Afternoon News Report; Feb. 8, 2012

DUKE-CAROLINA — WHO YA’ GOT?

As I type this, the Duke-UNC rivalry game is about three hours away. The Tar Heels are 6 1/2-point favorites according to Vegas.

My take: I’m not a betting man, but I’d run with that 6 1/2 points ALL DAY LONG. If UNC doesn’t win by 10, I’ll be shocked.

Just too much athleticism on the Carolina squad — and I can’t help but feel the Heels are rounding into shape at just the right time.

LAROQUE GETS A PRIMARY CHALLENGER

N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque will have opposition in the Republican primary for District 10 in May: Wayne County’s John Bell, who made his announcement Tuesday in Kinston.

My take: I attended the announcement and was shocked at the lack of Lenoir Countians at the event. In fact, other than the two mentioned in the story, there was no one else there from Kinston or Lenoir County I recognized.

I’ve been asked a few times if I’m surprised someone is lining up against LaRoque … and I’m not. With everything swirling around him — of his own doing and that which has been “created” by enemies he’s created with his outspokenness – you had to know someone in the GOP would challenge him in the primary.

And have no doubt — it could be a nasty primary. While Bell was mostly positive in his announcement, he alluded to LaRoque’s legal troubles and waning support in the Republican Party and made it known he’ll do what it takes to win the primary.

So who wins — since LaRoque has made it known through channels he’s “99.9 percent” certain he’ll run for re-election? I don’t know. The last time LaRoque faced a challenger from Wayne County in the primary (Willie Ray Starling), he lost. But as much as folks want to denigrate LaRoque, don’t believe for a second he hasn’t built up a lot of good will with locals — especially here in Lenoir County. I think LaRoque has the edge at the moment, but let’s see how this campaign evolves in the next few weeks.

NINE SW EDGECOMBE HOOPS PLAYERS ARRESTED, KICKED OFF TEAM

Nine SW Edgecombe basketball players were charged with breaking into their school — and all have been kicked off the team.

My take: Wow — should make the Eastern Plains 2A tournament THAT much easier for SWE’s opponent next week!

The iPod shuffle

You’re Still The One — Shania Twain (my God, THIS is in my iPod?)

Call On Me — Chicago

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me — Culture Club (don’t judge, hell of a song)

Bonnie & Clyde — Jay-Z featuring Beyonce Knowles

Heart Of Glass — Blondie

Morning News Report; Nov. 25, 2011

Happy Black Friday to all my African-American friends, who celebrate this day every year to commemorate the history of their struggles and successes in America.

Wait — that’s not what “Black Friday” means? It’s so idiots can stand in line for hours and even days to buy junk? Oh … OK. Well, have a happy one of THOSE, too.

Anyhoo, now on to your MNR:

IDIOTIC BLACK FRIDAY NEWS

And yes … the idiots were out, even here in Kinston. Evidently, police/security had to use pepper spray at our Walmart when shoppers got out of hand; here’s a YouTube video of the incident:

Kinston isn’t the only place, though — evidently this type of behavior and results were taking place all over the country.

My take: Craziness. There’s nothing out there that would be worth me being potentially pepper-sprayed to buy it.

And what does this say about us as a society? When it comes down to brass tacks, we’re all just animals who react as such when presented these type of situations. Sad, really.

SHOWDOWN FRIDAY FOR KHS, A-G, JS

It’s finally here — the Eastern Regional finals for Kinston (vs. Reidsville), Ayden-Grifton (at Wallace-Rose Hill) and Jones Senior (at Manteo). What’s on the line? Only a trip to the 2AA, the 1AA and the 1A state championships.

My take: Want to know who’s winning but can’t make the game? I’ll be at Kinston but will be updating my Twitter feed at BCHanks throughout the game(s).

KHS quarterback C.J. Bradshaw has organized a “Black Friday” event of his own — he and the Vikings are encouraging everyone to wear black to tonight’s game.

Also, our good friend Michael Moon — an FOB, Free Press free-lancer, KHS softball coach and all-around good fella — let us know the Vikings softball team will be selling raffle tickets at tonight’s game for a new PlayStation3 that will be given away at the end of the third quarter. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5. You know, a PS3 would be an EXCELLENT gift for someone … and you wouldn’t even have to stand in line for 10 hours to get it.

LATEST ‘TWILIGHT’ MOVIE CAUSING MALE VIEWERS TO HAVE SEIZURES

The latest installment of the boorish “Twilight” series is not only terrible, according to critics — it also could be hazardous to your health. Evidently, the vampire birthing scene is causing some male viewers to have seizures. No joke.

My take: As if you — my predominantly male reading audience — needed another reason NOT to see this junk, at least now you have a reason; just tell your significant other, “Hey, if I go, it could give me a seizure! Don’t believe me, check Hanks’ blog!”

The iPod shuffle

You Made Your Bed — Robin Rogers

Beautiful Day — U2

Come As You Are — Nirvana

Dumb — Nirvana

Shake Ya Tailfeather — Nelly featuring P. Diddy & Murphy Lee

P.S.: I had the honor of seeing FOB — and defending Blog Pick ‘em champ — Eastern two weeks ago at the NCISAA 8-man championship game in Raleigh. Eastern — aka Mike Williams — is an official with the NCISAA who has attended EVERY 8-man championship game. And, as evidenced by his great play in our pick ‘em game, he knows his football! Here’s a photo I took at the game two weeks ago:

P.P.S.S.: A dear friend of mine, Michelle Hillison, has a very talented daughter who took some great photos of UNC’s victory against Tennessee State Tuesday night. They were so good, I used one with the game story. To see all of up-and-coming sports photographer Hayley Hillison’s photos from Tuesday’s game, click here.

Morning News Report; Nov. 23, 2011

THE 4.74 DEGREES OF SEPARATION (ON FACEBOOK)

In an interesting study by the University of Milan and Facebook, it’s been found the degree of separation between one random person and another is only 4.74 — and only 4.37 in America.

My take: If you thought the world was getting smaller … you were correct. Very, very interesting read — check it out!

REGGIE GOES FOR 23 IN UNC WIN

Former Kinston High School star Reggie Bullock popped for a career-high of 23 points — including a career-best six 3-pointers in seven attempts — in last night’s rout of Tennessee State.

Check out WRAL’s post-game interview with Reggie:


 

(Also — here’s an excellent video and blog post from former N&Oer and current ESPN reporter Robbi Pickeral in a 1-on-1 interview with Reggie)

My take: It’s good to see that smile on Reggie’s face again — and it’s good to see that shooting stroke back again.

READY FOR A HISTORIC FRIDAY NIGHT?

Ryan Herman and The Free Press are ready as Kinston, Ayden-Grifton and Jones Senior all play for their respective first chances for a state championship berth in the 2AA, 1AA and 1A football games.

My take: And who said this area is a basketball area? Should be a heck of a night Friday — if you want to follow updates from the games, follow my Twitter feed at BCHanks; I’ll be at Kinston, while Herman is at the A-G game (and we’re trying to find someone for the Jones Senior game).

And to answer Herman’s initial question in that link above — me, me, me. I picked 19 of the 32 regional finalists in Nick Stevens’ highschoolOT.com pre-playoffs video — including Kinston, A-G and JS in the regional finals. Yes kids, that’s known as “shameless self-promotion!”

The iPod shuffle

Run To You — Bryan Adams

Girl — Tori Amos

Whenever, Wherever — Shakira

Say You Will — Foreigner

Panama (Live) — Van Halen

Morning News Report; Nov. 11, 2011

Before we begin today, a quick thank-you to my veteran friends out there on this very special Veteran’s Day 2011 — and a shout-out to former LCC/North Lenoir baseball star and Army Ranger Zach Liles: I’m wearing my Lance Vogeler Memorial T-shirt today. Thanks to those currently protecting our freedoms and those who gave all. God bless you all.

JONES COUNTY NATIVE RETIRING FROM AIR FORCE … AFTER 46-YEAR CAREER

Speaking of Veterans Day, a very special serviceman from our neck o’ the woods — Air Force Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers — is retiring Jan. 1 after a 46-year career in the service of our country.

My take: How many of us were even alive when Gen. Flowers began his career? I’m old … and I wasn’t.

What was impressive about talking to the general was his life story — born to sharecropper teenage parents, working in the fields FULL-TIME when he was 10, signed into the Air Force when he was 17, spending 13 years as an enlisted man before becoming an officer and he’s now the longest-tenured general officer in any branch.

He’s the ultimate example of the American Dream — and an example of someone who worked his way to the top instead of someone who had 30 built-in excuses to stay down.

I truly enjoyed my interview with him and look forward to him coming home early next year so I can shake his hand.

HEELS, SPARTANS TIP OFF SEASON TONIGHT ON AIRCRAFT CARRIER

Reggie Bullock and the No. 1-ranked UNC Tar Heels tip off their season tonight against Michigan State — aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the San Diego Harbor.

My take: And I can’t wait to watch the game, albeit via DVR, since I’ll be covering the Parrott Academy-Word of God championship game tonight in Raleigh.

While you’re checking out Luke DeCock’s excellent story on the erection of the court (heh, heh X2), watch the time-lapse video with the story — pretty awesome.

What a fantastic idea — especially to play this game on Veterans Day — and one I’m glad was able to come into fruition. Go America!

NATIONALS CATCHER KIDNAPPED IN VENEZUELA

Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, has been kidnapped for ransom in his native Venezuela.

My take: A terribly awful story, to be sure, and one that’s happened to other people in the poorer countries in South America for years.

If you were an MLB player from one of those countries, why would you go home when you knew this was a possibility? I know your family and friends are there, but … damn. A terrible, terrible story.

WHEELS, TIRES STOLEN FROM LINCOLN CO. SHERIFF CRUISERS

Here’s your news of the weird for today — seven tires and wheels were stolen from brand-new Ford Crown Victoria’s … from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. According to the Charlotte Observer, the cruisers were in a parking lot and the missing wheels and tires could’ve been gone for about two weeks before being discovered.

My take: You KNOW this is embarrassing for those authorities.

And who do you know who is FROM Lincoln County? Our very own Ryan Herman, a proud graduate of West Lincoln High School. AND he drives a Ford Mustang.

Hang on … I’m calling the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office!

The iPod shuffle

The Man Who Sold The World — Nirvana

Fight The Power — Public Enemy

(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long — Chicago

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling — The Righteous Brothers

Volcano — Jimmy Buffett

P.S.: Here’s a little funny video exit to the MNR for this week — a Cleveland Browns fan rails at his football stadium. Take 71 seconds and watch this … and tell me you haven’t felt this way at one time or another about YOUR team(s). I know I do about my Redskins:


 

“You are a factory of sadness! See you Sunday.”

Nightly News Report; Oct. 26, 2011

Good grief … I’m sorry, guys and gals, but life and work has been kicking my ass. Seriously can’t remember the last time I’ve gone five days without posting here — but not going to let it happen again.

Thanks for the concerned calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages — I probably don’t tell y’all this enough, but I truly appreciate you for taking the time to visit this little spot and for taking the time to check on me and the HB (who appreciates all of you, too!).

I have a massive MNR ANR NNR for your perusal, standings update, game pick ‘ems and survivor pool update before my head hits a pillow tonight.

KINSTON CITY COUNCIL PODCASTS

Free Press government writer David Anderson has stories on the six Kinston City Council candidates while Jon Dawson and I have podcasts accompanying David’s work (click on the link at the end of each candidate’s story).

My take: And today is just Day 1 of the fun and games. Thursday, we feature the Pink Hill mayor’s race; Friday is Pink Hill town board (I’ll have strong comments on that one tomorrow); Saturday is La Grange town board; Sunday features Greene County races; and Monday brings you Jones County.

There is absolutely no better place for you to go to get to know these candidates than in these stories and podcasts. You get to hear the candidates in their own voices, unfiltered and without bias.

I have to give serious props to Anderson, Justin “The Kid” Hill, Wesley Brown and Jane Moon for putting their stories together — they produced these stories ON TOP of the regular work they churn out.

Much love has to go to J-Dizzle Dawson, though — he produced each and every one of the podcasts, even living through one of my particularly gaseous days in his office last week. Trust me — he deserves combat pay for that day of work.

One final nugget on the Kinston City Council candidates — here’s how the six rank in page views/listens (not that it is any indicator of who is actually going to win the race): Kelly Jarman, Sammy C. Aiken, John Nix, Jimmy Cousins, Joe Tyson and Lennie Peterson.

Gotta admit, I figured Nix and Tyson would have more and Aiken would have less.

E. COLI OUTBREAK … FROM STATE FAIR?

Nine people — including seven children — have contracted the E. Coli infection, with three in Raleigh hospitals in intensive care. Eight of those nine attended the State Fair last week.

My take: As did the HB and I on Saturday, where I ate nearly everything in the fairgrounds. Don’t believe me? Check out my Facebook page and look at the pictures, where I went on a fair-food eating binge where I ate — no joke — a turkey leg, a Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger, deep-fried macaroni and cheese and deep-fried Oreos.

Don’t have a complaint about ANY of it, either … unless I get E. Coli from it.

UNC CAMO UNIS/JOHNSON PICKS HEELS

Quite a day for UNC basketball as the Tar Heels announced what their camo uniforms will look like for the Nov. 11 Carrier Classic game:

(Photo from TarHeelBlue.com; click on it for a better view)

The Heels program also received a signficant verbal commitment from Brice Johnson, a four-star 6-9, 200-pound forward ranked 25th overall by ESPNU and 49th overall by Rivals.com in the Class of 2012 from Cordova, S.C.

My take: Gotta admit … that camo Carolina Blue is pretty sweet. There, I said it. The fact the Heels will all be wearing U.S.A. on their backs instead of their names is pretty freaking cool, too.

And getting Johnson, who will probably end up top 20 (or higher) before the season ends? Good grief. Save some for the rest of us, Ol’ Roy?

UNC/DUKE PLAY DIRTY

Thanks to The Kid (Justin E. Hill) for this cool nugget: according to the Wall Street Journal, while Auburn-Georgia is the “dirtiest” college football rivalry over the past five meetings, UNC-Duke is No. 2. Seriously.

My take: Interestingly, UNC-NCSU is the ninth-dirtiest, making the Tar Heels the only program to be ranked twice in the top 10.

YOU CHOOSE WITN GAME OF THE WEEK

WITN NBC-7 has a feature that is pretty doggoned cool — you pick the game sports anchor Billy Weaver names the station’s prep football game of the week. This week, you get to choose between Ayden-Grifton/Goldsboro, Jacksonville Northside/East Duplin and two other insignificant games.

My take: Have to grudingly admit — that’s a pretty cool idea. I can’t believe there’s only 12 votes right now (around 10:30 p.m., Wednesday); I figured there’d be dozens of votes pouring in right now.

As much as I love A-G (Chargers coach Paul Cornwell is our Free Press High School Football Podcast guest this week, which will be posted tomorrow), that Northside/East Duplin has to be the game of the week, hands-down.

KINSTON, A-G CLIMB AP RANKS

Kinston climbed one spot to No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press 2A prep football poll, while A-G jumped one spot to No. 5 in the 1A poll.

The Vikings are No. 10 in Deana King’s ncpreps.com 2A poll, while the Chargers are No. 6 in her 1A poll.

Neither Kinston or A-G are in Chris Hughes’ CarolinaPreps.com statewide poll – but that’s not an insult to the Vikings or Chargers. Chris has a unique poll that ranks ALL the prep football teams in the state and places them in a top 25.

In the interest of full disclosure, our very own Ryan Herman is a voter in the AP and CarolinaPreps.com polls.

My take: Only one week of high school football left, kids! I’ll have a separate blog post on some of my thoughts to accompany the podcast tomorrow — I think you’ll find it interesting…

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Mess With My Man — Nivea featuring Brian & Brandon Casey

Don’t Do Me Like That — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Holiday — Green Day

O Let’s Do It (Remix) — Waka Flocka Flame featuring Diddy, Rick Ross & Gucci Mane

Never Let ‘Em C U Sweat — Nelly & The Teamsters

Morning News Report; July 15, 2011

BULLOCK CLEARED TO PLAY

Kinston’s Reggie Bullock has laced ‘em back up and is back on the court for UNC following rehabilitation from a knee injury.

My take: From everything I’ve heard — he’s 100 percent back. This is going to be a breakout season for him and the Tar Heels — who are pretty much everyone’s pick to win the national title in 2012.

CLEMENS TRIAL ENDS IN MISTRIAL

The perjury trial for former baseball star Roger Clemens ended in a mistrial yesterday when the government screwed up. Experts aren’t sure there’ll be a retrial because of possible double jeopardy concerns.

My take: He might’ve gotten away with this but know this — he’ll never be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guess he’ll just have to make do with his millions of dollars…

FINAL HARRY POTTER OPENS

The final installment of the Harry Potter movie series opened at midnight to packed theaters full of geeky goodness. It is expected to have the largest financial opening of any movie in history.

My take: I can proudly say I haven’t watched one minute of any of the HP movies — but more power to those who have lived and died with this series.

The iPod shuffle

Signs — Tesla

I Will Survive — Gloria Gaynor

Funky Cold Medina — Tone-Loc

What’s Going On — Marvin Gaye

Look At Me Now — Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

Morning News Report; April 13, 2011

FIRST LADY VISITING LEJEUNE TODAY

First Lady Michelle Obama is visiting Camp Lejeune today — and our sister paper, the Jacksonville Daily News, is covering it wall-to-wall.

My take: Hope Hodge and the folks at JDN are doing a fantastic job with this — if you’re interested, check it out.

UNC, MICHIGAN STATE TO PLAY ABOARD CARRIER

UNC — likely next year’s No. 1 preseason team if Harrison Barnes returns — and Michigan State will play college basketball’s first official game aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier on Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

My take: I don’t know whose idea this was — but it’s brilliant. What a way to honor our servicemen and women by bringing big-time basketball to them. I’d LOVE to be credentialled for that game!

J.LO NAMED PEOPLE MAGAZINE’S MOST BEAUTIFUL PERSON

“American Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez has been named People’s Most Beautiful Person for 2011.

My take: Gotta admit, she’s pretty well-preserved for 41. Not even going to argue it … although I can think of a few others (Anne Hathaway, anyone?) who would be better-suited for this made-up title.

Anyhoo, a look at Ms. Lopez:

(Click on the images for larger photos)

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey

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

Precious Things — Tori Amos

Straight Outta Compton — N.W.A.

I’m On Fire — Bruce Springsteen

UNC odds and ends

Can’t believe I’m doing an entire post dedicated to Carolina … but here goes:

OK, that’s enough pro-UNC talk for today. Good luck against Marquette tonight — gotta beat down the Big (L)East…

Bryan’s swap and shop

Our good friend Jon Dawson has acquired four tickets to Tuesday’s UNC-Chapel Hill vs. UNC-Asheville basketball game that will be held at the House That Dave Popson Built. He is willing to part with these tickets for the small, small fee of “face value” (he can’t remember what it is).

The tickets are in the front row of the middle section at the Dean Dome, so there will be no obnoxious fans sitting immediately in front of you. Plenty of them behind you, but none in front of you.

If you’re interested in seeing Reggie Bullock and the boys, pop Dawson an e-mail at jdawson@freedomenc.com.