Free Press Radio Show – Jan. 17, 2013

The latest show features me and Jon Dawson interviewing Brian North about a variety of subjects, including Manti Te’o, Lance Armstrong, Kinston High School basketball, Lenoir County basketball, Jamie McCuthcheon’s hair and something you guys are used to: a live iPod shuffle.

Enjoy the show by clicking here!

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. 14, 2012

DALTON VISITS KINSTON

The leading Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, dropped in to Kinston yesterday for a campaign stop.

My take: One problem — he didn’t tell anyone (including The Free Press and the local TV stations) he was coming. Only because Dalton innocuously tweeted about it on his Twitter feed (and Justin “The Kid” Hill saw it) did we find out and have a reporter there to let the good folks of Kinston know about his visit.

Dalton’s campaign strategies to this point have been mind-baffling. First, he announces he’s running on the same day Bev Perdue makes her shocking decision not to run, burying his news deep in every North Carolina paper and news feed that day. Then, he visits Kinston for a “campaign stop” without telling media.

The concerning thing about the latter is that maybe he didn’t want anyone in Kinston or our area to know — other than big money folks who’ll bankroll his campaign … you know the REALLY important people.

If that’s the reason, that’s not cool; you’re coming to town to just talk to the people who are going to pay the bills? If failing to tell media was just an oversight, it’s a stupid move on his campaign’s part. So … which is it?

He may be the frontrunner for the Democratic bid, but if he continues doing things like this, he won’t be for long. He might be the best candidate for the job — who really knows at this point? — but he and his campaign aren’t doing him any favors right now.

SANDUSKY INAPPROPRIATELY TOUCHED GRANDSON, EX-DAUGHTER-IN-LAW ALLEGES

Accused child rapist Jerry Sandusky is being accused by his former daughter-in-law of inappropriately touching one of his grandsons.

My take: There’s a WHOLE lot of smoke here; hard to believe there isn’t some truth to all these allegations.

ECU TO BE PART OF HUGE-ASS CONFERENCE

East Carolina will be part of a Conference USA/Mountain West league that will include anywhere from 18-24 members.

My take: Well … this was the worst-case scenario for ECU since the Pirates never received that elusive Big East bid. Still, there really should be a BCS bid built in here or what’s the point?

KATE UPTON NAMED 2012 SI COVERGIRL

Kate Upton, a 19-year-old from Florida, is this year’s Sports Illustrated cover girl. Here she is on the cover:

Click on this for a much, much better view.

My take: Uh, wow. Happy Valentine’s Day, guys.

For poops and giggles, take a gander at a few more shots at Ms. Upton:

Again, click on these for better views.

The iPod shuffle

Wait For Me — Daryl Hall & John Oates

Easy Lover — Phil Collins

Heaven Is A Place On Earth — Belinda Carlisle

Teach Me How To Dougie — Cali Swag District

Be Near Me — ABC

On Coach Hines, Coach Eason, Joshua Lovick and polls

Some nuggets for your perusal tonight:

  • Really enjoyed putting together this story on Shonda Hines, the head girls’ basketball coach at Rochelle Middle School. Not only is she a successful coach at RMS, she also helps Hubert Quinerly with the varsity team at Kinston HS and is the mother of three great young men in Curtis “Nootsie” Hines, Dory Hines and Reggie “Tigger” Clark Jr. It was truly an honor to write that story — she’s a great mother who deserves a lot of praise.
  • One of the good guys in our area — and arguably, one of the most humble — was honored last week when South Lenoir thanked its retiring baseball coach, Troy Eason, for his 28 years of service to the program. I could do an entire post on Coach Eason (and probably should), but the ol’ ball coach wouldn’t want that. I’ll say this about the coach — I’m not sure I’ve ever been around a coach who truly didn’t want any acclaim than Coach Eason. He truly wanted to have all attention on his kids, not on him. Good luck in retirement, Coach!
  • David Hall did a fantastic job catching us up on the progress of ECU/former Kinston star Joshua Lovick in a Sunday article. Josh might be one of the smartest and — like Coach Eason — one of the most humble young men I’ve ever covered. Hope he gets a chance to show his stuff this year, but even if he doesn’t, it’s coming for him. Heck of a kid, heck of a family.
  • With their loss at North Pitt last week, Kinston’s boys fell in this week’s NCPreps.com 2A poll. The Vikings were No. 1 the previous two weeks, but fell to fourth behind East Rutherford, Waxhaw Cuthbertson and undefeated Croatan. The Kinston girls remained eighth in their poll, while the Jones Senior girls stayed at No. 7 in the 1A poll.

ECU releases football schedule

OK, Pirate Nation — your basketball team stinks, your baseball coach has been suspended … but at least you have football to look forward to! Here’s the 2012 ECU football schedule, hot off the press:

Sept. 1 – Appalachian State

Sept. 8 – at South Carolina

Sept. 15 – at Southern Miss*

Sept. 22 – at UNC

Sept. 29 – UTEP*

Oct. 6 – at Central Florida*

Oct. 13 – Memphis*

Oct. 20 – at UAB*

Oct. 27 – Navy

Nov. 3 – Houston*

Nov. 17 – at Tulane*

Nov. 24 – Marshall*

My take: All us/you ACC fans can say what we want, but ECU doesn’t back down from anyone when it comes to its football scheduling. Instead of putting LCC or a D-2 team on its schedule, the Pirates get the best FCS team (Appalachian State) in the country, along with games at South Carolina and Chapel Hill, and include a home contest against an up-and-coming Navy squad.

Not too shabby. Now, if C-USA were a legit conference …

Nightly News Report; Nov. 14, 2011

SANDUSKY ADMITS TO SHOWERING WITH BOYS

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky told Bob Costas he is not a pedophile although he admitted to showering with young boys.

My take: And somewhere, Sandusky’s lawyer is shaking his head.

Who thinks this thing ends up making it to trial without someone trying to shoot this pedophile (yes, I said it) or him killing himself (and saving taxpayers the money for the trial and his prison time)?

FORMER ECU QB CHARGED WITH STEALING FROM EMPLOYER

Patrick Pinkney, who started at quarterback for ECU for parts of two seasons, was arrested today for allegedly embezzling more than $4,000 from the Roanoke Rapids Belk, where he was the assistant manager.

My take: I … I just don’t know where to start with this. He worked at … Belk? And nothing against Belk — I enjoy shopping there as much as the next person.

I don’t know, I just picture a former QB from ECU as an assistant coach for a college or high school program. But stealing from Belk? Wowzer.

MISTAKES R US

A new website/blog has been created that chronicles the mistakes made in the News and Observer — and it’s hilarious.

My take: One favor, though: PLEASE don’t create one that chronicles the mistakes in The Free Press! Pretty please!

Reminds me of a cool feature on the old Steve Czaban Show in Charlotte, where Czabe would find the Mistake of the Day in the Charlotte Observer. He’d even play Men At Work’s “It’s A Mistake” every day to run with it.

Again, hilarious — but PLEASE don’t do it with The Free Press!

The iPod shuffle

You Give Love A Bad Name — Bon Jovi

911 Is A Joke — Public Enemy

Peter Piper — Run-D.M.C.

Bounce (Let Me See Ya Throw It) — Busta Rhymes

Crush With Eyeliner — R.E.M.

P.S.: A funny thing happened this week in the Blog Survivor Pool — all five of the remaining players lost. I’ve been thinking about how to solve this dilemma and I have two solutions — either pay the finalists $11 each (11 players at $5 each) or throw out last week and let the final 5 keep playing.

I’m going to leave it up to the final 5; Shanna Capps has voted to keep playing, so I need to hear from SealGirl, Heelatious and ECPirates11. If there is a tie, I’ll break it since I’m the fifth and final player.

If we decide to keep going, we’ll include the teams from last week, meaning you can’t pick them. Just let me know, guys and girls.

Morning News Report; Nov. 7, 2011

FORMER PENN STATE COACH ARRESTED FOR UNSPEAKABLE ACTS

In what is quite possibly the most disturbing story that you’ll hear or read about this week, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing young boys while he was in Happy Valley. The PSU AD and the school’s VP resigned overnight and will be charged with perjury and failure to report the alleged child abuse because of the controversy.

Sandusky almost had two head-coaching jobs in the ACC, too: at Maryland … and at my University of Virginia.

My take:I’m thankful he didn’t turn up in Charlottesville … but what an awful story.

Several questions, though:

  • Why didn’t PSU get rid of this cretin when he was caught sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in the shower — AT PENN STATE — in 2002?
  • How does Joe Paterno emerge from this — will this speed up his resignation/retirement?
  • How can this story lead every news source in America — CNN, Fox News and the Big 3 — but ESPN buries it until halfway through SportsCenter all weekend?

An awful and disturbing story, to be sure.

BILLY GRAHAM TURNS 93

And now … to a better story: America’s evangelist, North Carolina’s own Billy Graham, celebrates his 93rd birthday today.

My take: Doesn’t matter if you’re a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or Buddhist, you have to love Billy Graham. He’s a man of strong faith who many — including U.S. presidents for decades — have sought for his wise advice. Hope we get to write of many more birthdays for him!

NCSU 13, UNC 0

N.C. State won its fifth straight football game against archrival UNC on Saturday, 13-0.

My take: The Wuffies were having a bad season to that point, but the victory helps them to a winning record, at least for a week.

The more important question is this — does the win help Tom O’Brien hang onto his job for another year?

It goes without saying the loss helps speed up the exit of UNC interim coach Curtis Everett Withers … right, Heels fans?

(By the way, thanks for the corrections, bloggees; Curtis Withers was a UNCC/West Charlotte High School basketball star back in the day and I got my Withers’ mixed up!)

ECU STREAKER LIGHTS UP OTHERWISE DEAD GAME ON SATURDAY

While the military was being honored at halftime of ECU’s ugly loss to Southern Miss at Dowdy-Ficklen on Saturday, an idiot disrobed and strutted his stuff across the field in grand streaking fashion.

My takes: The link above takes you to WITN, where they have a slideshow of the antics. Seriously, a slideshow.

Would we have done the same thing on Kinston.com, if we would’ve had a photographer at the game? I’d like to think we wouldn’t have, but that decision would’ve likely been made above my head.

However, I’ll say this — for all those page-view-hungry executives out there, the WITN story and photo “gallery” has been a boon for clicks. As of 9:45 a.m., the story already had 312 comments and countless tens of thousands of PVs.

Last thought: Saturday’s action makes this Allstate commercial THAT much funnier to me:
 

And by the by, these Allstate Mayhem commercials are AWESOME.

The iPod shuffle

About A Girl — Nirvana

Wonderful Tonight — Eric Clapton

The Show (Live) — Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick

In Da Club — 50 Cent

Family Man — Daryl Hall & John Oates

Morning News Report; Nov. 2, 2011

REDISTRICTING MAPS OK’D BY JUSTICE DEP’T

The U.S. Justice Department has approved the GOP-led redistricting maps for North Carolina, despite a software glitch that left thousands of voters initially unassigned. This means the maps can go into effect.

Democrats still say they’re going to sue, however, to get the maps thrown out.

My take: Gotta admit, I figured with the political climate the way it is right now (the Obama Justice Department, et. al), these maps had NO chance. I was wrong.

I’ll state what I have on multiple occasions — Democrats, if you want the maps drawn the way you want them, then WIN. To the victors go the spoils, and that’s why these maps have a GOP tinge.

Go America.

BIG EAST INVITES 6 … BUT NOT ECU

The Big East has extended six invitations — football-only to Boise State, Navy and Air Force; all sports to SMU, Houston and Central Florida — to join its league. However, ECU — which got some political help from N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue and our state’s U.S. senators – didn’t get its Big East invitation.

My take: Eh, too bad for Pirate Nation, which would’ve put it into the BCS mix. However, who REALLY thinks the Big East (or whatever the hell they’re going to call it after all these moves) is going to hold onto its BCS bid after 2013?

For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Big East doesn’t want ECU, which would outdraw practically any school left in its quasi-league.

KARDASHIAN MARRIAGE FAILS

Hollywood’s marriage of the year — reality TV “star” Kim Kardashian and NBA “star” Kris Humphreys — is over after only 72 days.

My take: Yes, Jon Dawson, there is hope.

But if a love made in heaven like this can’t make it, how do any of us have a chance? Anyhoo, if that makes you sad, here’s a couple of Kim photos to make you feel better:

Click on the photos to see a better version. And now, don’t you feel better for her?

The iPod shuffle

I Wanna Get High — Cypress Hill

Forever — Drake, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne & Eminem

The River Of Dreams — Billy Joel

Time (Clock Of The Heart) — Culture Club

Steppin’ Out — Joe Jackson

Nightly News Report; Oct. 10, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET

The phenomenon known as “Occupy Wall Street” — liberal citizens, mostly unemployed — is entering its fourth week and is spreading all over the country and the world. Here’s an informative primer from the Washington Post on the movement.

My take: Well … if you’re unemployed and don’t have anything to do, I guess it’s cool to go hang out with other unemployed people and whine a little bit.

Yes, as the writer of the link states, it is appalling that the top 1 percent of households in our country own anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the wealth.

But here’s the beauty of America and the American Dream: the top 1 percent is NOT keeping you from joining its ranks. Go out and invent something. Work your ass off and earn your way into wealth. Go to school and get an education.

I am nowhere near wealthy, rich or even remotely financially comfortable. But I have worked my whole life to get to where I am in life — and I started from virtually nothing. These lazy “Occupiers” want to whine, cry and protest, with the hopes of … what? I really have no idea.

This is another area I agree with Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, who basically had an “Occupier” contact him recently — if you want a job, they’re there. So what if it’s not the job you dream about? Work that job until you’re able to GET the job you want.

In fact, Wesley Brown’s well-written feature in Sunday’s Free Press was about the reality that there aren’t enough native workers to work the fields, so area farmers HAVE to get workers — legal and illegal — to harvest their crops. Where are the people who used to work with their hands?

It’s this simple: Life ain’t fair. Get over it and stop whining to those who have worked their asses off to get to where they are in life. They’re not going to share with you — nor should they.

MARIO WILLIAMS OUT FOR SEASON

Houston Texans defensive star Mario Williams — a Richlands High School product who played for current South Lenoir coach Kevin Wilson and later became the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick after playing at N.C. State — is out for the season after tearing his pectoral muscle.

My take: It’s too bad, too, because Super Mario was finding his rhythm after being moved to outside linebacker for the Texans.

One thing is certain — there’s absolutely NO argument about who would’ve been the better overall No. 1 pick: Mario Williams or Reggie Bush, who Texans fans wanted their team to pick. Williams has shown how valuable he is to Houston — and they’re about to find out even more after he’s gone with this injury.

RIP, AL DAVIS

It’s a few days old, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of Al Davis, the architect of the Oakland Raiders and a true football legend, whether you liked him or not.

My take: I sort of feel about Al Davis the way I felt about Dale Earnhardt — couldn’t stand him, but respected the hell out of him.

Sure, Davis’ time had passed a while ago, but once upon a time, kiddies: Al Davis was THE man in the NFL. He created a personna that permeated the entire Raiders organization and embraced being the bad guy.

In the late 80s and early 90s — thanks to their winning ways on the field and to NWA — the Raiders were THE epitome in cool in the NFL.

I did think it was poignant and just downright cool that the Raiders won Sunday and to see the reaction of those closest to him.

HOTTEST CHEERLEADERS IN 2011?

Thanks to FOB Richard Clark for this one — a website named the ECU cheerleading staff the 10th-best in the country. There’s not another North Carolina school in the top 20 and only Florida State (12), Miami (13) and Virginia Tech (17) made the list from the ACC.

Here’s the photo of some ECU lovelies they use in the feature:

As always, click on the photo for a much, much better view of ENC’s finest.

My take: Nice. THIS might be reason enough to get ECU into the ACC, right? The Big East, at least?

Makes me wonder if I should re-start the Cheerleader of the Day feature we did for a while a couple of years ago. Your input?

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Talkin’ Woman — Electric Light Orchestra

I Just Want To Be Your Everything — Andy Gibb

99 Problems (Acapella) — Jay-Z

Dr. Feelgood — Motley Crue

Walk On Water — Aerosmith

P.S.: Check out my column this week on a way for you to get some free East Coast Wings in your belly — simply by retweeting Free Press stories on Twitter. I also muse about that awesome freaking game between Kinston and Tarboro that ended up with the hometown Vikings winning 54-48 in overtime.

Didn’t have a chance to put this in the story … but Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock is a really classy dude. He’d just gone up and down a three-and-a-half hour rollercoaster that ended with his team losing a tough game, but he hung around for 15 minutes after the game and answered every question posed to him by a half-dozen reporters. It’s easy to be classy when your team is winning, but to still be classy when your team has lost a tough game is a lost art. Thanks, Coach Craddock.

Whilest you’re at it, check out my boy Richard Clark’s strong column about men needing to be, well, men. Excellent read.

Morning News Report; Oct. 7, 2011

RON PAUL VISITING GREENVILLE TODAY

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul will be in Greenville today to support the campaign of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and to promote his own effort to get into the White House.

My take: Just throwing it out there — I sincerely think Paul is the best candidate the GOP has to offer this campaign cycle. Yes, he’s more Libertarian than Republican — but I find that to be a strong positive for him.

I’m not the only one; with 94 voters, our poll on the front of Kinston.com, as of 10 a.m., has Paul at 52 percent, followed by Herman Cain at 19 percent, Rick Perry at 10 percent, Mitt Romney at 9 percent, Michelle Bachmann at 3 percent and other at 7 percent. Pretty impressive…

ECU-BIG EAST TO WED TODAY?

Thanks to Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy’s Twitter feed for this one: a sportswriter for the Cincinnati Enquirer is speculating ECU could be invited to the Big East as early as today, along with UCF.

My take: While this would certainly be an upgrade over Conference USA, I’m still not sure Pirate Nation wants to be married to a league that is seriously bleeding teams right now — and will possibly lose its BCS bid because of it.

TIGERS ELIMINATE YANKEES FROM POSTSEASON

With Alex Rodriguez whiffing three times — including being the final out of the game — his N.Y. Yankees were knocked out of the American League playoffs, 3-2, by the Detroit Tigers last night.

My take: Good for the little guys. Goes to show you can throw $200 million on a team — but sometimes it doesn’t work. Go Tigers!

You have to know there is a TV exec somewhere today who is waking up with a bad hangover, though, as he realizes he has Detroit and Texas in the ALCS and the possibility of Arizona/Milwaukee and St. Louis in the NLCS. And what a ratings bonanza Arizona/Texas or Milwaukee/Detroit would be in the World Series!

The iPod shuffle

Church Of The Poison Mind — Culture Club

That Smell — Lynyrd Skynyrd

Cedars Of Lebanon — U2

Undercover (Of The Night) — The Rolling Stones

Say You Love Me — Fleetwood Mac

P.S.: Check out this week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast with me, Ryan Herman and Kinston High School head coach Nick Anderson. Lots of good tidbits for your perusal.