Paying off a bet … yada, yada, yada

The only comment I’ll provide for this abomination is that I pay off my bets. Carolina 54, Virginia 51. Congrats, Jon Dawson, you magnificient bastard.

My stomach, chest and arms have broken out into a rash. May God have mercy on my soul.

Here’s a nice picture to restore order to the universe:

As always, click on the photos for better (or not so better) views.

And we’re taping a Carolina-Duke podcast in a few; I’ll post it here — and you’re going to want to hear it!

Morning Sports Report; Feb. 17, 2012


Kinston’s boys and girls — each a No. 1 seed — play host to the Eastern Plains 2A tournament championship tonight. The girls tip off the night with a game against Farmville Central at 6 p.m.; the boys face surprising Tarboro at 7:30 p.m. in an attempt to win their sixth straight conference tournament title.

My take: While it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine a Kinston/Farmville Central girls matchup, NO ONE would’ve thought Tarboro — the seventh seed in the seven-team EP2A — would’ve upset second-seeded North Pitt and third-seeded Wilson Beddingfield in the first two rounds of the tournament.

And why would they? Tarboro was 1-11 in the league and 4-20 overall entering the tournament. They’re playing for a chance to make it to the 2A state playoffs with nothing to lose — and that’s always a dangerous combination.

And don’t get it twisted — there’s a lot of raw talent on that Tarboro hoops team, which includes several members of the 2A football championship squad.

My predictions for tonight: Kinston’s girls win 53-41; the Kinston boys win a good ‘un, 73-66.

And come on out to the game: I’m giving away two sets of tickets to the Freedom Classic, which takes place next weekend at Grainger Stadium between Air Force and Navy. In fact, the first person who comes up to me at the scorer’s table and says they read this on the blog will get two free tickets to one of the games.


Duke did it again to a Tobacco Road rival last night as the Blue Devils rallied to down N.C. State, 78-73, at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke trailed by 20 points with less than 12 minutes in the game and outscored the Wuffies 37-12 to close the game.

My take: Combined with last week’s unbelievable comeback and upset at the Dean Dome, it’s been a great time to be a Dookie.


Thanks to Deadspin for this — Gary Carter’s final hit was a game-winner for the Montreal Expos:

My take: Awesome — just awesome. I’ve watched the video five times and it gives me chill bumps every time. I’m not nearly the baseball fan as some of you are here, but if you can watch that and it doesn’t move you, you have no soul.

And what makes it better is that Harry Carey called it. Freaking awesome.


Four guys you probably haven’t heard of will participate in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk competition as part of the All-Star weekend activities in Orlando.

My take: No pun intended, but I think it’s finally time for the NBA to admit this concept has finally jumped the shark (see what I did there?). Last year’s event was pretty cool with Blake Griffin participating, but if the best you can do is Iman Shumpert … what the hell are you doing, David Stern?

I’d rather see one-on-one contests between LeBron and Kobe or a hottest cheerleader competition than this. For example — who is hotter, these Charlotte Bobcats cheerleaders:

Or these Miami Heat cheerleaders?

You decide. I report. You click on the photos for a better view.


Former Richlands High School and N.C. State star Mario Williams is arguably the best free agent on the NFL market this year after leading the Houston Texans to the franchise’s first playoff game and win this season.

My take: And now I begin my prayer — Please, Lord … let Dan Snyder sign Mario to my Redskins. Pretty please. Amen.

The iPod shuffle

In Da Club — 50 Cent

Hello Goodbye — The Beatles

Smokin — Boston

Cool The Engines — Boston

Brass Monkey — Beastie Boys

Morning News Report; Feb. 14, 2012


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.


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.


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, 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

Morning News Report; Dec. 2, 2011


While its football team readies for tomorrow’s 3 p.m. 2AA championship game appearance against West Stokes, the Kinston boys’ basketball team will tip off its 2011-12 season against Whitney Young, a top-25 nationally-ranked team out of Chicago.

My take: It’s a last-minute change to their schedule — the Vikings were supposed to play Whitney Young in Tampa, Fla., this weekend, but situations beyond Kinston’s control led to the game taking place at Viking Gym tonight.

Should be a heck of a game, too — this is the high school Michael Jordan sent his sons to play and there’s a lot of talent on that Whitney Young squad now. If you have no plans tonight, get out to the gym and check out the new edition of the Vikes.


Jones Senior starts this weekend’s slate of state championship appearances when the Trojans face Murphy for the 1A title at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium at 7:30 p.m. today.

Ayden-Grifton faces Swain County at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Wake Forest’s BB&T Field in Winston-Salem for the 1AA championship while Kinston takes on West Stokes at 3 p.m. tomorrow back at Carter-Finley.

My take: A crazy, crazy weekend ahead for Ryan Herman, Justin Hill, Keith Spence, David Hall and I as we get these stories back to y’all.

If you’re going to either of the games — or even if you’re not — you HAVE to pick up a copy of today’s Free Press. Herman and sports guru Randy Jones have put together an awesome pullout fan’s guide to the state championship in today’s paper. You do not want to go to the game(s) without it.


In a surprising — but awesome — bit of news, unemployment dropped from 9 to 8.6 percent nationally in November.

My take: That is GREAT news, especially to those folks who are unemployed in this horrible economy.

The only thing I didn’t like about it was the way the Republicans immediately jumped on this, saying “Oh, it’d be even lower if we were in charge.”

Whatever. I’m not the biggest Obama fan — in fact, he’s done a pretty poor job IMHO. But good grief, let the man have ONE victory, OK, GOP?


Pop music princess Britney Spears turns 30 today.

My take: So shoot me, I’m a peripheral fan. Yes, I know she probably doesn’t sing 90 percent of her lyrics. But you know what — she’s easy on the eyes:


Click on those bad boysfor a better view. And happy birthday, Britney.

The iPod shuffle

Planet Earth — Duran Duran

Careless Whisper — Wham!

Friends In Low Places — Garth Brooks

I Shot The Sheriff — Eric Clapton

I Want To Break Free — Queen

Morning News Report; Nov. 2, 2011


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.


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.


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

Morning News Report; Oct. 27, 2011


College basketball recruiting’s best analyst — ESPN’s Dave Telep — has an informative and exposing piece at the Worldwide Leader’s site on the state of basketball recruiting.

Important note — to read the whole thing, you need to be an ESPN Insider … but trust me: it’s worth the price of the membership to read this article.

My take: In fact, it’s too bad it’s an Insider piece, because there is information there that needs to be read everywhere.

What intrigued me is that Telep — who is recognized as being the best in the business at the moment — basically admits it’s impossible for any program to be clean in this day and age. And yes, that includes Duke, UNC and the rest of the so-called “clean” programs out there.

Telep admits the recruitment of LeBron James opened his eyes — not by colleges, but by Nike and adidas.

This is probably the best piece I’ve ever read on the ins and outs of college recruiting. Take 15 minutes and give it a read.


One of the greatest shows in television history returns tonight when “Beavis & Butt-head” returns to MTV with new episodes after 14 years.

My take: Yep … the DVR is set to tape the comeback.

Heh heh … I said “comeback.” Heh heh.


While most NFL stars had boring times during their bye weeks, New England Patriots tight end (heh heh, “tight end”) Rob Gronkowski had a photo taken with porn star Bibi Jones that was blown up on Twitter. Here it is, with another shot of Ms. Jones:

(Click on the images for better viewing)

There was no controversy, though; evidently, Gronk didn’t know who Ms. Jones was and has been embarrassed by the attention garnered by the event.

My take: It is funny that he carries a jersey with him everywhere, though, isn’t it?

The iPod shuffle

Ride Wit Me — T.I.

Miuzi Weighs A Ton — Public Enemy

She — Green Day

Speak To Me/Breathe — Pink Floyd

Mediate — INXS

P.S.: If you’re one of our Pink Hill bloggees, check out the stories and podcasts for the four mayoral candidates by going here. Justin “The Kid” Hill and Jon Dawson worked hard putting these and the town board stories/podcasts together (which will be in tomorrow’s FP/, so if you’re a Pink Hillian (is that a word?), take a few minutes and become better informed.

Morning News Report; Oct. 12, 2011


N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis has stirred the pot with recent comments about requiring welfare recipients to take random drug tests.

My take: To which I ask — what’s the big deal? So what if someone who is living on the public dime has to pass a drug test to keep their benefits? Many of you reading this have to pass a drug test to keep your job, so why shouldn’t someone who isn’t working have to do the same?

And before my Libertarian and liberal friends jump on me, consider this — if you want public assistance, DON’T DO DRUGS. I’m not talking about private citizens doing their own thing, I’m talking about people who are using my tax money to purchase illegal drugs.

I seriously can’t see the problem with this … someone (attempt to) convince me otherwise.


Yes — it’s a new term coined by Jon Dawson during last week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast, but it’s a good one: Hermanalysis by FP Sports Editor Ryan Herman. In Herman’s weekly column (which he is moving from Sundays to Wednesdays), the Hermanator wonders aloud about local football matchups he’d love to see.

My take: Love this column — and I wish we could do what he suggests in the final nugget about the All-Free Press team taking on Kinston. THAT would be a hell of a game — and we could do it for the United Way!

By the by, if you’re a prep football fan in our area and you’re not listening to the podcast … you’re missing out. We’ve had Kinston coach Nick Anderson, South Lenoir coach Kevin Wilson, Greene Central coach Kenneth Grantham on the previous three weeks and we’re going to have North Lenoir coach Calvin Sutton on this week. Hopefully, we’ll have Parrott’s Bert Bright on next week as the Patriots prepare for Raleigh Word of God and then an awesome playoff preview.


Latino pop music star Shakira has been named by President Obama to a Hispanic education commission.

My take: Awesome. She’ll definitely get kids’ attention … especially when she looks like THIS:

The iPod shuffle

Son Of A Preacher Man — Dusty Springfield

The Magic Bus — The Who

That’s All Right — Elvis Presley

Let Her Cry — Hootie & The Blowfish

I Shot The Sheriff — Eric Clapton

P.S.: Our good friend, Heather King, of WITN NBC-7′s early morning show, had this FANTASTIC photo on her Twitter feed. It just has to be shared:

AWESOME. Somewhere there has to be video of this, right, Heather?

Nightly News Report; Oct. 10, 2011


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.


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.


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.


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.

Afternoon News Report; Sept. 29, 2011


Thanks to massive meltdowns by the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays won the National League and American League wildcards, respectively.

The MLB playoffs begin tomorrow with Tampa Bay at Texas and Detroit at the N.Y. Yankees; Saturday’s NL postseason starts with Arizona at Milwaukee and St. Louis at Philadelphia.

My take: There are some who are claiming last night was one of the best in MLB history. I wouldn’t disagree with them.

While it was a pretty big surprise the Red Sox faded the way they did, I wasn’t that shocked at Atlanta. Boston was expected by virtually everyone to win the AL and even the World Series, while many didn’t even have Atlanta going to the playoffs.

But to lose out the way both did — squandering huge leads in the wild card race in the final few weeks of the regular season and collapsing in the 162nd game of their seasons – has left bad tastes in their fans’ mouths.

Don’t believe me? Check out Twitter — which almost exploded last night when the Cardinals and Rays clinched.

I know one thing — there are a lot of Braves and Red Sox fans who had a tough time getting up this morning and facing a world in which their teams blew chances to be in the postseason.


N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue is taking a lot of heat from all over the nation for her comments that the U.S. Congress should suspend elections for a couple of years so members could concentrate more on helping folks instead of seeking reelection.

My take: For someone already facing a tough reelection cycle herself — against former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory again — this was poor timing on her part.

Did she mean it? I think there was probably a kernel of truth there, but I don’t think she wants to stop the political process like many Republicans would lead you to believe. As always, politicans on BOTH sides of the aisle will try to bend something to fit their agenda — and that’s what is happening here.


N.Y. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes won the National League batting title yesterday when he bunt-singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning — and then pulled himself from the game to protect his (at that time) 2-point lead. It worked, too, as Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 to finish 5 back from Reyes.

My take: Disgusting. As good as last night was (as seen above), this is the reason some folks can’t stand professional baseball — for selfish wusses like Reyes.

Instead of winning the title like a man, Reyes disrespected the memory of true athletes like Ted Williams, who won the batting title in 1941 – just before he headed off to fight for our country in WWII — by going 6-for-8 in a doubleheader on the final day of the season. Williams could’ve sat out the games and finished with a .400 average but he wouldn’t settle for that.


Some “reality” “star” named Holly Madison has insured her bosoms for $1 million. Or should the “bosom” be singular? I can never remember.

My take: Nope, I’d never heard of her, either — but here’s a look at her and her million dollar boobies:

Click on the photo for a better view.

The iPod shuffle

Another Day In Paradise — Phil Collins

Nightswimming — R.E.M.

Baby Be Mine — Michael Jackson

Nellyville — Nelly

Fight For All The Wrong Reasons — Nickelback

Morning News Report; Aug. 19, 2011

Welcome to the most holy of days — THE FIRST DAY OF PREP FOOTBALL SEASON! WOO-HOO!

OK, LET’S TAKE THE CAPS LOCK off and jump into an MNR (oops, there I went again)!


The 2011 prep football season kicks off tonight with some awesome intra-area games, including Greene Central at North Lenoir, Kinston at Jones Senior and South Lenoir at Spring Creek.

My take: I’m covering the Kinston-Jones Senior battle — and I’m pumped. Can’t wait to see C.J. Bradshaw and the boys start another season — one that I think could end up going deep into the playoffs.

I’ll be posting my picks later here on the blog, but check out a new feature our beloved sports editor, Ryan “My Boys Can Swim” Herman, has going this year — he will be picking games in the paper every week.

Also, don’t forget to cruise back here tonight for scores from across the state via the Associated Press. No other site in North Carolina will have scores up faster or more complete than this lil’ ol’ blog.


Hollywood starlet Anne Hathaway said she is working hard to prepare for her role as Catwoman in the new Batman movie.

My take: Hells yeah. And there is one two three reasons and one two three reasons only for mentioning this in the MNR:

Giggity giggity goo. Click on those bad boys for a much better view.


A Wake County Schools administrator that has been reassigned from the county’s central office back to the classroom will draw a salary of — wait for it — $131,122 a year through June 2013.

My take: Dayum. I’m sure he’s a good teacher and all … but $131,122? Want to guess who’ll pick up the check when the teachers go grab lunch at Olive Garden?


Yep, we broke it here on the blog first yesterday, now here’s what everyone else has on Kinston’s favorite son making it back to The Show:

The iPod shuffle

I’ll Stick Around — Foo Fighters

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

Behind Blue Eyes (Live) — The Who

Kiss — Prince & The Revolution

Shout At The Devil — Motley Crue