Afternoon Sports Report; April 10, 2012

Wrapping up the weekend…

BUBBA IS YOUR 2012 MASTERS CHAMPION

He owns the General Lee I from the “Dukes of Hazzard,” he’s never had a golf lesson … and his name is Bubba Watson. He’s also the 2012 Masters champ.

My take: Admittedly, I’m not a huge golf fan. Also, I wasn’t particularly pulling for him when I picked up the Masters with about 10 holes to go. But if you weren’t a little misty-eyed when Bubba was hugging his caddy and then his mama, you aren’t human.

THIS is the kind of story golf needs, instead of incessantly asking Tiger when he’s going to return to normal.

What I really liked about Bubba’s story (and there were about a dozen awesome angles to it) was that he got on Twitter and tried to personally thank as many of his followers that he could who had taken the time to congratulate him after his victory. Who does that in this self-absorbed day and age? I’m a fan now.

OZZIE GUILLEN SUSPENDED FIVE GAMES FOR CASTRO COMMENTS

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended five games for his comments about Fidel Castro, in which Guillen admitted his admiration for the Cuban dictator.

My take: I really thought it might be a little longer than five games, especially when you consider all the extenuating circumstances, i.e., the Marlins new stadium is in Little Havana, etc.

When do you get to the point that “Ozzie being Ozzie” isn’t enough of an explanation?

INTERIM SAINTS COACH WON’T BE BILL PARCELLS

The New Orleans Saints — without a head coach because of Sean Payton’s one-year suspension for player bounties — will also not have former N.Y. Giants/Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells as their interim coach.

My take: Back to the drawing board for a franchise that, combined with the suspensions and loss of draft picks, could fall off considerably this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Saints go 4-12 or worse this year.

The iPod shuffle

Communication Breakdown — Led Zeppelin

Heartland — U2

A Day In The Life — The Beatles

The Journey — Boston

Dirty White Boy — Foreigner

Morning News Report; April 6, 2012

MUDCATS TO BEGIN SEASON AFTER STEALING OUR TEAM

For the first time in 34 years (and 25 years as the Kinston Indians), there will not be an opening night at Grainger Stadium tonight. Instead, the team formerly known as the Kinston Indians — the Carolina Mudcats — will open the 2012 season tonight in Zebulon.

Here’s a most excellent column by our David Hall on the subject.

My take: I really can’t put it any better than DHall did in his well-written piece — Kinston, this is your fault; not Cam McRae’s, not the man who stole our team and took it to Zebulon (Steve Bryant, who advertised his product in TFP this morning; yay) or even Minor League Baseball. This is YOUR fault, Kinston.

You can whine, bitch, complain or do whatever you want, but unless you were one of the handful of diehards who were at most every game (and yes, there were a hundred or so of you), shut the hell up. If you ever want another pro team at Grainger or in Kinston, do like DHall said — buy a team and bring it here or go support the “filler” games there until we have another team here.

And no, we (The Free Press) are not taking the bullet for this one — we covered the Kinston Indians better in the last eight years with David Hall’s award-winning talent than the team had ever been covered in its history. We let you know, freaking step-by-step, what was happening and how this day could come. We begged you to get out to games.

Personally, I attended at least 30-35 games last year and spent my money every time on concessions or memorabilia. I wrote several columns begging you to go to games. My publisher, Patrick Holmes, wrote several editorials to that effect.

David said it best in his column: you have the blood on your hands, Kinston.

This is on you, Kinston. Congratulations.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER ASSIGNS 70 REPORTERS TO ONE GAME

For today’s season-opening game against Kansas City, the Orange County Register — the Freedom Communications flagship newspaper (the same company that owns TFP, the New Bern Sun Journal and the Jacksonville Daily News) — has assigned 70 of its approximately 100 (!) reporters to cover the game between the hometown Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the visiting Royals.

My take: Overkill, anyone? It’s one game in 162 this season — what are they going to do if/when the Angels make it to the World Series, use all 100 (!) reporters and hire some stringers to help?

I’m not naive; newspapers are taking a beating right now and we’re doing everything we can to keep our heads above water to provide you, dear reader, with the excellent coverage to which you’ve grown accustomed. We’re embracing social media with big ol’ bear hugs and using many other methods of reaching and retaining readers and subscribers.

But … it’s hard for me to understand how using 70 reporters to cover one game is doing that, especially when there aren’t 70 total reporters at all the Freedom properties in North Carolina combined (TFP, NBSJ, JDN, The Jones Post, Havelock News, Burlington Times-News, Gaston Gazette and Shelby Star).

Send me one or two of those reporters so we can cover the things that needs to be covered in Kinston, La Grange, Pink Hill, Deep Run, Greene County and Jones County instead of overstaffing ONE regular season baseball game; I think my counterparts around North Carolina feel the same because we’re all severely understaffed.

I hope this experiment works for the OCR; it’s a hell of a product and again, the flagship of Freedom Communications — a company I love. But I just can’t help but feel this is excessive.

MCADOO RETURNING TO THE HILL

UNC freshman forward James Michael McAdoo announced yesterday he will return for his sophomore season, instead of joining the NBA Draft with teammates Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall.

My take: Good news for Tar Heel Nation — and Kinston’s Reggie Bullock, who will have a pretty doggoned good talent on one of his wings.

McAdoo was projected to go as high as No. 5 in one draft projection (according to Justin “The Kid” Hill) and was an almost certain lottery pick; for him to come back to Chapel Hill speaks volumes about how he didn’t want to leave Carolina with nothing on his resume. Good for him and good for college basketball.

JONES SENIOR ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH ARRESTED ON SEX CHARGES

Former Jones Senior assistant football coach Vaughn Chance was arrested Wednesday for indecent liberties with three female students at the school. The 53-year-old (!) was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor.

My take: This isn’t the first or second time this has happened at Jones Senior in my nearly decade-long tenure at TFP. If true (and this is America, you’re innocent until proven guilty), this is a pretty disgusting thing for a 53-year-old coach and alleged mentor to be doing.

And seriously … who thinks it’s cool for a 53-year-old man — and a football coach, to boot — to diddle with high school students?

High school coaches (and I know I have a lot who read this blog) — it ain’t worth it. I don’t care how cute that girl is, whether or not she’s 18 or that SHE’S the one making the “move” on you — she’s a STUDENT, for God’s sake. There are plenty of age-appropriate women out there who’d love to date a high school coach.

THAT FEW MINUTES OF PLEASURE IS NOT WORTH HAVING YOUR PICTURE SPLASHED ON EVERY NEWSPAPER FRONT AND EVERY TV STATION.

ARKANSAS FOOTBALL COACH CAUGHT FOOLIN’ AROUND?

Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino was in a motorcycle accident over the weekend, one that initially he said he was a lone rider.

Uh, no. The school held a late-night presser last night to reveal that instead, the 51-year-old coach had a 25-year-old school employee on his bike with him. He admitted to an inappropriate relationship in a press release and has been suspended by the university. And yes, Petrino hired her on March 28, only four days before the accident.

My take: It’s this simple — don’t cheat and this kind of thing WON’T happen. Can’t make it simpler than that. He certainly has a lot of ‘splaining to do.

The iPod shuffle

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You — Sting

Bad Meets Evil — Eminem

Eruption — Van Halen

I Can See For Miles — The Who

Fantastic Voyage — Coolio

Morning News Report; March 28, 2012

Bloggees: before I get started, I want to send a sincere thank you to all of you who took the time to write, call, email, Facebook and tweet me and our Free Press family while we mourned the loss of our friend and coworker, Charles Buchanan.

We’ve had several columns and tributes to the man, including my Sunday column, Jon Dawson’s column yesterday and even a poignant letter to the editor from former Free Press City Editor Jennifer Shrader.

We miss Charles. It’s been awful at the office this week without him … I keep waiting for him to poke his head in my office and I can’t pass his office without getting a lump in my throat.

We lost a good one, y’all — and it’s going to be very hard for The Free Press to recover from this loss.

CELL PHONE USE BY DRIVERS BANNED IN CHAPEL HILL

The town of Chapel Hill became the first in the nation to ban the use of cell phones by all drivers in its city limits. The ban is for traditional and hands-free phones.

My take: Thanks, Big Brother. We, as humans, are too stupid to make our own decisions, so it’s nice we have a government (at least in Chapel Hill) that cares enough to take care of us.

Sarcasm intended.

DODGERS SOLD FOR $2 BILLION

The L.A. Dodgers are set to be sold for (gulp!) $2 billion by a group that includes Magic Johnson.

My take: Wow … just wow. And we wonder why it costs $300 for a family of four to go to one of 81 home games a year for a MLB game. Jeez.

MEGA MILLIONS HITS $476 MILLION JACKPOT (OR MORE)

After no one won the Mega Millions jackpot last night, Friday’s estimated total is (gulp!) $476 million. There were three-hour waits last night for tickets in some areas.

My take: Yep … I’m not a big lottery ticket buyer, but I’ll be one of those idiots buying $5 worth of tickets for Friday’s drawing.

The iPod shuffle

The Tide Is High — Blondie

Electric Avenue — Eddy Grant

Damn Girl — Justin Timberlake featuring will.i.am

The Electric Co. — U2

Always Be My Baby — Mariah Carey

Morning Sports Report; Feb. 17, 2012

EASTERN PLAINS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT AT VIKING GYM

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 BREAKS SOME WUFFIE HEARTS

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.

THE KID’S LAST GAME WAS AN AWESOME WIN

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.

NBA DUNK CONTEST LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED

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.

MARIO WILLIAMS READY FOR FREE AGENCY

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

Afternoon News Report; Feb. 16, 2012

REALIGNMENT IN FINAL STAGES

The NCHSAA has released its final preliminary realignment plan – schools have until March 1 to appeal and on March 15, may make their appeals.

As expected, five of the six public schools in our area (Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton) will be in one 2A league along with Goldsboro. Our other public school, Jones Senior, will be in a 1A league with East Carteret, Lejeune, Jacksonville Northside, Pamlico and Chocowinity Southside.

To see the proposed 2A league, click here. For the 1A league, click here.

My takes: For starters … Ryan Herman is one lucky SOB. Back in the old days when I covered sports, all our schools were pretty much split up in separate conferences. Now … he gets five of our six schools in one league? Damn.

Seriously, though, I’m happy for him, because this means readers of TFP will get even better coverage. Now, if Parrott Academy, Bethel Academy and Mt. Calvary could all join the same league, we’d be in Nirvana. That AIN’T gonna happen, though.

I’m wondering what the new league is going to be named. I seriously doubt it’ll be the Eastern Plains 2A, because four of the existing seven members (Farmville Central, North Pitt, SW Edgecombe and Wilson Beddingfield) of the EP2A are going to be in the same league in the new realignment.

Greene Central was one of the founding members of the EPC in the 1960s and I know Snow Hill legend Rabbit Fulghum would like his Rams to remain in the league (which it has inhabited since the mid-1980s). Again, it’s unlikely to happen unless Ol’ Rabbit puts some heat on some folks.

There are a lot of six-team leagues in this realignment, but that won’t hurt as much as it might seem. I’d like to think Kinston football will finally get East Duplin — and former Vikings coach Battle Holley — on its schedule, especially since ED is also in a six-team league.

In fact, THIS would be a great non-conference schedule for the Vikings: East Duplin, Jacksonville Northside (which I can’t believe dropped to 1A!), Greenville Rose, Havelock, Jones Senior and Tarboro. Of course, that would mean Kinston’s schedule would be one of the toughest in the state, but it would certainly get them ready for the 2A playoffs!

You know South Lenoir is going to keep East Duplin on its non-conference football schedule (or, I hope so anyway). Spring Creek has also been a mainstay on the SL sked, but I’d love to see Jones Senior back on the Devils’ slate, along with Richlands (Kevin Wilson connection) and one of the existing EP2A members (like North Pitt, Beddingfield or SW Edgecombe).

North Lenoir will probably keep Eastern Wayne, C.B. Aycock and Southern Wayne on its’ non-league football schedule — teams the Hawks have played for decades. Whatever else happens, though — there’s no freaking reason for the Hawks to be playing Davidson Day School or West Montgomery in the new realignment.

Maybe the powers-that-be at Jones Senior will get the three Lenoir County schools — along with Greene Central and Jones Senior — in its non-conference rotation, making Herman’s life THAT much easier!

I can’t remember the last time — if ever — I’ve been this pumped for a realignment. It’s going to be fun here from 2013-17!

‘COLBERT REPORT’ TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED

“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central’s satirical look at politics, announced it will not tape an episode today. The show aired a re-run last night, too.

My take: Speculation is there is a family emergency; earlier today, there was speculation that Comedy Central might be pulling it, although that wouldn’t make sense since the Report is one of the channel’s top-viewed programs.

And yes, I’m a fan. Colbert is notoriously anti-GOP, but he’s also very intelligent and, well, funny. Here’s hoping he’s back soon.

GARY CARTER DIES OF BRAIN CANCER

One of baseball’s all-timers, Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, has succumbed to brain cancer.

My take: Along with Pete Rose, “The Kid” was my first baseball hero. I was one of the few Montreal Expo fans in high school — mainly because of Carter.

RIP to one of the best.

The iPod shuffle

Losing My Way — Justin Timberlake

Play That Funky Music — White Cherry

Communication Breakdown — Led Zeppelin

In A Little While — U2

Before You Accuse Me (Take A Look At Yourself) — Eric Clapton

Afternoon Sports Report; Feb. 15, 2012

LINSANITY GRIPS NEW YORK, THE NATION

Jeremy Lin has had an historic few weeks for the New York Knicks – and “Linsanity” has surpassed Tim Tebowism in its national fervor.

My take: The NBA has to be absolutely LOVING this, especially coming off the strike. This reminds me of the MLB strike in 1994, when Cal Ripken Jr. brought many fans back to the game with his consecutive games streak. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s steroid-fueled home run derby helped MLB, too.

But this is a fascinating story in which you have to pull for this kid. I’m not exactly going to run out and buy his jersey (although A LOT of people are), but I’m looking forward to seeing him play this weekend on national TV.

FOUR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AMONG 17 TCU STUDENTS ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

Seventeen TCU students — including four football players — were arrested today for selling drugs.

My take: Frankly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often on college campuses; drugs are plentiful and kids want ‘em, creating the supply and demand I learned in 10th grade at North Wilkes High School.

The players’ names haven’t been released yet, but more arrests are coming. Interested to see who they’ll be.

EP2A SEMIFINALS TONIGHT AT KHS

One side of the semifinals of the Eastern Plains 2A basketball tournament are tonight at Kinston High School; the top-seeded Vikings girls face Wilson Beddingfield while the top-seeded boys take on Farmville Central.

As you prepare yourself for those games, check out this awesome story by Ryan Herman on Nakeil Williams and Andrew Lopez – whose fathers are serving or have served our country.

My take: Should be a pretty good atmosphere at Viking Gym tonight — and kudos to Nakeil and Andrew’s fathers for raising such great young men.

The iPod shuffle

Down And Out — Tantric

We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel

Pop Goes The Weasel — 3rd Bass

Hooked On A Feeling — B.J. Thomas

Synchronicity 2 — The Police

P.S.: Check out this excellent column by Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy on the DOJ decision. All I can say is: Amen. Outstanding observations.

Morning News Report; Feb. 3, 2012

ETHERIDGE JOINS GOVERNOR’S RACE; BOWLES SAYS NO … AGAIN

In yet another post-Bev-quitting day of excitement, former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (he of the “Who are you?” rant gloriously remembered below) announced his run for governor, while the Democrats’ favorite, former Clinton staffer and UNC system president Erskine Bowles announced he won’t run.

Etheridge joins Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and N.C. Rep. Bill Faison, D-Orange, as the three candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor.

My take: Dalton wasn’t a surprise and is the front-runner right now; no one knows Faison, so he’s going to have that uphill battle.

But most folks remember Etheridge from THIS encounter:

Oh, the Republicans are begging the Democrats to nominate Mr. Etheridge!

JOSH HAMILTON HAS ALCOHOL RELAPSE

Raleigh native and Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has suffered with alcohol and drug abuse throughout a lot of his life, has had a relapse with alcohol.

My take: And that’s too bad. I’m a huge fan of Hamilton’s and I pray this is either an erroneous report or it’s just a one-time deal.

There are a lot of kids who look up to Hamilton — and adults who are suffering from alcohol and drug addictions, too.

WOODMEN CENTER TOURED BY COMMITTEE

Members of the Woodmen of the World Center committee toured the construction area of the rapidly-growing center and pool yesterday. They gave the center — whose pool is set to open in June — a big thumbs-up.

My take: As do I. With the loss of the Kinston Indians, Lenoir County needed a shot in the arm — and this is it.

I know folks were bitching about the city and government combining to give $1 million to this project, but when you see the people this is going to bring to Kinston (with their dollars), you’re going to be shocked. This is going to be the best water park in Eastern North Carolina — along with a state-of-the-art gym — and it’s going to bring hundeds and thousands of folks into our town who otherwise wouldn’t come.

Let’s look past the nose on our face, people — this is going to be a major success and we need to support it.

The iPod shuffle

Vogue — Madonna

The Humpty Dance — Digital Underground

The Gank — Nelly

Touchdown — T.I. featuring Eminem

Miss Sarejevo — U2

Afternoon Sports Report; Nov. 18, 2011

KINSTON, A-G, JS ENTER 3RD ROUND OF PLAYOFFS

As I mentioned on this week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast (listen to it! It’s awesome!) and Herman wrote in his preview today, tonight’s three prep football playoff games — Bunn at Kinston, SW Onslow at Ayden-Grifton and Jones Senior at North Edgecombe — all involve a bit of revenge.

Kinston and A-G lost in last year’s playoffs to tonight’s opponents while Jones Senior was eliminated from the postseason two years ago by NE.

My take: I’ll post my picks in a bit, but as you’ll see then — I think all three teams have an excellent opportunity to get some vengeance tonight.

If you’d like to keep up with the games tonight, follow me on Twitter at BCHanks — I’ll be updating all three games; I’m at North Edgecombe, Herman’s at A-G and I’ll have someone feeding me updates from Kinston … could it be you? Let me know and I’ll promote your Twitter and you here on the blog.

Also, I continue to dominate WCTI ABC-12′s Brian North and Chris Miller, Rick Scoppe and Mike Boaz from the Jacksonville Daily News in the JDN’s picks contest (read Miller’s column, but scroll to the bottom for the standings). It ain’t easy, but it sure is fun.

KINSTON’S JONES NAMED NCPREPS.COM 2A PLAYER OF WEEK

In last week’s 53-20 second-round win against Topsail, Kinston’s George Jones had a performance that has had him named the We-It Athletics/NCPreps.com 2A player of the week.

From NCPreps:

George Jones of Kinston High School has been selected as the We-It Athletics/NCPreps.com 2A Player of the Week for Playoff Week 2. Jones ran 9 times for 129 yards with 3 TDS and returned an INT for a score in the Vikings’ 53-20 win over Topsail.

My take: Congrats to George and the Vikings!

ANOTHER CHILD-SEX/COLLEGE SPORTS SCANDAL

This time, it’s at Syracuse; an assistant basketball coach is being accused of molestation of two ball-boys more than 20 years ago.

My take: This was investigated by ESPN and a local newspaper in Syracuse several years, but both organizations came to the conclusion there wasn’t enough there to run a story.

I’m thinking with all the ongoing Penn State drama, it makes this more “relevant” — and if I know anything about newsgathering organizations, it’s this: everybody wants a story. Not saying it did or didn’t happen (and SU coach Jim Boeheim is denying it did) but everyone wants that story.

And here’s some irony for you — the guy accusing the SU coach is named Bobby Davis, who is 39 years old. But no, it’s not our Bobby “Heelatious” Davis — who is also 39 — who said it’s been a “freaky” couple of days.

ASTROS MOVING TO AL; ANOTHER WILD-CARD GAME ADDED

Following a sale of the team, the Houston Astros announced they will be moving to the American League in 2013.

Also, another round of the playoffs has been added to the MLB postseason — a one-game wild-card contest, and it could happen as soon as next season.

My take: The Astros move means there will be 15 teams in each league — meaning there will now be interleague games essentially every day of the season. The fabric of baseball has officially been ripped apart … thanks, Bud Selig.

And it continued with the addition of the playoff round. Before long, MLB — whose lone remaining charm was that not every team made it to the postseason — will be like the NBA and NHL, where if you finish .500 or better (or sometimes, NOT EVEN .500), you make the playoffs.

And MLB wonders why it continues to lose fans to the NFL, who gets it right — lesser is sometimes better. Sure, the NFL could go 22 or 24 games — but a nice 16-game season makes folks want more.

And don’t get me started on that NASCAR crap, where the season begins in February and ends in late November.

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.”

Morning News Report; Oct. 28, 2011

BEST WORLD SERIES GAME EVER?

In what some are calling the best World Series game in baseball history, the St. Louis Cardinals rallied in the ninth and 10th innings to down the Texas Rangers, 10-9, in Game 6 of the Fall Classic.

My take:A heck of a game, to be sure. If you’re the Rangers and you’ve had your heart ripped out the way it was last night, how do you recover for Game 7 tonight? My gut says tonight is anticlimactic — St. Louis probably wins 12-3 or something like that.

So … where does last night’s game rank to you?

‘IRON MAN 3′ TO FILM IN WILMINGTON

N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue announced the superhero movie, “Iron Man 3″ will begin filming in Wilmington soon. Filming will allegedly bring more than $80 million to the state, along with 550 crew jobs and 1,000 jobs for actors.

My take: Pretty cool, although you have to wonder how much N.C. had to give up to get this to come to Wilmington. Regardless — has to be a shot in the arm for Wilmington economically.

NBA NEARING RESOLUTION TO LOCKOUT

It appears there might be some sort of deal between the NBA owners and players to end the lockout — as early as today.

My take: They better get something worked out; with baseball stealing the stage, the NFL getting its usual lofty ratings and college basketball getting ready to debut its 2011-12 edition, the NBA is already going to have to battle to gets its audience back. If it’s gone for more than the two weeks its already lost, it would be a pretty tough task to get the peripheral fans back.

The good news, though? Those (sarcasm intended) hard-to-get Charlotte Bobcats tickets should be even easier to obtain after this mess is over.

The iPod shuffle

Rock N Roll Band — Boston

Mandy — Barry Manilow

Come As You Are — Nirvana

Sad Songs (Say So Much) — Elton John

Another One Bites The Dust — Queen

P.S.: If you’re one of our Pink Hill bloggees, take a look at four of the six candidates running for your town board; Justin “The Kid” worked hard on the stories and aided Jon Dawson and I on the podcasts, which you can also access at the link.

And note I wrote four of the six — candidates Debra Grady and Marion Mitchell didn’t think it was important enough to share their messages with Free Press readers. What chaps my lips the most about that is eight candidates from Pink Hill (mayoral and town board) and 11 from Kinston and La Grange made the time to come to our office or be interviewed over the phone for this FREE feature over a three-day period, but Ms. Grady and Mr. Mitchell essentially blew us off, after multiple calls and talking to Justin.

I would never encourage to vote for or against a candidate … but I’d strongly consider my vote for a candidate who can’t take 15 minutes out of their day to share their message with voters. If they can’t take 15 minutes, how are they going to have the time to help run your town?