Morning News Report; Nov. 21, 2011

GINGRICH TAKES LEAD FOR GOP BERTH

Former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich has surged to the lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

My take: I’ll never understand the political game — and this is a great example of why.

Gingrich, who has famously been married and divorced several times (including cheating on his spouse), is the voice of the conservative right? I guess it’s that “do as I say do, don’t do as I do” political strategy.

I’ll say this much — President Obama and the Democrats have to be smiling like Cheshire cats and praying that Gingrich wins the GOP nomination … cuz if he wins, the race becomes a lay-up for the Democrats.

MICHELLE OBAMA BOOED AT NASCAR FINALE

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the country’s “second lady,” were roundly booed at Sunday’s NASCAR finale in Homestead, Fla.

My take: You know … you have to figure that NASCAR fans aren’t exactly the Obama/Biden demographic. Just sayin’.

Oh, and Tony Stewart won the Winston Nextel Sprint Cup championship if you care about that kind of thing … which I don’t. I’ll echo what former Free Press Sports Editor R.L. Bynum tweeted last night — if it’s a “cup” championship, why isn’t a cup awarded to the winner?

CRAZY DAY IN ACC FOOTBALL

Saturday was one of the most unpredictable days in recent memory for the ACC football as N.C. State absolutely shut down the league’s top team (Clemson), Virginia won at Florida State for the first time and Boston College and Duke almost pulling off upsets of Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, respectively.

My take: I know this much — if Virginia’s Mike London doesn’t get coach of the year in the ACC, there’s no justice in the world. All he’s done is take a team some had finishing behind Duke this year and has them on the precipice of an appearance in the ACC championship game.

And my Wuffie friends need to explain to me how you can beat Clemson, Virginia (on the road!) and UNC … but lose to Boston College and Wake Forest. By the by — not one player in our picks contest picked State to win Saturday, and that includes several Wuffie grads.

It’s certainly been an up-and-down year in the ACC this season — and one in which I hope my Cavahoos walk away with the title on Dec. 3 in Charlotte.

The iPod shuffle

Been Around The World — Puff Daddy & The Family featuring The Notorious B.I.G.

Across The Universe — The Beatles

St. Jimmy — Green Day

I’ll Be There For You — Bon Jovi

Funkytown — Lipps Inc.

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. 9, 2011

Here’s a king-sized MNR, since I was Election Boy yesterday; speaking of which, I’m going to have a separate blog post on all the local results after this not-so-little ditty…

PATERNO LIKELY OUT AT PENN STATE SOON

In the wake of the disgusting Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State, Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno is probably preparing for his final home game of his legendary career in Happy Valley.

My take: Honestly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened quicker than this.

It’s this simple — JoePa was told nine years ago that his close friend and assistant coach of four decades RAPED A 10-YEAR-OLD BOY IN A LOCKER-ROOM SHOWER ON HIS FREAKING CAMPUS. Process that for a second.

Now put yourself in JoePa’s position: what kept him from beating the dogsh*t out of Sandusky? Protecting his own job? Disbelief? Fear? There is NOTHING that should’ve kept Paterno from reporting this to law enforcement … NOTHING. Even if his supervisors threatened him, he should’ve gone to the police with this. And honestly now, who has been king at Penn State for 50 years?

Another disgusting thing that has come from this whole mess — and believe me, there’s more than a normal person can digest here — was the way PSU students and fans gathered on Paterno’s lawn last night and serenaded him with cheers and tears. They should’ve been there with pitchforks and torches.

ECU STUDENT-RUN PAPER RUNS PHOTOS OF STREAKER

Two days ago here on this very blog, we debated whether we’d run photos of that idiot streaker in The Free Press or on Kinston.com who ruined the halftime salute to the military at Saturday’s ECU-Southern Miss game in Greenville.

Well … the ECU student newspaper trumped us all — the East Carolinian published three unblurred photos on the front of yesterday’s edition and online.

My take: All I have to say about this is that wouldn’t fly in Kinston. I held a newsroom discussion about this Monday and it was about 75-25 to run blurred photos.

But unblurred photos? Eh, no.

Am I slamming the East Carolinian? Absolutely not. College newspapers are a bit more liberal than family publications such as your Daily Free Press. It was a gutsy (albeit, stupid) move that’s going to probably bite someone in the ass. Pun intended. But I respect the paper’s student editors for making the decision — they’re certainly getting the buzz they were trying to get.

WOMAN SET TO HAVE 20TH(!) BABY

A 45-year-old woman — and reality TV “star” — is going to have her 20th baby.

My take: Normally wouldn’t be the kind of story I’d post here, except for this hilarious nugget — the best sports talk host in the world (Steve Czaban, listen to him on Yahoo Sports Radio or on your Tune-In app from 6-9 a.m. every day) had this line: “Ms. Duggars, your uterus isn’t a clown car.”

Gold, Jerry, gold.

CAIN TAKES ON ACCUSERS

The GOP front-runner for president in 2012, Herman Cain, is being attacked left and right on sexual harassment charges. He is fighting back and says he’s staying in the race.

My take: Only Cain and his accusers know the truth about these charges. Until I see some real proof (i.e., photos, tapes, etc.), it’s going to be hard to convince me these allegations are true.

One thing I will agree with Cain with is this, from a campaign email sent to his supporters:

“… the emphasis on ‘gaffes,’ gotcha questions and time devoted to trivial nonsense – and everyone knows the process only became further detached from relevance this week as the media published anonymous, ancient, vague personal allegations against me.

Once this kind of nonsense starts, the media’s rules say you have to act in a certain way.”

And he’s right. In this age of TMZ and gotcha journalism, this is what is going to continue to happen. I blame Richard Nixon.

RIP, SMOKIN’ JOE FRAZIER

One of boxing’s all-time greats, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, died of liver cancer on Monday at the age of 67.

My take: Admittedly, his time in the sun was before I was cognizant of sports — and boxing — but he was a heck of a boxer and man. To put up with the junk Muhammad Ali threw at him proved that.

KYLE BUSCH PARKED BY NASCAR

A few days late, but worthy of a note here — after wrecking a fellow driver during a caution period in a truck race Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR bad boy Kyle Busch found himself in the pits for Saturday and Sunday’s races. He was also fined $50,000 and placed on probation for the rest of the season.

My take: And this is what NASCAR deserves; it bragged about how it was bringing back old-time racing and fightin’ in the preseason and all Busch did was live up to it.

NASCAR IS A JOKE. If you’re still watching it, you’re the type of mindless sheep the quasi-sport wants in its camp. Congrats. And how long are the sponsors going to stay on board? You have to figure M&Ms are just ecstatic about their poster-boy doing this.

NBA PLAYERS HAVE UNTIL 5 P.M. TODAY TO MAKE DEAL

NBA owners have given their players until 5 p.m. to accept their latest offer — or it’s going to be even worse … allegedly.

My take:If you’re an NBA fan — and yes, I count myself among that quickly fading group — prepare yourself for a 40-game season, if we even get one at all.

The only good news to come out of this, though, is something I’ve said here before — if you thought tickets were easy to get in Charlotte before, wait until this mess is over. The Bobcats will practically be giving tickets away to get butts in the seats.

HAYNESWORTH CUT BY PATRIOTS

The New England Patriots cut malcontent defensive end Albert Haynesworth yesterday.

My take: Nothing much to say here other than this:

 

The iPod shuffle

Graceland — Paul Simon

Wait For Me — Daryl Hall & John Oates

Private Eyes — Daryl Hall & John Oates (wow … three Hall & Oates in two days?)

Elevation — U2

Zombie — The Cranberries

Deacon Blues — Steely Dan

I Look Good — Chalie Boy

Animal — Def Leppard

So Cruel — U2

Against The Wind — Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Morning News Report; Nov. 3, 2011

STATE SNAGS ANOTHER GOOD RECRUIT

T.J. Warren, a former Raleigh Word of God star who also played at Durham Riverside, verbally committed to N.C. State yesterday. He’s currently at a prep school in New Hampshire.

My take: Other than the fact he’s been at three high schools/prep schools in the past year, a good get for new State coach Mark Gottfried, who is putting together quite the first class for the Wuffies.

JEREMY MAYFIELD ARRESTED ON METH CHARGE

Former NASCAR star Jeremy Mayfield — already on suspension for alleged drug use — was arrested Tuesday night at his home in Catawba for possession of methamphetamine.

My take: Oh, how the “mighty” have fallen. It appears he had all sorts of stolen items in his house at the time of the arrest, too, and charges are pending for those.

Meth — it’s not a good thing, kids.

JUSTIN BIEBER … IS A BABY DADDY?

That’s what the rumor is, although the young Bieber is denying it.

My take: Disturbing on so many different levels.

The iPod shuffle

Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down — Puff Daddy & The Family featuring Mase

On The Run — Pink Floyd

Takin’ Care Of Business — Bachman Turner Overdrive

Legs (Remix) — ZZ Top

Enter Sandman — Metallica

P.S.: I made an appearance on The Reece Gardner Hour this week, where Mr. Gardner wanted to discuss the battle the HB is going through; if you’d like to check it out, please click here. And as always — THANK YOU for the prayers for her. She appreciates it immensely, as do I.

Reece and I also talk about the City Council race and other local issues. Also, stay tuned later this afternoon for this week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast with Ryan Herman, which features FOB Brian North and highschoolot.com/WRAL CBS-5′s Nick Stevens this week. . Trust me — you’ll enjoy it.

Morning Sports Report; Sept. 2, 2011

FAREWELL, K-TRIBE

After 25 years of being affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, the Kinston Indians play their final regularly-scheduled game at Grainger Stadium tonight. It is possibly the final professional baseball game that will ever be played in Kinston.

My take: Due to a familial situation, I won’t be able to attend tonight’s game – I said my good-bye at Wednesday’s game.

I’m anticipating a sell-out, but I won’t be surprised if there isn’t. What pisses me off the most about this whole situation is this — WE DID THIS TO OURSELVES. We had an opportunity this season to pack Grainger Stadium to show prospective new teams how much support this community has for professional baseball, but when there’s less than 1,000 fans at a beautiful Wednesday night game — TWO NIGHTS BEFORE THE FINAL GAME — there’s no excuse.

Wednesday was just a microcosm of the 2011 season. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I know the 20 or so games I attended this season, there were fewer and fewer asses in the seats than there have been in past seasons.

I seriously don’t want to hear any whining about Cam McRae — he put up with losing money with this team for a quarter-century to keep baseball here. He’s gone WELL beyond the call to keep the K-Tribe here.

Kinston and ENC — this one’s on us. When we’re watching Coastal Plains League baseball (or nothing but concerts and American Legion baseball) here next summer instead of High Single-A, blame yourselves.

CHRIS JOHNSON FINALLY SIGNS

Former ECU football star Chris Johnson is now the highest-paid running back in NFL history as the Tennessee Titans signed him to an extension that will pay him $30 million of guaranteed money in a $53.5 million contract.

My take: He’s certainly worthy of it — he’s been one of the top running backs in the NFL the past three years or so.

And I know there are fantasy football players all over the world breathing a sigh of relief right about now!

Here’s the funniest tweet I saw about Johnson’s signing last night, from Owen Good: “Chris Johnson just raised the average salary for ECU graduates to $5.16 per hour.” I don’t agree with it … but it seriously made me chuckle.

JUNIOR RE-SIGNS FOR FIVE YEARS WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed a five-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports, which will keep him with NASCAR’s top team through the 2017 season.

My take: He does this while there are dozens of other drivers out there with infinitely more talent toiling at the lower levels. Sigh.

Junior is arguably the most overrated “athlete” in sports history, including Danica Patrick, Shawn Bradley, Anna Kournikova and Tony Romo. Throw me some more names out there — this might make a great “lists” blog entry.

The iPod shuffle

Sober — P!nk

Be Good To Yourself — Journey

Funky Donkey — Beastie Boys

Snoop D.O. Double G — Snoop Dogg

Intergalatic — Beastie Boys

P.S.: Guys and gals — please don’t forget to get your picks in for this week’s games. Missing a lot of our regulars in this week’s picks.

Morning News Report; Aug. 24, 2011

IRENE CHURNING ON

Folks in our neck of the woods continue to prepare for the potential of Hurricane Irene; however, Accuweather.com is now projecting she will just “brush” our coast. Here’s the projected path of Irene as of 10:34 a.m.:

Click on the photo for a larger view.

My take: I know weather junkies are going to be sad about this … but it wouldn’t break my heart a bit if the ol’ girl turns her nose up towards the Northeast.

GILES STROUD ON TERRY CLINE

The Free Press guest columnist this week is Lenoir County school board member Giles Stroud, who gives us some insight to the dismissal of former superintendent Dr. Terry Cline.

Among the revelations are that Cline allegedly intimidated school employees and that the investigation into whether the superintendent misused his authority cost nearly $6,000.

My take: One thing you can say about Mr. Stroud, whether you agree with his politics or not — he’s not afraid to say/write what he thinks.

SAD NEWS ABOUT PAT SUMMITT

Legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit revealed yesterday she has onset dementia of Alzheimer’s. She will continue to coach this season.

My take: Having lost my Grandma Hanks to Alzheimer’s, I know exactly how cruel that disease is. I’ve never been a fan of Summit’s — or women’s basketball, for that matter — but you have to respect what she’s done to get her sport on the map. My prayers are with her and her family as they battle this terrible disease.

128 MPH IN A 45? LOSE LICENSE FOR SIX WEEKS

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Kyle Busch pled guilty yesterday in Statesville to driving 128 mph in a 45 mph zone — and lost his license for 45 days. He was also fined $1,000 and will serve 30 hours of community service.

My take: Seriously? Seriously?

If you or I do that, we’re probably thrown in jail for a year and lose our license for the same amount of time.

NASCAR should suspend him for the same amount of time — how the heck can you drive on a track with a suspended driver’s license? Just another reason to look down on the pseudo-sport.

The iPod shuffle

It’s Bad You Know — R.L. Burnside

Can’t Fight This Feeling — REO Speedwagon

Drive Slow — Kanye West feat. Paul Wall & GLC

Magnificient — U2

Finish What You Started — Van Halen

P.S.: There will not be a Friday night football game this week, as all have been moved because of the potential of Irene. Kinston at South Lenoir, North Lenoir at West Montgomery, Greene Central at Ayden-Grifton and Jones Senior at Warsaw Kenan are all on Thursday. Arendell Parrott Academy’s home season-opener against Hobgood Academy has yet to be scheduled, but when it is, I’ll let you know.

Afternoon News Report; May 10, 2011

Sorry for the tardiness — just a lot of stuff going on. Got lots of good nuggets for you here, though…

TROUBLE IN MAYSVILLE

Billy Ray Waddell, the town manager of Maysville, has announced his intent to retire after being arrested on 22 charges involving waste water management records on Friday. 

My take: And it gets worse — our Jones Post reporter Justin Hill (known as The Kid to you faithful bloggees) was kicked out of a meeting in Maysville last night when the town mayor and board went into an illegal closed meeting.

Why was it illegal? The town, by law, has to give media outlets a 48-hour notice of the meeting. Maysville NEVER contacted us – it was only by an unnamed source we found about it.

They illegally closed the meeting — WITHOUT making a motion to go into the closed portion of it. They used a Maysville town cop to kick Justin out of the meeting and then locked the door to keep him out.

And then the mayor, James Harper, tried to sneak out of the meeting through the back door before Justin and a camera crew from WCTI ABC-12 tracked him down. Even then, he “no-commented” them and sped off in his car.

What’s worse is that Justin has been on the phone all day trying to get town councilmembers to simply verify that the new interim town manager is Dale Gurganus-McCullough, the current town clerk and financial officer … who sent out the email saying she’s the new interim town manager. And not one of these elected officials will go on the record to say they voted on it, which, ironically would be illegal since it didn’t happen in open session.

If I’m a Maysville resident, I’m incensed. The people I elected to represent me don’t have the cajones to answer the questions from the press. They are conducting town business in secret. Not a very transparent — or American — town government in Maysville.

NORTH WILKESBORO SPEEDWAY CLOSING AGAIN

After only being re-opened for 18 months, the North Wilkesboro Speedway has closed again, this time due to lack of money.

My take: As some of you know, I grew up in Wilkes County, only 20 miles or so from the track. Some of my best high school memories come from going to qualifying on Fridays and going to a handful of races.

When Bruton Smith bought the speedway and moved its races to New Hampshire and Texas Motor Speedway in 1996, he essentially killed the Wilkes County economy. The two then-Winston Cup races brought in millions of dollars to the local economy — money that has never been replaced.

The track went into serious disrepair before Alton McBride (who, according to the Winston-Salem Journal, had some financial troubles of his own) took over about a year-and-a-half ago. But now … here we go again. At least McBride tried and I appreciate he and his group for that.

It does bug me that NASCAR doesn’t rehabilitate the track and even put a truck race there. Yet another reason for me to hate the wanna-be sport, though.

NEWT GINGRICH ANNOUNCES BID FOR PRESIDENT

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich has announced he will run for president in 2012.

My take: And sadly, he’s probably the best candidate the Republicans have at the moment. He has the name recognition and the political clout … but is that enough to defeat Ron Paul, Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin for the GOP nod and then Obama for the presidency?

Is this the best the GOP has? If so, Obama is going to be pretty much a sure shot for reelection.

AH-NOLD AND MARIA SHRIVER SEPARATING

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have announced their separation after 25 years of marriage.

My take: Say it ain’t so, Ah-nold!

If those crazy kids can’t make it after a quarter-century of marriage, what hope is there for the rest of us?

The iPod shuffle

Return To Innocence — Enigma

Dead And Bloated — Stone Temple Pilots

You’re Never Over — Eminem

Even The Losers — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

All Shook Up — Elvis Presley

P.S.: Congrats to Friend of the Blog (FOB) and Kinston baseball coach Jason Wade for the birth of his daughter, Mollie Jean Wade, this morning. Coach says mom and baby — all 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 20 inches of her — are doing fine. Congratulations, my friend!

P.P.S.S.: My good friends at the Gaston Gazette picked up my column on Robin Rogers; you can read it here – and see the awesome comments folks have made about Robin. Thanks, Hunter Bretzius and the folks at the GG for sharing my feelings about my friend in your awesome paper!

Morning News Report; Feb. 21, 2011

SOMEONE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF WINS DAYTONA 500

… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Trevor Bayne, who turned 20 on Saturday, won Sunday’s 53rd running of the Great American Race at Daytona. Bayne drove a Ford owned by the Wood Brothers, one of the great families in NASCAR. It was only Bayne’s second start in the Winston Nextel Sprint Cup Series.

My take: And yes, I watched a good chunk of it because of the young man up front. I grew up a Ford fan but (as many of you know) have fallen out of love with the sport over the past few years for many reasons I won’t bore you with here.

But yesterday was old school — and a joy to watch (other than Darrell Waltrip’s stupid yammering). The kid was genuinely excited, the racing was good (I, for one, don’t mind the two-by-two racing; it beats the hell out of 10-car drafts) and, for one day at least, NASCAR was fun … which it hasn’t been in a long time.

DUKE WINS, LIKELY TO ASCEND TO NO. 1 AGAIN

Duke easily defeated Georgia Tech last night in Durham; with the No. 5 Blue Devils winning — and the top four teams losing — it’s likely Duke will be No. 1 again when the polls are released.

My take: Like last year, there’s not a breakaway No. 1 or national champion contender, which means we’re going to have a heck of a NCAA Tournament.

‘UNKNOWN’ TOPS WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

Liam Neeson helped lead “Unknown” to the top of the weekend box office; in its first week, the action thriller finished with $21.8 million in receipts, narrowly defeating “I Am Number Four,” which had $19.5 million and ”Gnomeo & Juliet” ($19.4 million). “Just Go With It” was fourth with $18.2 million and “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son” ($17 million) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

My take: I wouldn’t mind seeing “Unknown,” although it looks nearly identical to “Taken,” another Neeson movie that came out last year — and it wasn’t bad. However, when is Martin Lawrence going to stop making Big Momma movies? Seriously, who watches those?

The iPod shuffle

Burning Love — Elvis Presley

Something — The Beatles

Hustlin’ — Rick Ross

Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny — The Bloodhound Gang

You May Be Right — Billy Joel

P.S.: I spoke too soon … in yesterday’s column, I announced I’d be back today at The Free Press. I’ve had a setback, as now I’m having severe muscle spasms in the middle of my back; I’m unable to take a deep breath without a lot of pain. So I’m heading back to the doc this a.m. (when I get a call back). I’ll keep you guys up to date.

Morning Sports Report; Nov. 22, 2010

VINCE YOUNG LOSES HIS DAMNED MIND

Following yesterday’s 19-16 overtime loss to America’s Team (the Washington Redskins), the Tennessee Titans may have also lost their starting quarterback. Trouble child Vince Young — who already has a disturbing history with the Titans — threw his shoulder pads into the crowd and had a heated exchange with coach Jeff Fisher.

My take: Young had already injured the thumb on his throwing hand in the game that might require season-ending surgery, so he’s possibly done for 2010.

But combined with his alleged suicide attempt of a couple seasons ago and all his other prima donna attitude, this probably marks the end of his tenure in Nashville.

JIMMIE JOHNSON (YAWWWWWN) WINS ANOTHER NASCAR TITLE

Jimmie Johnson won a historic fifth-straight NASCAR Winston Cup, oops, Nextel Cup, errr, Sprint Cup championship on Sunday.

My take: And yes, I think that helps ring the death knell for the pseudo-sport. Ratings have stunk all season for NASCAR and a fifth-straight title by one of the blandest personalities in the field can’t help.

If Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart had won five straight titles, it’d be a different story. But JJ — despite being a seemingly good guy — is about as exciting as wheat toast.

But NASCAR deserves this — it has done everything it can to take the excitement out of its product, so … congratulations. The finale was on ESPN again yesterday — AGAINST THE FREAKING NFL — so its ratings are going to suffer again.

The final race should be on Saturday night, when it’s not up against the NFL, or even put it on a Monday night.

Again, the idiot powers-that-be at NASCAR have made their bed — I’m betting the sport is almost dead (in NHL territory) by 2020.

TOUGH WEEKEND FOR TAR HEEL FANS

It started with a Friday loss to Minnesota (and Ralph Sampson III!) in Puerto Rico, continued in Saturday’s loss to N.C. State in Kenan Stadium, and ended up with UNC losing again in Puerto Rico to another unranked team in Vanderbilt.

And according to UNC alum and coworker Justin “The Kid” Hill, the defending national champion Tar Heel women’s 4-1 soccer loss to Notre Dame also stung.

My take: All-in-all, a tough weekend to wear that baby blue.

The iPod shuffle

Communication Breakdown — Led Zeppelin

The Ocean — U2

If You Could See — Tonic

Pop Goes The Weasel — 3rd Bass

Miuzi Weighs A Ton — Public Enemy

Morning News Report; Nov. 4, 2010

GOP WINS MORE INFLUENTIAL THAN EARLIER THOUGHT

Lost in the shuffle of Tuesday’s night’s Republican takeover in the U.S. House (and significant gains in the Senate) was the fact that at least 19 previously state legislatures (including the Senate and House in North Carolina) went red.

Why is that important? With the census being finished, the previously-gerrymandered districts (including the ridiculous N.C. House 12 seat that William Wainwright occupies) can be re-drawn.

My take: As I have stated many previous times, I don’t have a preference between the GOP and the Democrats — I just want to see fairness in districting and the political system. It’s pretty evident that when you have a barbell-looking district in our own backyard — and some more ridiculous-looking districts in N.C. — the Dems twisted the districts to fit their needs.

No, I’m not suggesting the GOP do the same thing; I am suggesting districts be drawn that reflects the people that live in them.

Still, this is a significant development that a lot of the mainstream media are not reporting yet; but it’s coming.

MOSS GOES TO TITANS; GATES HURT PRETTY BAD

In NFL news that affects nearly all my fantasy football teams, the Tennessee Titans were the only team to claim Randy Moss off the waiver wire and San Diego Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates has a more-serious foot injury than experts thought he might have.

My takes: At least someone picked Moss up — and I thought there might be a team that wouldn’t claim him. The bad news is that he has a bye week, so he’s not available until next week; even then, I think his value takes a serious hit — I’m not sure he’s a sure start every week (and he sure as hell isn’t worth the first-round pick I wasted on him in my big money league).

And yes, I have Gates in two leagues, so I spent this morning scouring the waiver wire for a replacement. Go Jacob Tamme!

NASCAR DOWNTURN CONTINUES

The Gateway International Raceway, outside of St. Louis, announced it is closing and will no longer host NASCAR events.

My take: Excuse me while I clear my throat …

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I hate to see anyone go out of business in this putrid economy, but this couldn’t happen to a better industry. At least North Wilkesboro Speedway is making a comeback — but it warms the deep, dark cockles of my heart that these super-tracks that took NASCAR away from its roots are failing en masse.

Awesome. Now, bring a Nationwide race back to North Wilkesboro — the cradle of the sport.

The iPod shuffle

Dirty Day — U2

Roadhouse Blues — The Doors

Can’t Stop Lovin’ You — Van Halen

Bullet The Blue Sky — U2 (“The God I believe in isn’t short on cash, mister!”)

Break Ya Neck — Busta Rhymes