Afternoon News Report, Oct. 6, 2011

RIP, STEVE JOBS

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died yesterday at the age of 56 after losing a battle to pancreatic cancer.

My take: There are literally tens of thousands of tributes to Jobs on the Internet right now, but I’ll add my few inconsequential words.

Steve Jobs was — as some said last night — our generation’s Thomas Edison, our Leonardo da Vinci. That PC you’re reading this on? He had a hand in its development. The iPod you have all your CDs on? That was his vision. The iPhone that every other company in the world has (unsuccessfully, I might add) attempted to mimic? It was his dream.

Steve Jobs IS the American Dream personified. He was a college dropout with big dreams — and with his own sweat, blood and tears, he made his dreams come true.

When I was a teenager, I thought 56 was old. Now that I’m 42, I realize what a fool I was as a teenager. Jobs had 20, 30 and 40 more years to dazzle us with his inventions and ideas … and now he’s gone. Where is the next Steve Jobs?

Here is that YouTube video everyone was referencing last night on Twitter and in his memorials throughout the world. PLEASE take 15 minutes and watch it. I just did — even though I was interrupted five (!) times by real life, but it was worth it. You will appreciate his words.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Indeed — what a great man who will truly be missed.

PALIN DECIDES NOT TO RUN IN 2012

In a letter to supporters last night, Sarah Palin announced she will not run for president in 2012.

My take: I was a little bit surprised, but not shocked. As this excellent column from CNN’s L.Z. Granderson states, she showed exactly how smart she is by not running for the country’s top office.

My favorite part of Granderson’s well-written piece:

She’s like a performance artist whose opinions are rarely second-guessed, whose tongue is rarely censored. She’s rich and famous and essentially has no one to answer to. Her persona is so mesmerizing that her daughter Bristol, a mother at 18, gets paid to talk about abstinence.

We should all be as dumb as Sarah Palin.

And he’s right on point — why run and be politically assassinated every day by CNN and MSNBC when she can be the (beautiful) hero on the white horse, riding in to help all the GOP candidates who are inevitably going to clean up next year in the anti-Obama furor that’s going to exist next year.

She’s a lot smarter than we give her credit for.

ESPN, HANK WILLIAMS JR. DIVORCE

ESPN informed Hank Williams Jr. it will no longer be using his “Are You Ready For Some Football” opening to its Monday Night Football intro after the country singer compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Williams, however, is claiming he broke up with ESPN.

Regardless — and this might be the best news of this whole misadventure — we won’t have to hear that overplayed ditty ever again to start MNF.

My take: So … who will sing the next MNF intro? Any suggestions?

SIDNEY LOWE FINDS A JOB

Former N.C. State head basketball coach Sidney Loweis now an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz.

My take: Good for Coach Lowe — one of the decent human beings out there. Hope he gets back on his feet and has his own team — college or NBA — soon.

The iPod shuffle

Hell Yeah — The Bloodhound Gang

Hot In The City — Billy Idol

Call On Me — Chicago

We Right Here — DMX

Devil Inside — INXS

Nightly News Report; Oct. 4, 2011

As many of my newspaper brethren and sisteren will tell you — today is a crazy day as we all ship our North Carolina Press Association award entries to Raleigh. Sorry I’ve been away from you, fellow bloggees, but had to get our awards packet to the NCPA.

Here, 12 hours or so late, is the first NNR:

NEW IPHONE UNVEILED

Apple held its long-awaited announcement about the new iPhone — but it won’t be a 5. The new iPhone4S will be for sale Oct. 12.

My take: This was as anticlimatic an Apple announcement as there has ever been. So the 4S will be a little bit faster and has a better camera? Means I’ll stick with my 4 and be VERY happy.

Makes you wonder if there is a 5 in the wings and they’re just trotting this out to stay on top of the market for a while?

RIP, USPS?

The U.S. Postal Service has run into some tough times of late, to the point where some are talking about disbanding it altogether. Here, Randall Stross of the N.Y. Times has a nice piece on the problems facing the USPS and the paralysis surrounding it right now.

My take: The Post Office is a lot like my industry — it’s been pushed to the pasture by that blasted Internet. But while I’d like to think we’ll always need news-gathering sources (like your friendly newspaper), I’m really worried about the USPS, which is growing more and more irrelevant everyday.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL RACISM?

Hank Williams Jr., who has asked if you’re ready for some football on “Monday Night Football” for a long, long time, had his intro yanked for last night’s game after comparing President Obama to Hitler. He’s apologized several times since his gaffe.

My take: Sounds like he’s realized exactly how dumb his comment was. Sadly, though, there are a lot of folks out there who have those extreme thoughts about our president.

Listen — I don’t think Obama is doing a great job AT ALL; in fact, I’d give him a D-minus for his performance thus far. But I sincerely think he WANTS to do well — and he’s no Hitler, for God’s sake. I think he’s got the Jimmy Carter Syndrome — not at all prepared for the job and way, way over his head.

But back to Hank Jr. — how much do you think he gets paid to knock out that 90 seconds of personalizing that ditty every week? $50,000? $100,000? That would be a cool thing to find out.

The iPod shuffle — the U2 edition. ‘Cause that’s what I feel like today

Love Rescue Me — U2

Gone (New Mix) — U2

Big Girls Are Best — U2

Yahweh — U2

In A Little While — U2

P.S.: Excited about our podcast guests this week; we’re going to have Kinston head football coach Nick Anderson on to talk about his Vikings taking on Tarboro in arguably the biggest game in ENC this week on the prep football podcast.

On the Free Press Radio Program, Kinston City Councilman Will Barker and Kinston’s favorite son (and MLB player) Chris Hatcher will also be joining me and Jon Dawson.

Both podcasts will be posted Thursday afternoon. As always, I’ll post links here.

Morning News Report; June 30, 2011

CLINE SET TO RESIGN TONIGHT

Unless things change dramatically, Lenoir County Schools Superintendent Terry Cline is going to tender a forced resignation at tonight’s school board meeting. Here’s my special column on my thoughts about the move.

My take: I’m really disappointed in what’s happening with this situation. Dr. Cline is a good and decent man of God who truly loves the kids in this county. Evidently, he fired the wrong people at the wrong time — or forced the retirement of others.

If this goes through — and there’s really no reason to think it won’t, at this point — Lenoir County is losing a great advocate for its children.

HIDDEN CAMERA ALLEGEDLY CATCHES ‘TO CATCH A PREDATOR’ DUDE

You know that “To Catch A Predator” host, Chris Hansen? Allegedly, the 51-year-old was caught on camera cheating with a 30-year-old in Florida. He’s married and the father of two.

But now for the Paul Harvey Moment: This is being reported by the National Enquirer, Jon Dawson’s favorite paper of record. Although they were correct about John Edwards, the NE doesn’t exactly have a spotless record when it comes to investigative reporting.

My take: Don’t know if it’s true or not … but it’s definitely funny as hell.

WILD THING ON STEROIDS DURING MAJOR LEAGUE?

Say it ain’t so, Ricky Vaughn; Charlie Sheen admitted he was on steroids for six to eight weeks while making “Major League.”

My take: I’d say I was surprised … but I’m not. Still a heck of a movie — and one of those that, if it’s on any channel, I get sucked in and can’t turn the channel.

The iPod shuffle

Still In Love — Boston

These Are Days — 10,000 Maniacs

Leather — Tori Amos

Raising Hell — Run-D.M.C.

Crazy For You — Madonna

Morning News Report; July 28, 2010

WE’RE LAZY IN N.C.

According to a new study released in BusinessWeek, North Carolina is the fourth-laziest state in the U.S.

My take: Seriously? I don’t think N.C. is the busiest by any stretch, but the fact we’re in the top 10 surprises me.

T.O. JOINS OCHOCINCO IN CINCY

Terrell Owens will join Chad Ochocinco as a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals next season.

Unfortunately, this blogger from the San Francisco Gate has the gall to think people reporting this fact are racist.

My take: Well, color me racist, I guess; T.O. is controversial and he has a competing TV show on VH1 with “85.” So, according to that guy, you’re racist if you report that. And yes, I can “draw up” a football play, so I can write whatever the hell I want. Your whole reaction is racist in and of itself … so get over yourself, you hypocrite.

Dude, it’s 2010 — GET OVER IT. There are people (you included, evidently) who will try to turn EVERYTHING into a racial incident. Geez.

SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY IS AUG. 14

The Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2010 will be inducted at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14 at LCC’s Sportatorium. Included in this year’s class are South Lenoir legends Jimmy Smith and Linwood Hartsell, along with our good friend — and renowned referee/umpire — Tommy Mattocks.

My take: As I’ve been on the committee since its inception, I can tell you A LOT of work has gone into this. It’s going to be a fantastic ceremony — and I hope to see a lot of you Blue Devil supporters out there. As the linked story states, tickets are $25 each and are available at The Free Press office, the Parks and Rec HQ, Grainger Stadium and (forgot to add this in the story) South Lenoir High School.

The iPod shuffle

Get On Your Boots — U2

Vasoline — Stone Temple Pilots

While You See A Chance — Steve Winwood

Love Rescue Me — U2

Mama — Genesis

Afternoon News Report; July 21, 2010

Before I start today’s ANR, a quick note — AT&T is having some issues in Eastern N.C., so if you’ve been trying to reach me on my cell phone, you’re out of luck. Fellow iPhone dude Jimmy Taylor and I have been lamenting the lack of service this morning … and it sucks.

Oh well … on to the ANR:

FULCHER PLEADS REDUX

Full coverage of Michael Fulcher’s pleading is in today’s Free Press and online at Kinston.com; the story about Fulcher’s case is here, while Fulcher’s interview with us is located here.

My take: As I stated yesterday, I’ve known Coach Fulcher for a long time, about six years. I do consider him a friend. But we handled this story as I would for someone I don’t know — we presented both sides and gave him an opportunity to respond. We reported everything — the good, the bad and the ugly — and I stand by our coverage.

Our crime reporter, Wesley Brown, also got in touch with the alleged victim in this case, too, and gave her an opportunity to have her voice in the story. She originally agreed, but when Wesley called her back, she decided not to speak. That’s her call.

This is now behind all of us. I sincerely hope Coach Fulcher has another chance to coach and teach in a year, with some valuable lessons in hand. I know if I had a daughter being taught by him or even coached by him, I wouldn’t have a problem with it whatsoever. In my view, in his view and — most importantly — in the view of the law, he made some stupid decisions in text-messaging with this teenaged student of the school where he was principal. He has paid for his stupid mistakes in spades.

RACISM CASE EXPLODES IN U.S. AG DEPARTMENT

A longtime U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, Shirley Sherrod, was fired this week after an interview of her from 24 years ago making what appeared to be racist statements. She said today she’s not sure she’d accept her job back if it was offered.

My take: Admittedly, I haven’t read as much as I need to on this, but it appears the Obama administration simply overreacted too quickly. Instead of getting all the details — including watching the rest of the damned video where she clarifies her comments! — they jumped too soon and fired this lady.

Lesson here: Know the whole story before you fire someone!

LOHAN ALLOWED TO TAKE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, COULD BE OUT IN 2 WEEKS

OK, I’ll join the rest of the media world with a Lindsay Lohan story — as you know, she’s in jail for a 90-day sentence for skipping out on alcohol rehab classes. Now, there’s a report that she could be out of jail in as few as two weeks with good behavior. She’s also able to take her ADD medicine (Adderall) and a sleep aid (Ambien) while she’s behind bars.

My take: Eh, whatever. Haven’t we learned that if you have enough money, you can get away with anything? If Heelatious had done some of the things she had done (avoiding police, drinking and driving ALL THE TIME, etc.), he’d be under the Lenoir County Jail right now.

The iPod shuffle

Hitch A Ride — Boston

Boom — The Bloodhound Gang

Sunday Bloody Sunday — U2

Hole Hearted — Extreme

The Times They Are A-Changin’ — Bob Dylan

Afternoon News Report; July 6, 2010

STD’S UP AMONG VIAGRA-USING DUDES

Men over 40 who are using Viagra and other sex enhancement drugs are one of the fastest-growing demographics in the rise of sexually-transmitted diseases.

My take: Fantastic.

My favorite part of the story was the lede: Something is on the rise for men who take erectile dysfunction drugs and it’s not what you think.

Again … fantastic.

FORMER JUSTICE OFFICIAL ACCUSES DEPT. OF RACIAL BIAS

A former official in the U.S. Justice Department has accused his former bosses of racial bias in a case featuring the New Black Panther Party in the 2008 presidential election in Philadelphia.

Although the above link doesn’t go into exquisite details, I’m pretty sure it deals with the same Loretta King who passed down the ridiculous decision in Kinston for nonpartisan voting.

My take: Racism doesn’t just go one way — it goes both ways. This needs to be dealt with the same vigor that racism against African-Americans is used.

JAMARCUS RUSSELL ARRESTED FOR DRINKING ‘SIP-SIP’

Former No. 1 overall NFL pick Jamarcus Russell was arrested yesterday for possession of codeine syrup, which is being used in a drink called “sip-sip” — it’s mixed with Sprite or 7-Up.

My take: What a freaking waste of talent. He’s still only 25, so there’s still an outside chance he might get it turned around. Maybe.

The iPod shuffle

Say My Name (Maurice’s Bass 200 Mix) — Destiny’s Child

Love Comes Tumbling — U2

Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own — U2

Magnificient — U2

Until The End Of Time — Justin Timberlake featuring the Benjamin Wright Lyrics

Morning News Report; April 29, 2010

ALABAMA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE WANTS DRIVER’S TEST ONLY IN ENGLISH

And continuing our xenophobic conversations from yesterday, a candidate for governor in Alabama wants his residents to only have an English language driving test.

My take: OK, I’m just poking the bear(s) with the xenophobic comment … but this is ridiculous. It makes no business sense for this to happen, unless he simply wants to close his borders to everyone.

What worries me about this kind of ad is getting the kinds of people I grew up with in the mountains of N.C. all fired up: “Yee-ha! We don’t want no durned fureners heer anyway! Eerone should speak and learn English as good as I speak it!” Yep.

The sad thing is the brilliance of this move. Alabamians (Alabamans? Alabamiens?) aren’t exactly known to be the smartest people in the world anyway and enough idiots will be “inspired” by this to vote for him.

Here’s the ad for your own perusal:

JULIA ROBERTS: WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN (ACCORDING TO PEOPLE MAGAZINE)

People Magazine has named Julia Roberts its most beautiful woman in the world … for the fourth time.

My take: Seriously? I could come up with about 1,000 other actresses who are much, MUCH hotter than the woman whose mouth is infinitely too big for her face:

042910-julia-roberts-mouth1.jpg 

042910-julia-roberts-mouth-2.jpg

042910-julia-roberts-mouth3.jpg

OK, so maybe that last picture has had some Photoshop work … but not by much!

Anyhoo, here’s my choice for “World’s Most Beautiful Woman,” as selected by you, dear bloggee, in last year’s Eye Candy of the Day Tournament — Hillary Fisher:

042910-hillary-fisher.jpg

Y’all do remember her, right? Julia Roberts has NOTHING on her. Can a brother get an amen?

WUFFIES GET LESLIE

The N.C. State basketball program received a verbal commitment from five-star recruit C.J. Leslie of Raleigh yesterday afternoon.

My take: Admittedly, I’m shocked — I was about 95 percent certain Leslie was headed to Mercenary U (Kentucky). And while I am happy for State coach Sidney Lowe, I hope he gets as much out of him as he can in the one season he’s going to have him.

But with Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown already signed — and Rocky Mount’s Tashawn Mabry ready to sign, too — this is shaping up to be one of the top classes in the country.

Still … I wish Bo Ingram was headed there. It’s a damned shame that one of North Carolina’s top players won’t play for the school he always dreamed of playing for.

The iPod shuffle

Love Walks In — Van Halen

Girls, Girls, Girls — Motley Crue

Till I Hear It From You — Gin Blossoms

Time For Myself — Robin Rogers

It’s My Life — Talk Talk

Morning News Report; Feb. 11, 2010

WELL … I WAS WRONG

Duke 64, North Carolina 54.

My take: And that really surprised me. Tar Heel fans — I think it’s going to be a tough finish for y’all.

JOHN MAYER APOLOGIZES FOR USING ‘N’ WORD

Rock musician John Mayer broke down and cried at a concert in Nashville yesterday after apologizing on Twitter for using the “N” word in a Playboy Magazine interview.

My take: Mayer in back-to-back days on the MNR; what is the world coming to? But this discourse brings up an even bigger topic.

The “N” word is certainly a hot-topic issue and it has been for years. Here’s my feeling on it — it should never ever, never ever be used by a white person. Never. Ever. Never. Ever.

It’s a hateful word and was used as a derogatory term by whites towards blacks for generations.

“But Bryan,” you say, “I hear rappers and black people call each other that name all the time!”

So? That’s their call. If one black person wants to call another black person that or use the word conversationally, that’s their decision.

And no, white people, putting an “a” at the end of the word instead of “er” doesn’t make it “N”-word lite. I’m sick of seeing white wanna-be gangstas on Facebook using the “a”, thinking it makes them ghetto-fabulous. No, it makes you look stupid and racist, you douchebag. Study or go to class.

Back to Mayer: I don’t think he’s racist, just stupid. He lives in a protected shell and thinks (or thought) he’s bulletproof and that he can whatever he wants to say. He’s found out quite the opposite.

JOHN EDWARDS ENGAGED TO MISTRESS?

The National Enquirer is reporting that John Edwards is engaged to his former mistress, but his camp is denying it.

My take: At this point in the Edwards saga, would you be surprised if he is? Me either.

What a jerkwad.

The iPod shuffle

Train, Train — Blackfoot

If I Had — Eminem

She Believes In Me — Kenny Rogers

Stronger — Kanye West

The Bed’s Too Big Without You — The Police

The Klan has a basketball league?

This one is a head-scratcher: there is a new professional basketball league beginning — and it’s only open to white players. The All-American Basketball Alliance is striving to have 12 franchises in mostly Southern cities, although Augusta, Ga., has already told the AABA to stay away.

My take: Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke, although it should be. I’m guessing the players will have to take their hoods off to play, right?

Why would anyone want to watch this, anyway?

It’s junk like this that keeps America in the racist mess that it’s in. I hope this whole idea fades away … and fast.