock and stuff, but let me know what you want.

Morning News Report; March 30, 2010


Former Lenoir County Republican Party chief Harry Edwards, who oversaw some of the greatest prosperity in local GOP history, announced yesterday he is not going to run for Chris Humphrey’s open county commissioner seat. Edwards said that surrendering his insurance license a year ago was not the reason for his withdrawl.

My take: And it’s too bad, too, because the primary between Edwards and Eric Rouse was shaping up to be a good one.

Good luck to Harry in his future; I’ve enjoyed my interaction with him in the past two years or so. He’s a good family man and someone who deeply cares about this community.


Latin pop musician Ricky Martin announced yesterday that he is a homosexual.

My take: OK, did ANYONE not see this coming? In other news — water is wet, the sky is blue and Jager is a damned fine beverage.

And somewhere — probably in Bucklesberry, because he’s not feeling well today (irony, eh?) — Jon Dawson sheds a grateful tear. I know why he’s working from home today — so he can listen to his Ricky Martin Greatest Hits Collection. Sweet!



Boston College head basketball coach Al Skinner has been fired.

My take: What surprised me about that news was that he was interviewing for the St. John’s job this weekend. Then I read that they fired him a week ago, but he asked them to keep it under wraps so he could interview for jobs. Shows that BC really respects him, I guess. Well, except for firing him and stuff.

The iPod shuffle

Foreplay Long Time — Boston

Amish Paradise — Weird Al Yankovic

My Favorite Mistake — Sheryl Crow

I Remember You — Skid Row

What’s Your Fantasy — Ludacris feat. Trina, Shawna and Foxy Brown

P.S.:I need to hear from Diamondheels, Jourbet and David Pollock in regards to the live fantasy draft tomorrow at 7 p.m. right here at The Free Press office. Quick lists:

At TFP: Hanks, Massey, BHatcher, Heelatious and Lee Wetherington

Skype, etc.: Flagan, The Kid

Pulled out: Trey Kiger, Jesterama

If those three are in, we have a 10-team league; are there any other players who want to get in who can live-draft with us at 7 p.m. tomorrow? Hit me up NOW. Later today, I’ll have a complete rundown of roster requirements, but I can tell you that it’ll be a 5X5 rotisserie league for scoring purposes. Hit me up one more final time about other rules you’d like to see and I’ll make a judgment today so you can prepare for the draft tomorrow. I know this: there’ll be a transaction limit (probably 50) and the league will have a 48 hours to protest trades. Anything else? Let me know.

P.P.S.S.: I have four tickets to today’s ECU-Elon baseball game. You know the drill — hit me up at and I’ll draw for them at about 2 p.m. today (sorry, have a ton of meetings today!).

Morning News Report; March 29, 2010


Lenoir County ABC GM Bruce Hill — who is also a Lenoir County Schools board member — has been accused by the state ABC board of having The Barn steakhouse owner change receipts to cover up an alcohol purchase at the restaurant.

My take: I’m going to be really interested to see how this one turns out — and not just from the local ABC board’s view. I think LCS Superintendent Dr. Terry Cline and the school board are going to have to address this issue, too.

This much is simple: Hill is likely to lose his local ABC board job, ’cause if he doesn’t, the state is likely to fire the entire board.


The Duke men’s basketball team became the only top-seeded team to make it to the Final Four this year, defeating Baylor, 78-71, last night.

My take: Remember — just a week before the tournament began, everyone had Kentucky and Kansas as the locks for the Final Four, with Duke a possible 2-seed. Funny how things change. Congrats to my Dookie friends, including the HB.


The children’s movie, “How To Train Your Dragon” topped the weekend box office, taking in $43.3 million. It unseated “Alice In Wonderland” ($17.3 million), which had been No. 1 for three weeks. It was followed by “Hot Tub Time Machine” ($13.7 million), “Bounty Hunter” ($12.4 million) and “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid” ($10 million).

My take: The HB and I saw “Hot Tub Time Machine” yesterday afternoon — and it was AWESOME. Of course, we’re both in our 40s and came of age in the 80s, so it appealed to us.

The reason I bring that up is because my good friend — and 20-year-old — Jonathan Massey saw it with some of his friends and they thought it stunk. Guess they didn’t get all the references? Still, I laughed about 50 times, including one time in which the HB thought I was having a stroke.


The Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame committee is accepting nominations for its 2010 class. You can send them to me at; the nomination needs to include all pertinent information. The deadline is this Sunday for nominations.

The iPod shuffle

Too Much — Elvis Presley

Miami — Will Smith

All Right Now — Free

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It — REM

I’m On A Boat — The Lonely Island (feat. T-Pain)

P.S.: I’ve settled on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. for the live fantasy draft at The Free Press office. I am going to provide the pizza and sodas, but I need a head count. If you can’t make it and want to do it online (or with a pre-loaded draft card), let me know ASAP.


I apologize for the lack of an MNR today and other things I’d like to get on here, but I’m up to my eyeballs with “real” work here at the ol’ FP. I’ve got a lot of things on my mind and I hope to update all of them tomorrow.

However, a couple of pressing things I need to get to before it gets too late:

  • Our own David Hall is reporting that East Carolina is ready to hire former UNC basketball player and Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo to head up its basketball program.
  • I’ve decided we’re going to have a live fantasy baseball draft, and we’re probably just going to do it here in the office (like we did our football draft). This week is piling up for me, so HBBL players, let me know which night next week works for you (other than Tuesday or Friday). Justin and Flagan, we’ll Skype or keep you on a conference call, so you can keep up with the draft that way. I’ll pop for pizzas and soft drinks for the peops who come to the office for the draft.
  • I have four tickets to tomorrow night’s ECU-High Point University baseball game at Clark-LeClair; let me know if you want them by e-mailing me at I’ll draw for them tomorrow at noon. In your e-mail, put “ECU baseball tickets” in the subject line and include whether you want 2 or 4 tickets in the body of the e-mail. Also include a phone number I can reach you at in the e-mail.

Morning News Report; March 18, 2010


… and you still have a few minutes remaining to get your picks in. Click here for more details to get in my pool (or even Mayor B.J. Murphy’s).

Click here if you’d like to watch live at work.


Sandra Bullock, the ECU hottie who won an Oscar in “The Blind Side,” might be headed towards divorce. Evidently, her d-bag husband is running around on her.

My take: How could someone cheat on her …


Idiot. And he allegedly did it with some tattooed freak that I can’t find a clean picture to post.


Guys — I will have details of the Hanks Blog Baseball League up soon. We are going to go with a live draft — so that means I need to know where you want to do it and when is a good time for all of us to do it. Hit me up in the comments or e-mail me.


Send me an e-mail to if you want tickets to any of this weekend’s games at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Put “ECU baseball” in the subject line and let me know how many tickets (2 or 4) to which game you desire:

  • Friday, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, 1 p.m.

By the by, super-referee Leo Lockhart won the tickets to Tuesday’s ECU/Gardner-Webb game.


Good-bye to Christopher L. Yates, whose last day at The Free Press is today. He has been a huge part of the process for the past 14 months and he is going to be greatly missed. Some of you met him at our fantasy football draft last August; join me in wishing him well as he heads to Lynchburg, Va.

The iPod shuffle

Why Don’t We Get Drunk — Jimmy Buffett

Running On Empty — Jackson Browne

Not Enough Time — INXS

FM — Steely Dan

Any Colour You Like — Pink Floyd