Manny heads to L.A., Bay to Boston; Griffey Jr. traded to ChiSox

The “Manny being Manny” show now heads to L.A., where Manny Ramirez will play for the Dodgers after being traded on Thursday. Congratulations, Dodgers fans. As part of the deal, Jason Bay goes from Pittsburgh to Boston while poor, poor Pittsburgh gets four minor leaguers. The rich get richer.

Also, Ken Griffey Jr. was traded from Cincinnati to the Chicago White Sox. The Reds got two scrubs in return.

My takes: Good for Boston to get that malcontent out of Beantown. Bay will do well there.

As for Griffey, he’s going to Chicago … to be a reserve? Wow. Guess he wants a shot at a ring, something that wouldn’t have happened in Cincinnati.

Morning News Report; July 31, 2008

EXXON MOBIL POSTS HIGHEST PROFIT RECORD IN HISTORY

Remember this the next time it costs you $90 to fill your tank: Exxon Mobil posted an $11.68 billion profit margin — in 2008′s second quarter alone. However, the company missed forecasts which projected it would be even higher than that.

My take: I can’t even begin to say how disgusted I am with this. All the time, you and I get e-mails (junk and otherwise) from folks talking about ways to get back at the companies, including organized boycotts. I wish there was something we could do to show these companies that it’s BS for them to rape us the way they do at the pumps — just to increase their profit margins.

It wouldn’t bother me so much to pay $4 a gallon for gas if Exxon Mobil was struggling to make it. But to post these kinds of profits is just a slap in the face.

LEGISLATORS AIM TO DROP PENALTIES ON MARIJUANA

Mass. Rep. Barney Frank announced a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans who carry fewer than 100 grams of marijuana (a quarter-pound). Frank and his supporters hope to end the decriminalizing of the use — not the abuse — of marijuana.

My take: It’s about time someone in government stepped up and said what folks are thinking. On AOL yesterday, 76 percent of those polled said they thought it was time for the government to loosen up penalties on pot use. What was even more eye-opening was that 71 percent of AOL users admitted to smoking pot at some time in their lives.

Folks, marijuana use is as safe — or safer — as/than drinking a beer. In 2001, 331 people died because of alcohol overdose and 0 deaths due to marijuana overdose. It’s time the government finally begins to recognize tihs and I applaud Rep. Frank for starting some common sense in Washington.

THREE PRESIDENTIAL MOVIES COMING SOON

Not one, not two, but three movies about the U.S. presidency open in theaters in the next few months, highlighted by tomorrow’s opening of “Swing Vote” starring Kevin Costner. It’s about a lovable loser whose vote will determine the presidency and how far the candidate go to get his vote.

Other upcoming presidential movies include Oliver Stone’s “W” about George W. Bush and “Frost/Nixon” about Richard Nixon’s fiery post-Watergate interview with British journalist David Frost.

My take: As someone who likes politics and Costner, I think “Swing Vote” will make the most money. But there’s no way it knocks “The Dark Knight” out of No. 1 this week.

The iPod shuffle

Rhymin’ & Stealin’ — The Beastie Boys

Betta Stay Up In Your House — Busta Rhymes

FM — Steely Dan

Already Gone — The Eagles

Say You Love Me — Fleetwood Mac

Football Media Guides 2008

It’s that time of year again when the college football media guides coming pouring into the office. For whatever reason, we get two and sometimes three guides from universities all over the country.

As I’ve done the past two or three years, if there is a team you want — and we’ve got a spare — I’ll send it to you. Just ask. But this is first-come, first-serve, so send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com and if we have an extra (and you’re the first person to ask for it), I’ll mail it to you.

Morning News Report; July 30, 2008

GOOD MORNING AMERICA VISITS KINSTON TODAY

ABC’s “Good Morning America” is in Kinston all day to tape a feature for a future GMA Weekend broadcast. GMA is visiting Christopher’s Restaurant this morning and — during the course of the day — go to “Mama” Kornegay’s house and all over Kinston.

My take: This is a fantastic thing for Kinston. While Jacksonville is getting hammered for all the killings down there and other surrounding city’s crime rate are skyrocketing, Kinston is getting positive national exposure. Gotta love that.

Follow GMA all day here, where writer Kaitlin Barker will be providing updates of the show’s visit.

MOTHER OF MISSING TODDLER PHOTOGRAPHED PARTYING AFTER DAUGHTER’S DISAPPERANCE

There are pictures of Casey Anthony, 22, partying at an Orlando nightclub after her daughter allegedly disappeared. Anthony’s 2-year-old daughter was missing for a month in Florida before she reported her missing.

Evidently, they’ve searched Anthony’s car and found a lot of evidence that points to foul play from the mother. They’ve not charged her with murder (yet), but it’s probably close.

My take: I just found out about this story this morning, but I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Like many of you — I’m sure — I hope the little girl is alive somewhere, but I’m not putting any money on it…

NBA REFEREE SENTENCED TO 15 MONTHS

Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months for gambling on games in which he officiated.

My take: I was shocked that his sentence wasn’t longer — and I bet NBA Commissioner David Stern feels the same way. Evidently, it could’ve been a lot longer, but because he cooperated with the government (i.e., ratting out some of his cohorts), the sentence was shortened.

The iPod shuffle

Roc The Mic (Remix) — Nelly

Your Time Is Gonna Come — Led Zeppelin

Kite — U2

Blame It On Midnight — Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Having a Blast — Green Day

Hanks Blog Football League 2008 — with updates

It’s time for the second edition of the Hanks Blog Football League. We’ll play it at Fanball.com again and it’ll cost you $9.95. However, that $9.95 gets you two teams and it also includes live scoring.

If you want in, jump in the comments and let me know. If we have too many, I’m not opposed to starting another league.

Of course, I’m in — as the defending champion. The bodacious blonde (my girlfriend) will also be joining in this year, too, so that leaves 10 spots open in the premier league. The winner — if it isn’t me (ha! like that’s likely) — will win a valuable prize package from The Free Press.

2008 HBFL

Free Press Predators — Hanks

Team Blonde — Hanks’ bodacious blonde friend

Pawtucket Pot Roasts — Kraebel

Team Heelatious

Team Keith Spence

Tobacco Road Tigers — Taplie Coile

Team Kid — Justin Hill

Team Jonathan Massey

River Bend Roadrunners — Alan Wooten

Team Matt Tessnear

Team Drew Loftis (which will have the funniest name in the league)

Morning News Report; July 29, 2008

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR EMERGING AS OBAMA’S TOP VP CHOICE

According to multiple sources, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine appears to be taking the lead as Barack Obama’s vice presidential candidate. Kaine is a former Richmond mayor and could help swing Virginia, a key battleground state.

My take: So Obama really isn’t going to select Hillary? Look at the reader’s comments at the bottom of this ABC blog; I knew the pro-Hillary folks were upset, but will they really not vote for Obama if he doesn’t pick Hillary as his VP candidate?

IS YOUR SCHOOL ONE OF THE BEST?

The Princeton Review has released its annual list of top colleges, which measures all sorts of things from happiest students to top party school (wouldn’t that be the same list?). The happiest students are at Clemson, while the best party school is the University of Florida. The “greenest” campus is Arizona State, while the best classroom experience is at Stanford.

My take: Surprisingly, there were no North Carolina universities in the top 10 of the lists I saw. And I thought all you ECU and UNC-W kids were the top partiers?

SIRIUS COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF XM

The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of Sirius Satellite and XM radio last week and Sirius announced a few minutes ago that the deal was complete.

My take: Oh, blessed day! Soon, Sirius subscribers (like myself) will have MLB and ACC basketball while you dirty XM subscribers (like Randy Capps) will have NFL and your inane soccer.

Could life get any better? 

The iPod shuffle

Girlfriend (The Neptunes Remix) — ‘N Sync featuring Nelly

Waiting For That Day/You Can’t Always Get What You Want — George Michael

My Way (William Orbit’s Mix) — Limp Bizkit

Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang — Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dog

Whatever Gets You Through The Night — John Lennon

Dr. Randy Bledsoe leaving Greene Central for God’s Country

Greene Central Principal Dr. Randy Bledsoe resigned his post in Snow Hill and he will be the new superintendent of Elkin City Schools. Yes, that’s God’s Country — I grew up about 10 miles from Elkin and spent all my weekends chasing those sweet Elkin girls.

But I digress. Congratulations to Dr. Bledsoe, who is originally from Dobson, which is in the same county (Surry) as Elkin. Greene County is a lesser place without him.

Mallard’s at Skinner’s Bypass

Periodically — and whenever you want to mention it, too — I’m going to brag about folks and businesses around here that has excellent (or bad) customer service.

Let’s start out with Mallard’s Gas Station at Skinner’s Bypass. Pretty much every gas station in Kinston charges you to put air — air! — in your tires. I’ve seen it as much as 75 cents around town, but it’s typically 50 cents.

I stopped at Mallard’s the other day when I lost 50 cents in a machine at the BP station at the intersection of Hull and Rouse Road. To my shock, the air was free — all you had to do was punch a button on the machine and it came on.

So, the next time you need air, go to Mallard’s at Skinner’s Bypass. It impressed me so much I ended up buying a tire gauge (the machine didn’t have one) and I won’t hesitate to go there and get future snacks and stuff.

Morning News Report; July 28, 2008

LARRY CRAIG, BARACK OBAMA SHARE CAMPAIGN BUTTON?

Yes, that Larry Craig, of the embarrassing bathroom sex scandal. A button mix-up in Idaho (Craig’s home state) had Craig and Obama on the same campaign button. The button-maker was supposed to put Larry LaRocco on the button, but got his Larry’s confused. The button:

072808-obama-craig-button.jpg

My take: I’d love to get one of these, just for the collection value. I checked eBay and there’s not one up … yet.

TRANS FATS BANNED IN CALIFORNIA

Ah-nold doesn’t want you to be fat: California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law on Friday banning the use of trans fats in his state’s restaurants.

My take: Well, let’s see … the government has almost made it illegal to smoke, with all the taxes imposed on tobacco. It also makes you wear your seatbelt, whether you want to or not.

My feeling on this type of stuff is that if you’re stupid enough to smoke, drive without a seatbelt or eat foods that are high in trans fats, it’s on you. It’s called Darwinism. I understand that the insurance companies are behind it to lower their costs, but we need the stupid people to die… 

MANNY WANTS OUT OF BOSTON

Manny Ramirez is tired of playing in Boston … again. He told reporters that he’d agree to back out of his no-trade clause just to get out of Beantown, even if it meant “playing in Iraq.” The trade deadline is Thursday.

My take: Who’d want him? The N.Y. Mets and Philadelphia stepped up initially, but a report says it’s unlikely he’d go to the M-E-T-S.

Would you want him on your team?

The iPod shuffle

Don’t Come Around Here No More — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

No More Lonely Nights — Paul McCartney

One Way Or Another — Blondie

U Can’t Touch This — MC Hammer

Hotel California (Live) — The Eagles

Junior American Legion tournament updates

Thanks to our very good friend, Critter Hunter. Feel free to update in the comments…

Game 5: 4:30 p.m. (LCC) — West Brunswick 7 vs. Pineville 0 (Pineville ELIMINATED)
Game 6: 12:30 p.m. (LCC) — Rocky Mount 14 vs. Kinston 8 (Kinston ELIMINATED)
Game 7: 4:30 p.m. (Grainger) — Rowan County 4 vs. Cary 3
Game 8: 7:30 p.m. (Grainger) — Cherryville 3 vs. Mooresville 7

Saturday

Game 9: 12:30 p.m. (LCC) — Rocky Mount vs. Cary (LOSER ELIMINATED)
Game 10: 4 p.m. (LCC) — SW Brunswick vs. Cherryville (LOSER ELIMINATED)
Game 11: 12:30 p.m. (Grainger) — Rowan vs. Mooresville
Game 12: 4 p.m. (Grainger) — Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11 (LOSER ELIMINATED)
Game 13: 7 p.m. (Grainger) — Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11 (If Game 10 winner loses, it’s eliminated)