Premature e-launch-ation

OK … perhaps trying to relaunch the ol’ blog before Christmas was a BAD IDEA — you know, with your boss out of the office and 10,000 things to do. However — hang around: I promise we’re set to get everything back up and going soon.

Next week, I’ll be using this space for HighSchoolOT.com game updates. I’ll provide a morning update beginning Wednesday and it’ll continue through Saturday’s championship day.

Check this out: This week’s podcast with Jon “Dizzle” Dawson and Kyle Brown.

Congratulations to Justin Hill and Bobby Hatcher, who’re playing for the Hanks Blog Football League championship this week. The winner receives $200; the runner-up gets $50. B.J. Davis was the top points performer for the league and will receive $50.

As always, follow me on Twitter at BCHanks, where we have all sorts of fun.

Happy Hump Day

Howdy, bloggees — headed back to K-Town for the first time since Christmas Eve today and I’m going to simply overwhelm you with bloggy goodness today. Going to announce the HBFL winners, the blog survivor pool winner and a ton of other great stuff. Stay tuned, y’all…

P.S.: Hey! Here’s a quality video for you to watch — HighSchoolOT.com’s Nick Stevens and I breaking down championship day at the tourney:

Catching up with y’all

Some updates for my bloggy peops:

  • Not sure when we’re going over to the new blog. Haven’t heard anything from the tech folks, so … we’re going to keep humping on this blog until I’m told otherwise. I am insisting, however, the categories and blogroll feature are included on the new one — and at this moment, they’re not there.
  • Jon Dawson, Justin Hill and I taped the final Free Press Radio Program/Podcast of 2011 this morning. We talked about the top 10 most-viewed stories of the year on Kinston.com — and I think it’s a pretty good podcast, even though I sound like I’m half-asleep during most of it. Please give it a listen — I put a lot of my heart into it and, frankly, we’re not getting half the listens I figured we would. Do me a favor — give it a listen and let me know what you think. If it stinks, let me know. If it’s good, tell your boys.
  • Speaking of Dawson, don’t forget his new book has dropped and you can purchase it either at our office (2103 N. Queen St., Kinston), on Amazon.com or at jondawson.com. It would make a hell of a Christmas present for that special person on your list!
  • We lost two of our four players in the Blog Survivor Pool last weekend as both women — SealGirl and Shanna Capps — went with Tennessee over Indianapolis. It’s down to 2010 champ Heelatious (New England last week) and ECPirates11 (New Orleans). If you haven’t paid your $5 yet — either for the first game or for part 2 — please do so. If you don’t, that means I have to pay the winner out of my own pocket … and you know that ain’t cool.
  • Usually, I’ll write a couple of posts about our HBFL playoffs, but, alas, I haven’t had time to barely breathe the past few weeks. However, we’re in the Super Bowl week of both leagues; in the HBFL Live, No. 8 seed Heelatious’ Heelsfan’s Show Me Your TDs, who were 6-7 in the regular season, are facing defending champion and third-seeded Wes Brown’s Crime Dawgs, who went 7-6. The winner of that game receives $200, while the loser gets $50. Lee Wetherington, whose Wreakn Havoc team finished with the most points in the league (1,314) and wins $50 for that. I’ll pay everyone when I get back to town the week of Jan. 1. In the meantime — if you haven’t paid yet (and there are still four who haven’t) — get your dues in. Again, I don’t want to have to pay winnings out of my own pocket, y’all.
  • In the HBFL Online, the top two seeds — the No. 1 Drew Loftis-owned Hookers With Dysentery (10-3) are taking on the No. 2 Elizabeth Moon-owned Grifton Sea Lions (9-4). Drew’s Hookers also were the top scoring team in the league with 1,190 points. There’s no prize in this league, just pride.
  • Congrats to Kinston coach Wells Gulledge, who won the 300th game in his career in last night’s 74-53 victory against North Lenoir at Viking Gym. Here’s a quick look at his 14-year-plus career: 300-86 overall (.777 winning percentage), 254-53 at Kinston (.827), seven conference titles, three Eastern Regional titles and two state championships. Pretty impressive.
  • Some major thank-you’s to former Kinston stars Dory Hines (now at Mount Olive College) and Reggie Bullock (UNC) for coming out to KHS this morning to help Justin “The Kid” Hill and his Free Press 12-and-under basketball team. Dory, in particular, was there the entire the practice and ran drills with the team. Reggie took about 5 minutes and talked to the kids about the importance of staying in school and overcoming adversity. Additionally, Coach Gulledge and current Ole Miss assistant baseball coach Cliff Godwin helped out with drills and motivation. An extremely fun morning — and here’s a cool photo taken after the practice:

Click on it for a better view.

  • The 2011 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational (formerly known as the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational) tips off next week in Raleigh and Cary. For the fifth straight year, I am the media coordinator of the event — and this year, I’m bringing some of my friends to help. For the previous three years, Jonathan Massey has been my right-hand man as the tournament’s assistant media coordinator and he continues in that role this year. However, Justin “The Kid” Hill is taking over the role of Holiday Invitational girls’ tournament media coordinator this year. Also, Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark did a FANTASTIC job designing the game program for the HSOT; if you make it to Raleigh or Cary, make sure you grab a copy. As for game-by-game updates from the tourney, there simply won’t be as many here on the ol’ blog since the good folks at WRAL/Capital Broadcasting Company — the owners of the HSOT brand — have exclusive rights to that info. However, I will be providing early updates with sort of an MNR-type feel each morning. I’ll give you a schedule of that day’s games along with my predictions and thoughts going into each day. As always, though, there’ll be a video wrap-up each day with Triangle heartthrob Nick Stevens and myself and HSOT will live-stream each post-game press conference.
  • A LOT of you have asked about the Hot Blonde and here’s an update: her final chemo was a few weeks ago and right now, she’s just trying to get her life back to normal, i.e., working the chemo out of her system and recovering from her other related surgeries. It’s been an incredibly tough ride for one of the toughest people I know. But I also know this: she has appreciated every one of you who has taken the time to lift her up in prayer — and again, I know there are a lot of you out there who have done just that. You have no idea what your prayers have done to help her and me through this incredibly difficult time in our lives. I’m not exaggerating when I say this: I love you guys. Thank you for being pretty freaking awesome.

Morning News Report; Sept. 13, 2011

JWADE REDUX

Here is Ryan Herman’s story on Kinston High School baseball coach Jason Wade’s firing.

My take: I feel much the same way as I did yesterday when I broke this on the blog – this is a stupid move and one that will set KHS baseball back at least five years. I’ve since talked to several parents of current players and I know this much: some of these players will be transferring to other schools because of this decision.

It is kind of crappy that she decided to do this AFTER school started in an attempt to keep kids from transferring. If she had made this move before school started (and she had the opportunity to do so), it would’ve been easier for them to do so.

And I am perplexed this decision was made without conferring with the athletics director.

Regardless, keep your head up, JWade — you’re a faithful man and I know God has other things for you out there. Maybe next time you’ll go somewhere you’re appreciated.

I’ve already talked to about a dozen coaches, teachers, parents and athletes at KHS — and not one of them is happy with this decision. I know this much: Ms. Bryant stirred up a whole pot o’ stuff with this move (and other decisions she’s made); I’ll have more here later.

SAME-SEX CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT CLEARS N.C. HOUSE

A gay marriage ban and potential amendment to the N.C. Constitution passed the state House last night, 75-42. The bill — which would put the potential amendment on the May 2012 primary ballot — now moves to the N.C. Senate.

My take: Seriously? With no money for teachers, our state budget hemorrhaging money and all the other problems our state has … we’re going to waste time and money on keeping dudes or lesbians from marrying? Seriously?

I’ve been pretty straight-forward from the jump on gay rights — I think homosexuals have as much right to be miserable as straight folks. If they want to marry, by golly, let them. It’s been proven time and again, you don’t choose to be gay, so why punish them? And that’s what you’re doing when you deny homosexuals basic rights.

North Carolina prides itself on not being the back-woods type of state like our neighbors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. You enact this type of bill and our state won’t be getting the kind of progressive companies such as Google to relocate here. But it’s all right … we have tobacco and textiles to fall back on.

Oops.

NORTHERN GUILFORD SUING NCHSAA FOR TITLE IT CHEATED FOR

Remember that Northern Guilford team that cheated to win a 3A state title in 2009 (the one that beat Kinston in the Eastern Regional finals that year)? Well, now some parents and coaches from that dishonored squad are trying to win the title back in court after the NCHSAA stripped them of it following a school board investigation in Guilford County.

My take: Another idiotic move from a program that continues to make idiotic moves. This has NO CHANCE (yes, in all caps so maybe it’ll be read in Guilford County) of being successful. In fact, if the NCHSAA is forced to restore NG’s 2009 championship, I’ll paint the school’s mascot on my chest and perform a dance on The Free Press’ front yard.

I wouldn’t get the ol’ camcorder fired up, though, ’cause it isn’t going to happen.

By the by, here’s a good column from FOB and highschoolOT.com’s Nick Stevens on the matter. And he’s right.

MANNY BEING MANNY MEANS SPOUSAL ABUSE?

Baseball’s former bad boy, Manny Ramirez, was arrested for a domestic violence incident yesterday.

My take: First, he retires instead of sitting out a 100-game steroid suspension and now this? He certainly wasn’t going to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player … now, he’s probably NEVER going to make it to Cooperstown.

TRAGIC BURLINGTON STORY WITH A LIFE LESSON FOR YOUTH

I didn’t post it here last month but I’m sure most of you heard about the Burlington Williams quarterback who died two days after leading his team to a season-opening victory.

Investigators now know why the young man passed away — Harry Cohen took his grandmother’s pain medication and it caused him to have a heart attack.

My take: A tremendously sad story but one that kids all over the state can learn from — DO NOT take medication unless it is prescribed to you. This young man was in the best shape of his life and he couldn’t handle his grandmother’s medication. Just because you feel like you’re Superman or Superwoman doesn’t mean that you are.

Also, please take a moment and read the story — it is extremely well-written by Freedom Communications’ Roselee Papandrea.

The iPod shuffle

Sassafras Root — Green Day

Mama Said — The Shirelles

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Saturday In The Park — Chicago

Wild Horses — The Rolling Stones

P.S.: I can eat crow with the best of ‘em, so here goes … congrats to Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark, who whipped my candy ass in our HBFL Live opening game this week, 108-97. What makes this sting more is this was Richard’s inaugural game in fantasy football while this is the start of my 17th year playing. Damn. While I’m at it, congrats to two-time defending HBFL Online champ Brent Pelletier for beating me, 87-79, in Week 1 of that league. Sheesh.

P.P.S.S.: And we’ll close today’s MNR on a somber note — a great man passed away on Sunday in the person of the Honorable Rodney R. Goodman, a longtime Kinston judge. I got to know Judge Goodman while I was dating his niece and he was certainly a funny, smart and wise man. Please join me in throwing some prayers up there for Judge Goodman’s family.

Some nuggets for your perusal

Some loose items that don’t need their own blog post:

  • I’ve wondered for awhile why there hasn’t been any new bloggees registering to join our little family (which numbers 1,132 at the moment). Well, here’s why — somehow I turned off the option to allow that to happen. I have NO idea how I did it … but it’s back on now. If you’d like to register to make comments, etc., hit the log-in button on the right rail and follow the instructions. Big-time thanks to Justin “The Kid” Hill for helping me fix it and to Elizabeth “Michael’s Wife” Moon for calling this to my attention.
  • As I mentioned in today’s MNR, we had a successful HBFL draft last night at the DugOut. While that was a lot of fun — it was good to see old-time bloggees like B.J. (Heelatious) Davis and Jonathan (Heelsfan) Davis, Bobby Hatcher, Lee Wetherington, Jonathan Massey and others, loading the rosters today was a freaking disaster. Guys — be patient with me; I’ll have it up before this day is over. I know … that’s what she said.
  • I’m going to post the Blog Survivor Pool sign-up sheet either later today or first thing tomorrow, before the MNR. If you want to get in, the details are here.

Morning News Report; Sept. 7, 2011

Had a blast with everyone in the HBFL Live Draft last night at The DugOut — my Internet was down at Casa Hanks last night, but it’s back up this morning, so I’ll be posting the draft results this morning. You’ll get a text when it’s loaded. Thanks for coming out last night!

On to your MNR…

ACKERSON’S AUTOPSY CAN’T REVEAL CAUSE OF DEATH

Wesley Brown of The Free Press exclusively reports in today’s paper that Texas authorities have completed their autopsy of Laura Ackerson … but they can’t conclusively conclude the cause of her death.

My take: An interesting development, to be sure, but still doesn’t alleviate my feeling that Grant “Haze” Hayes and his wife did this.

EDWARDS’ LAWYERS WANT CHARGES DISMISSED

The lawyers for John Edwards are attempting to get charges dismissed against him based on constitutional grounds.

My take: Um, yeah. Those are some pretty weak arguments and my feeling is that ol’ Pretty Boy is going to have to go to court for these. I really think it’d be in his interest to settle this bad boy out of court because public opinion isn’t exactly in his favor.

That’s what happens when you cheat on your wife who is battling cancer, douche-boy.

GARRARD RELEASED BY JACKSONVILLE

Former ECU quarterback David Garrard was unceremoniously dumped by the Jacksonville Jaguars last night, less than five days before the season-opener, presumably to save $9 million in salary owed to him this year.

My take: This was as big a shocker as there can be. He was the starter — and they’re cutting him five days before the season starts?

I don’t know Garrard personally and have never interviewed him, but I know reporters who have — and they say he is a good guy to the core. Hope he lands on his feet somewhere he can stick it to the Jags.

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — George Michael & Elton John

Fight For Your Right — Beastie Boys

The Times They Are A-Changin’ — Bob Dylan

Girl Can’t Help It — Journey

Lift Your Head Up High (And Blow Your Brains Out) — The Bloodhound Gang

P.S.: Check out a cool little story written by Justin Hill about Kinston High School basketball coach Perry Tyndall’s parents adopting a baby squirrel. If this doesn’t make you go “ahhhh!” then your “ahhhh!” is broken!

P.P.S.S.: Don’t forget — if you want to get in the Blog Survivor Pool, click here. We’re up to 12 players, but I’d love to have at least 20 this year.

Morning News Report; Aug. 31, 2011

Before we jump into the MNR this a.m., THANKS to everyone for checking out the Irene videos, pictures and stuff on my Facebook page. I appreciate the feedback (including the several “Are you an idiot?” questions I had.

Anyhoo — we should be back to relative normal (other than the fact I’m off Friday and Monday). What this specifically affects is our HBFL Online Draft, which we suspended Friday. It’ll pick back up at 2 p.m. today — I am going to text all the owners. We’re also going to drop the time to select from an hour to 30 minutes between picks.

I’m also going to post the Blog Pick ‘Em contest in the next few minutes — as many of you saw, we are going to throw out last week as if it didn’t exist. Many of you didn’t have Internet access last week, although I appreciate everyone who emailed and Facebooked me your picks — one person even texted me their picks!

For those of you who know the personal stuff I’m going through, thanks for your prayers and kind words. Not quite ready to share that with everyone here yet, but rest assured — bloggees, you’ll be the first to know before I release it for the world.

OK — now on to your MNR:

7 COUNTIES DECLARED FEDERAL DISASTER AREAS

Seven counties in Eastern North Carolina — Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell — were declared federal disaster areas by President Obama, meaning they are now eligible for federal aid.

My take: Curious that Lenoir County didn’t make that cut, especially considering the millions of dollars of damage in our little corner of heaven. I have noticed in the past, though, that sometimes it takes a few extra days for all the counties eligible to be included. Hope that’s the case in Lenoir County … because there’s a lot of damage from ol’ Irene here.

U.S. VD EXPERIMENTS UNCOVERED IN GUATEMALA

From 1946-48, the United State conducted experiments with veneral diseases (such as syphilis and gonorrhea) in Guatemala on thousands of unwitting patients. An international panel is urging the U.S. to make financial reparations to those who were affected by the experiments.

My take: Sounds fair to me, but it does shock me sometimes to find out what we — as a country — has done in the past.

EIGHT MIAMI PLAYERS TO MISS AT LEAST ONE GAME DUE TO SCANDAL

Eight University of Miami players will be suspended at least one game following an NCAA investigation into the Nevin Shapiro controversy.

My take: Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like that’s a little light. My feeling is that there’ll be more punishment down the line — just not the death penalty everyone was initially anticipating.

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Treat Me Bad — Firehouse

Longview — Green Day

Janie’s Got A Gun — Aerosmith

About A Girl — Nirvana

Why — Annie Lennox

Woo-hoo! We’re back, baby!

Thanks to the hard work of Scott Edgington and Amy Lock Collier, the ol’ blog is back up and running. Really appreciate it, y’all.

However, because I’m up to my eyeballs with Hurricane Irene coverage, no updates here until later today.

As I stated on my Facebook page yesterday, we ARE NOT going to count this week’s blog pick ‘em, since a ton of you couldn’t get in yesterday. We’re just throwing out this week like it didn’t happen. In fact, I’m going to delete it from the system. I’ll post the games to pick for next week sometime this weekend so we can get a jump on it.

Also, I’ve suspended the HBFL Online Draft until noon Monday because of the blog snafu and Irene.

I can’t say this enough — THANK YOU to everyone who texted, called, emailed and Facebooked me about the blog being down. You really don’t know how much it means to me!

2011 HBFL Online Draft underway

I know not everyone in our blogosphere is interested in the Hanks Blog Football League draft, so I’ve created a page for the teams and anyone who wants to look at our draft as it evolves — http://bhanks.encblogs.com/?page_id=6150. You can also access it by clicking on the link on the right side of this page titled Hanks Blog Football League 2011.

Here’s the draft order, as drawn by Jon Dawson and photographed and witnessed by Free Press Circulation Director Jim Register:

1. Charlie Kraebel:

2. Michael Moon:

3. Darren Becton:

4. Hot Blonde:

5. Brent Pelletier:

6. Matt Lavender:

7. Daniel Jones:

8. Seth Jones:

9. Ryan Herman:

10. Chris Lavender:

11. Elizabeth Moon:

12. Hanks:

13. Taplie Coile:

14. Drew Loftis:

Let’s get it on!

Morning News Report; Aug. 23, 2011

HERE COMES IRENE!

Accuweather.com is predicting that Hurricane Irene will be strongest storm to hit the Carolinas since 1996.

Here is Accuweather.com’s projected path as of 4:12 a.m. today:

Click on the map for a larger view.

My take: This is serious stuff, y’all — not just another weatherman’s breathless BS warning. Get your water and batteries and prepare to hunker down Saturday.

LETTERMAN LAUGHS OFF INTERNET JIHADIST

David Letterman returned from his two-week summer vacation last night to the report of an Internet jihadist calling for his tongue to be cut out. In his characteristic style, though, Letterman joked about it throughout his program and even blamed the reports on Jay Leno.

My take: Letterman has gone more and more to the left in the past few years, but those are some damned funny jokes in that link. Check ‘em out … and screw the terrorists. Good for Letterman.

KINSTON-SOUTH LENOIR MOVED TO THURSDAY

Because of concerns about Hurricane Irene, the Kinston-South Lenoir varsity football game has been moved to Thursday. The JV game between the teams is now on Wednesday at Viking Field.

My take: The Vikings (the past five years) and Blue Devils (first year, 2005) are the only two teams to win the Freedom Cup, the trophy given to the top prep football program in Lenoir County by The Free Press. In my opinion, Thursday’s game will also determine this year’s winner.

Don’t sleep on South Lenoir — I will make my pick later in the week, but I feel like this is as strong a Blue Devils team as I’ve seen since that magical 2005 season, especially the defense. I’ll say this with all certainty: if Kinston can’t hang onto the ball better than it did against Jones Senior last Friday, South Lenoir will win easily Thursday.

The iPod shuffle

Steppin’ Out — Joe Jackson

Don’t Let Him Go — REO Speedwagon

Why Can’t This Be Love — Van Halen

When I Think Of You — Janet Jackson

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go — Wham!

P.S.: HBFL Online folks — don’t forget the draft begins tomorrow at noon. We will draw for draft order this afternoon and I’ll post it tonight. I will also be sending out an email to all the owners, so be looking for that, too.