Morning News Report; April 26, 2012

Sorry I’ve been away, bloggees — real life is a bitch. Anyhoo — a pretty special MNR:


Former Kinston High School/UNC football star Quinton Coples will likely be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft tonight. He’ll be first player in Lenoir County to earn the honor.

My take: I couldn’t be more proud of a young man who has worked hard to get to this point in his life. I’ve watched him and covered him since he was in the eighth grade and playing recreation basketball for Larry Powell with Bo Ingram and the rest of the “Six Shooters.”

He’s been a stand-up young man who did what was best for his family and himself when he left Kinston as a senior — a decision that has helped him to where he is today: on the threshold of becoming a multi-millionaire NFL player.

A behind-the-scenes look at what we’re doing tonight at TFP: we’re hoping he is selected earlier rather than later because we’ve switched press times with one of our sister papers, giving us a little bit later deadline than our typical ridiculously early deadline. Award-winning page designer Richard Clark has a freaking fantastic front page ready, so … Carolina Panthers — TAKE QUINTON COPLES!


When legendary North Lenoir baseball coach Jim Montague’s Hawks take the field against Kinston today, they’ll be going for the coach’s 350th career victory.

My take: One thing I’ve always liked about Coach Montague — he never takes credit for his team’s success but always takes the brunt of their losses.

Some of the best times of my journalism career was covering those championship teams in 2005-2007, with Sthil Sowers, Brandon Sutton, Andrew Manning, John Alphin and the others. In 20 years of covering prep sports, I’ve never seen a pitching combo like Sowers and Sutton, who were as confident and successful as any pair of high school pitchers EVER. Montague coached his tail off, too, and if a certain western N.C. school hadn’t put together an all-star team to take down North Lenoir, the Hawks would’ve had three straight state titles.

Congrats, Coach! Stay around for 400!


When the Charlotte Bobcats take the court against the New York Knicks tonight — on national TV, no less — they’ll be trying to avoid their 23rd straight loss and the infamy of being the worst team in NBA history (by percentage).

My take: Yikes. I’ll be pulling for the Bobcats … but if I were a betting man, I sure as heck wouldn’t bet on them.

And check out this scatching Chicago Sun-Times column on Bobcats majority owner Michael Jordan. Yikes again.


Contrary to popular belief, there is actually a primary for the Republican nomination for governor. While the Democrats have had several debates and forums, the GOP has had none, since everyone naturally assumes Pat McCrory (who has been campaigning for the last four years anyway) will get the nod.

One Republican, though, is challenging McCrory to a debate.

My take: If I were him, though, I wouldn’t hold my breath. McCrory has nothing to gain by debating a Republican challenger … nothing. All he’d do is lend credence to that opponent.

The iPod shuffle

Against The Wind — Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Summer of ’69 — Bryan Adams

Evverybody’s Talkin’ — Harry Nilsson

Drop It Like It’s Hot — Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell

Hand On The Glock — Cypress Hill

Afternoon Sports Report; April 10, 2012

Wrapping up the weekend…


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.


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?


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

Afternoon News Report; March 22, 2012


Just got back from Tonya Sessoms Adam’s Beauty Box, where I got a haircut and the HB got a pedicure. Today, Adams’ business is donating 50 percent of all proceeds (she’s personally donating ALL her personal proceeds) to the SPCA.

My take: Please check it out — you can call Tonya at 252-522-3939 to set up an appointment. And if you can’t make it today, make a call and buy a gift certificate. Additionally, if you bring dog or cat food by, you can get a free gift certificate.

The SPCA does a tremendous job helping animals in our area — a mostly thankless, tough job. Please help them if you can.


The NFL punished New Orleans head coach Sean Payton by suspending him for a year — costing Payton $7.5 million in the process. The Saints also lost draft picks, paid a fine and the principal figure behind the mess (Gregg Williams) is suspended indefinitely.

My take: Pretty harsh, but not unfair in my opinion. If the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell was trying to send a message, I’d say it’s been delivered. Now, if only MLB, the NBA and the NHL had similar strong commissioners, they might be better off, too.


Tim Tebow was traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets yesterday.

My take: Very, very curious — simply because the Jets already have a franchise quarterback to whom they recently paid a lot of money. I just don’t see how this is going to work — is Tebow going to play four to 10 plays a game (which I’ve heard mentioned)? Is he going to play in a fullback-type position? Again, just a curious move by the Jets.

The iPod shuffle

Cat Scratch Fever — Ted Nugent

Big Me — Foo Fighters

Electrical Storm — U2

A Man And A Woman — U2

Hold It Now, Hit It — Beastie Boys

Afternoon News Report; March 21, 2012


The Cherry Point Marine general whose helicopters flew over Kinston airspace last week without notifying residents apologized to the city of Kinston at this week’s City Council meeting.

My take: It was a very gracious act by the general, albeit unnecessary. Like many of you, I appreciate the hard work our military does to protect us.

But it’s this simple: the general knew his Marines did something wrong by causing a public stir — if residents had known this was going to happen, there wouldn’t have been a problem at all. But when an entire city is wondering why there are “unmarked” helicopters hovering over their heads and 911 lines are burning up with no answers, that causes a problem. The general knew it and he more than rectified the situation.

And anyone who says, “We should allow the military to do whatever they need to do to protect us” or that we shouldn’t question what our military does, go ahead and bury your head in the sand. Those reasons could be used for a multitude of things — and our constitution protects us from them.


In one of the most disturbing stories of the day, the photo of slain UNC student president Eve Carson is being used in billboard ads in India.

My take:Insane. More insane is that there is no one to answer questions or to take her pictures off the billboards.


After being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver Hines Ward announced his retirement yesterday instead of signing with another team.

My take: Pretty classy — especially since there were a handful of teams ready to sign him. It’s refreshing in this day and age of free agency to see a professional athlete THAT dedicated to a city and franchise.

The iPod shuffle

Pinball Wizard — Elton John

If You Could See — Tonic

Discotheque (Hexidecimal Mix) — U2

Not Afraid — U2

Ante Up (Robbin-Hoodz Theory) — M.O.P.

Morning News Report; March 20, 2012

Before we get started today, allow me to wish Darrell Hanks — my awesome little brother — a happy birthday. He’s about the coolest person I know — seriously (even cooler than Jon Dawson? Yes!) – and arguably the best dad out there. Want to wish him a happy birthday, too? Check out his blog by clicking here. Happy birthday, Darrell!

And now … your MNR:


A press conference has been called by the Denver Broncos this afternoon to allegedly announce the signing of Peyton Manning to their roster.

Of course, this means the Broncos have two starting quarterbacks on their team — remember Tim Tebow? — meaning Denver is probably looking to trade the Chosen One.

My take: Gotta admit — I’m surprised because I figured Peyton would end up with Miami or Arizona. He’s 38 35 (thanks, Paul Thompson!), has a creaky neck and has ALWAYS played his home games in a dome. He DOES know it gets cold in the Mile-High City, right? Wondering how he’s going to do in December when it’s 10-below at game time.

That’s why I thought warm weather locales like Miami and Arizona (and even San Francisco, who got involved over the weekend) would be better fits. But hey, he knows best, right?

As for the trainwreck known as Tim Tebow, can’t wait to see what franchise he wrecks next. Probably Jacksonville, where his cult followers will sell out that ratty-ass stadium that has had to black out home games for several years now, although Miami is also listed as a possible destination (although the Dolphins signed former ECU QB David Garrard yesterday).


All eyes are on Illinois today as GOP front-runner Mitt Romney and underdog Rick Santorum battle it out for valuable delegates in one of President Obama’s home states.

My take: Admittedly, Santorum is making this a race worth watching, although the experts say he is merely forcing Romney to spend more money to win a nomination that is probably already Romney’s.

One argument I’ve heard against that though, is this: it didn’t hurt Obama when he and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head in 2008 … and that’s a pretty damned good argument. They kept their names in the news during what would’ve been meaningless primaries while John McCain ran away with the GOP nomination.


A female student had her throat stabbed this morning at Southern Nash High School by another female student.

My take: Yikes. Justin “The Kid” Hill and I spoke to a group of sixth-graders at Woodington Middle School last month and we ate in their lunchroom. I was shocked to learn that you couldn’t get a real knife, spoon or fork — you could only get one of those in the plastic variety.

Seriously? I had yummy Salisbury steak that day and nearly broke my plastic knife and plastic fork trying to eat it.

But it’s stories like this that make me realize that yes, it’s 2012 and we can’t allow kids to have silverware because they’ll stab each other with it. Wow.

The iPod shuffle

Millionaire — Kelis featuring Andre 3000

Your Love Is My Drug — Ke$ha

Megablast — Public Enemy

Union Of The Snake — Duran Duran

Live Your Life — T.I. featuring Rihanna

Morning News Report; March 7, 2012


GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney won six of the 10 Super Tuesday primaries yesterday — including the key state of Ohio — while challenger Rick Santorum took three and Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia.

My take:While the pundits want to scream that this isn’t over, I can’t understand why folks don’t realize that it is.

Romney has more delegates than Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul combined. He’s exponentially outspending them. Unless there’s something in his closet that hasn’t come out yet — and I sincerely doubt that’s going to happen — Romney has the GOP nod wrapped up.

I’m not trying to go all conspiracy theorist on you here, but there’s one group who sincerely hopes this gets dragged out to the Republican National Convention in Tampa — Obama supporters. And who is characterized as being most closely aligned with Obama supporters? The alleged “mainstream media.”

While I don’t think CNN, Fox News and MSNBC (OK, I do believe MSNBC wants Obama reelected) are advocating for four more years of Obama, I know this much: as long as there are competitive GOP primary races, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC get better ratings — and more advertising dollars.

If the GOP was smart, though, they’d start concentrating on Obama instead of beating the hell out of each other the way they are now. I watched more political coverage last night than I have in the past year and couldn’t believe all the shots the four took at each other.

You know who loves that? Obama … and the networks. We have a poll up at asking which GOP candidate has the best chance of beating Obama — and the option “no one can beat Obama” is leading at 42 percent. Romney is “winning” at 28 percent, followed by Santorum (12 percent) and Gingrich (9) and Paul (9).


Today at noon, future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning will bid farewell to the Indianapolis Colts, a franchise for whom he won a Super Bowl.

Speculation is that he’ll end up signing with a new team soon; frontrunners include my beloved Washington Redskins, along with Miami, the New York Jets, Seattle, San Francisco, Kansas City and Arizona — among others.

My take: Honestly, I’d rather have Peyton than Robert Griffin III, for whom the Skins are allegedly attempting to trade up in the NFL Draft. At least with Peyton, you have a known entity (assuming he stays healthy) and all you’re spending is money, not draft picks.

With RG3, you’re spending money AND draft picks to obtain an entity you’re not entirely sure is going to be successful.

As for Peyton … it’s a bittersweet day for Indy fans. Yes, it’s sad he’s leaving your franchise, but it’s a pretty sweet prize to get Andrew Luck in the draft, a player virtually everyone has marked for stardom in the NFL.

Here’s my brother’s take on the Manning situation — and he takes a look at the possibility of the Colts being traitors for letting their quarterback go.


Duke forward Ryan Kelly will miss this weekend’s ACC Tournament in Atlanta after spraining his right foot at a Tuesday practice.

My take: I think that seriously hurts Duke’s chances of winning the tourney this weekend, too. Although he has much more talented teammates (see Rivers, Austin and Curry, Seth), Kelly is the heart of that team. I think Duke won’t make it past Florida State without him — and the Blue Devils might not make it past Miami on Friday.

But here’s the rub — I think UNC is going to have a tough time winning the tourney, too. Ol’ Roy is famous for not putting weight on the ACC Tournament and, frankly, it’ll mean more to Virginia (UNC’s likely Saturday opponent) or FSU (UNC’s likely Sunday opponent).


In what was a surprise to virtually no one, UNC’s Tyler Zeller was named the ACC player of the year, UNC’s John Henson took top defensive player of the year honors for the second year in a row and Duke’s Rivers was unanimously named the league’s best rookie.

What was a surprise — at least to me — was that FSU’s Leonard Hamilton was picked the league’s top coach … by a single vote over Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

My take: While I agree that Hamilton did a fine job, he would’ve been my FOURTH choice for COTY, behind Virginia’s Tony Bennett, N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried and Krzyzewski.

FSU was picked to finish third … and the Seminoles finished third. Duke was picked second and finished second and even my Hoos were picked fourth and finished … you guessed it, fourth.

Gottfried’s squad was picked to finish eighth and are in fifth place and on the threshold of the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

The iPod shuffle

Imagine — John Lennon

Fergalicious — Fergie featuring

W.T.P. — Eminem

Don’t Do Me Like That — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Lookin’ Out My Back Door — Creedence Clearwater Revival

P.S.: Democratic N.C. gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton is coming by The Free Press tomorrow; if you have any SERIOUS questions you’d like to have asked of him, post them here or email them to me at I’ll get to as many as I can in the short amount of time we have him in our office.

Morning News Report; Monday, March 5, 2012


Following UNC’s 88-70 whitewash of Duke in the regular season finale for both teams, the Tar Heels are the No. 1 seed and the Blue Devils are No. 2 in this week’s ACC men’s basketball tournament in Atlanta.

My take: Gotta admit — Carolina is the class of the ACC and I doubt anyone is going to make a run at the Heels, especially with the added motivation and knowledge that they probably need to win this week’s tourney to get a coveted No. 1 seed.

The bigger question is this: who will get into the NCAA tournament from the ACC? I think the top 3 — UNC, Duke and Florida State — are locks and that my beloved Virginia is a highly probable. And that’s it — unless N.C. State or Miami get hot this week, the ACC will only get four teams into the tourney.

And although I no longer have a vote for ACC player of the year and All-ACC, here’s how I would vote for player of the year — Kendall Marshall, UNC. Marshall is the most indispensable player in the league, period. Could Carolina win without Tyler Zeller, John Henson or Harrison Barnes? Yes — but they’d be a fourth-place ACC team without Marshall.

My first-team All-ACC: Marshall; Mike Scott, Virginia; Zeller; Henson; and Austin Rivers, Duke. I can hear Heelatious already losing his mind — “What? No Harrison Barnes on first team? Oh my God!” It’s this simple — Barnes is a one-trick pony; he’s a hell of an offensive player, probably the best in the ACC. But at this moment, Rivers is a better player than he — and a better pro prospect.


In my Sunday column, I took a look at the local races; later this week (very likely, tomorrow), I’ll do a quick hit on the statewide and national races — hopefully, with your input.

My take: A preview, though (although I’ve touched on this several times): the presumed front-runner for the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, has already fallen to second in a statewide poll — because of his early-campaign gaffes. Ironically, Dalton will be in Kinston Thursday night and I’m hoping he’ll come by The Free Press office to talk about his campaign.


Deron Williams finished with a franchise and career-high 57 points against the Charlotte Bobcats last night.

My take: Congrats to Williams — but to me, the bigger issue is how bad the Bobcats are. Charlotte is 4-31, which brought a fantastic tweet from former Free Press sports editor R.L. Bynum. He speculated the Carolina Panthers might end up winning more games in 2012 than this season’s Bobcats — and that’s highly likely.

Heck, I’ll take it a step further — this year’s Bobcats might not win more than the 2011 Panthers, who finished with six wins. That would mean Charlotte would need to finish 3-28 over the final 31 games, a winning percentage of .097; the Bobcats currently have a winning percentage of 0.114.

Wow. And does anyone seriously think it’s going to get better in coming years? Kemba Walker is a nice player, but no one thinks he’s going to be a legitimate star. D.J. Augustin is all right and Gerald Henderson could start for four or five NBA squads — and he’s considered the “star” of this team. Going to be some tough, tough winters in Charlotte.

The iPod shuffle

Broken Wings — Mister Mister

Another One Bites The Dust — Queen

Wake Me Up When September Ends — Green Day

Believe It Or Not — Nickelback

Poundcake — Van Halen

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. 7, 2012


Remember that cool Super Bowl commercial with Clint Eastwood in which he declared it’s halftime for America? He spent yesterday claiming it wasn’t a veiled reelection commercial for President Obama.

My take: And that was EXACTLY what I thought when I watched it — that he was talking about the halfway point of Obama’s tenure; glad I wasn’t the only one who thought that.

However, Eastwood has a long history of conservative views — which made the ad all the more confusing.

Still — a hell of an ad and it made me want to go out and buy another Jeep:


Experts in this story are predicting gas prices will increase to $4.05 a gallon this spring before they start falling again.

My take: And you know what we’ll do? Continue filling up our gastanks with nary a complaint.

It’s amazing how we’ve been conditioned to accept this crap. Can you imagine 10 years ago — when gas prices topped out at $1.55 a gallon (and we bitched about that!) — that we’d be filling up every day at $3.60 a gallon?


Following New England’s loss to the N.Y. Giants in Sunday’s Super Bowl, Patriots players — including “injured” tight end Rob Gronkowski — danced the night away in Indianapolis.

My take: The only bothersome thing here is … well, nothing. These guys are human. So, they want to dance.

And don’t forget — IT’S ONLY A GAME.

The iPod shuffle

Splurge — Nelly

Jaded — Aerosmith

Within You Without You — The Beatles

Who Wears These Shoes — Elton John

I Run To You — Lady Antebellum

Morning News Report; Feb. 6, 2012


The N.Y. Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17, over the New England Patriots last night — and much like their win four years ago, it came in spectacular fashion as MVP Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham on an unbelievable pass on the winning drive.

My take: Of course, if you’d read my Sunday column, you would’ve known to pick the Giants in SBXLVI.

I must say — it’s awfully sweet to see Bill Belichick (who’s MUCH smarter than you are and every other person in the world) get his again.

And it’s cool to see the perennially underrated Eli Manning get another MVP and title — one more than his brother. Which begs the question — is Eli now a better quarterback than Peyton? Did this solidify Eli’s place in the Hall of Fame?

Don’t forget, kids: my Washington Redskins swept the Giants this season; thus meaning my Skins are, by default, the Super Bowl champs. Right?



FOB Richard Clark found a dog in Trenton that the HB and I have been fostering since midweek last week. Read the link for all the details.

My take: I’ll say this — whoever had this dog should burn in hell, if this was intentional mistreating. He’s sweet a dog as you’ve ever seen, it’s gentle … and it was nearly starved to death when Richard saved his life.

Anyone who can treat an animal this way should be put in jail. As my HB reminds me though, that’s some hunter’s mentality though — if the dog can’t hunt, let it go. However, they would’ve done better to just put it down than to release it and let it nearly starve to death. I’m just thankful God led the dog to Richard.

Anyhoo — we’ve had several calls for the dog we’re calling “Buddy;” if you think you might be interested, give me a call at the office at 252-559-1074 after 2 p.m. today.


Mitt Romney easily won the Republican primary in Nevada on Saturday, prompting the question — are there any legitimate challengers keeping him from winning the GOP nod?

This Washington Post piece states that Rick Santorum might be the only one who does.

My take: I disagree — it looks like it’s Obama vs. Romney for the presidency (and Obama leads Romney in an ABC poll). The only question to me, though, is who will be Romney’s running mate.

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Hitch-Hiker — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Talkin’ 2 Myself — Eminem featuring Kobe

Love Comes — The Posies

Party Like A Rock Star — Shop Boyz

Can’t Help Falling In Love — Elvis Presley