Morning News Report; June 30, 2009

LENOIR COUNTY SCHOOLS PASSES REDISTRICTING

Well, for the elementary schools in the city limits, anyway. The Lenoir County School Board passed a plan that redistricts three schools in the Kinston city limits last night, 6-1.

My take: OK, we’re through with the first step — now, let’s take on the middle and high schools. If some of the racist types in the county would be more concerned with improving the OVERALL quality of education in Lenoir County instead of trying to keep the white kids from going to school with the black kids, this county would be much better off.

MARY EASLEY APPEALS LOSS OF JOB

Former N.C. First Lady Mary Easley has filed paperwork to appeal the loss of her $170,000 made-up job at N.C. State.

My take: If you’re in as much hot water as the Easleys are, wouldn’t you try to keep a low profile? Good grief.

MAYFIELD’S SECOND DRUG TEST ALSO POSITIVE

NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, who was banned from racing for presumably doing meth, had his “B” urine sample also come back with the same result. He is suing NASCAR to be able to get back on the track.

My take: Drugs have hurt every other sport, why not NASCAR? But meth? Come on, Jeremy, at least let it be steroids!

The iPod shuffle

Leave (Get Out) — JoJo

Extraordinary Girl — Green Day

Get On Your Boots — U2

Electrical Storm — U2

I Heard It Through The Grapevine — Creedence Clearwater Revival

P.S.: For a quick laugh, check out our boy Jon Dawson’s blog entry today, which features Steve Martin re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.

Please pray for Harry Edwards and his family

Before we begin our festivities this morning, let’s take a moment to say a prayer for Friend of the Blog Harry Edwards, the chairman of the Lenoir County Republican Party. Harry, who is a relatively young man, lost his mother to a heart attack this morning, according to our good friend, B.J. Murphy.

Harry — hope you know you and your family are in our prayers, dude.

Morning News Report; June 29, 2009

BILLY MAYS DIES

Billy Mays — the TV pitchman who sold you such products as Oxi Clean — died yesterday morning in Tampa. He’ll have an autopsy performed today, although some news services are saying a bump to the head during a rough airplane landing might have contributed to his death.

My take: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and now Mays. If these things come in threes (as my grandpa once told me), does this mean we have two more coming?

BET HONORS MICHAEL JACKSON

As I kept with it all night long from my friends on my Facebook feed, BET held its awards show last night and used a good chunk of it in an attempt to celebrate Michael Jackson’s life.

However, there weren’t many positive reviews of the show — including this pointed attack by Michael Langston Moore of the Boston Examiner.

My take: I didn’t watch much of the show, as I got caught up in the thrilling Yankees-Mets game on ESPN, but the little bit I watched didn’t impress me much.

However, the one poignant moment of the show came when Janet Jackson came on stage to thank supporters. Her appearance was followed by host Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo busting out a duet of “I’ll Be There” — the strongest performance of the night.

Here’s Janet’s short speech, followed by Foxx’s and Ne-Yo’s duet:

U.S. NEARLY SHOCKS THE WORLD

The United States soccer team took a 2-0 halftime lead on futbol heavyweight Brazil in the Confederations Cup championship match yesterday, but couldn’t hold on as the Americans fell 3-2.

My take: Our good friend Randy Capps — who updated his blog after the match yesterday – should be proud of me: I watched nearly the entire match and was cheering wildly when the USA went up 2-nil.

Maybe it’s a good thing for the Americans — this is the kind of thing that can possibly drive them to improve and make a run at the World Cup title next year. If they’d won yesterday — to finish with back-to-back victories against Spain and Brazil — there might have been that sense of “what else do we have to prove?”

Now, there’s something to play for next year in South Africa. I might even watch some of it, too…

The iPod shuffle

Never Tear Us Apart — INXS

If Tomorrow Never Comes — Garth Brooks

Change The World — Eric Clapton

Long Haired Country Boy — The Charlie Daniels Band

New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 — REM

Chris Hatcher tore it up last night

Congratulations to one of Kinston’s finest products, Chris Hatcher, who tore the cover off the ball last night for the Jacksonville Suns. Hatcher led the Double-A Suns to a 6-2 win against the Carolina Mudcats by going 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and a run scored.

Be sure to check Sunday’s FP and Kinston.com, where our awesome baseball writer, David Hall, has a feature on Chris.

On a personal note: Chris graciously provided the tickets for me, the Hot Blonde and her best friend! A great time was had by all and it was fun having everyone turn around and stare at us when we cheered wildly when Chris came to bat.

Here’s what he looked like in pregame warmups:

062709-hatcher.jpg 

The Chris Hatcher Show tonight in Zebulon

A heads-up: Kinston’s own Chris Hatcher is in Zebulon this week, playing catcher for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns against the Carolina Mudcats. The Suns are there tonight and tomorrow night to wrap up a week in Zebulon.

Myself and the Hot Blonde will be in attendance for tonight’s game, cheering on one of the best catchers (and great guys) to come through Lenoir County. If you’re coming to the game, give me a heads-up (either via the comments below or by e-mailing me at bhanks@freedomenc.com); I’d like to get a picture that I’ll probably post here on the blog.

Also, our great baseball writer David Hall is going to have a centerpiece feature on Hatch in Sunday’s Free Press. Be sure to check it out.

Hope to see you in Zebulon tonight!

Madison Taylor on musical deaths

Our colleague, Madison Taylor of the Burlington Times-News, has an interesting post on his blog about untimely deaths in the music field. I don’t want to run his list here, so check his thoughts out here.

My take: An interesting blog idea by Madison – the big two in my lifetime (I don’t count Elvis because I was only 8 when he died) are Kurt Cobain and Tupac. I didn’t really get into Biggie until he died.

Any additions to Madison’s list?

The blog is fixed! Yay!

The good folks at Freedom ENC have fixed the blog, so you can now post and click to your heart’s delight.

I have to send some props out to Scott “The Edge” Edgington and Amy Lock “Badass” Collier — they do a great, underappreciated job. And most of the time (check that: nearly ALL THE TIME) when I call them, all I’m doing is whining and crying, so they get extra points for putting up with me.

Thanks, guys — YOU ROCK!

Morning News Report; June 26, 2009

BEFORE WE GET STARTED TODAY …

A shoutout to one of the all-timers on the blog: Heelatious (Bobby Davis). He and Mrs. Heelatious are celebrating 16 years of marriage today! Congrats, my friend.

I had the honor of meeting Mrs. Heelatious for the first time last Saturday at the welcome home celebration for the All-America City committee. She is an incredible woman! As I’ve said about my good friends Keith Spence and Randy Capps — Heelatious really out-punted his coverage when he got her!

Through the good times and the bad here on the blog, Heelatious and his crazy-ass brother Heelsfan have arguably been two of the biggest supporters of this mess (along with Flagan, BHatcher, Mark Moody, Petey Pablo, Killdozer, The Kid and PantherFan) since its inception nearly five years ago. When we were drawing 100 page views a day, you were the guys supporting it; now that we’re in the 4,000 PVs a day range, I’m not going to forget the old-timers.

Again, congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Heelatious today. May you guys have an awesome anniversary weekend. And give Mrs. Heelatious a medal for putting up with him this long!!!

MICHAEL JACKSON DEAD AT 50

In case you hadn’t heard, Michael Jackson died yesterday afternoon. An autopsy is being performed this afternoon, although it’ll be several weeks before the full results will be released.

My take: A sad ending to a very, very troubled life.

Say what you want — and believe me, between Facebook, the Internet and my friends, I’ve heard every side — but that son of a gun was a musical talent. MJ helped create the musical soundtrack of my youth, between “Off The Wall”, “Thriller” and “Bad”.

(In fact, I’m out of the office today and in Raleigh, but I downloaded “Thriller” for iPhone before I left and jammed to it the whole way up here. IT WAS AWESOME)

Yes, he became weirder and weirder the older he got. But it’s this simple — he was never convicted of any crime. Yes, money probably played a part in that, but it is what it is.

Regardless — I’m sitting here right now listening to “Rock With You”. RIP, MJ.

Oh, and who is the only person really loving this story right now? Mark Sanford.

NBA DRAFT HOLDS A FEW SURPRISES

Sure, Blake Griffin went No. 1, but there were a couple of surprises in the first round of the NBA Draft last night. UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough went No. 13 to Indiana, one pick after Duke’s Gerald Henderson was snatched up by Charlotte.

My take: A week ago, if you’d said Hansbrough would go before teammate Ty Lawson, I would’ve bet you $1,000 it wouldn’t happen. Glad I didn’t make that bet.

I still stand by, though, that Lawson will emerge as an elite NBA point guard; he was a steal at No. 18 and, I think he is stepping into an excellent situation in Denver (where he was traded by Minnesota). Playing behind Chauncey Billups for a year or two is going to make Lawson even better.

As for our NBA Draft contest, there were only five entrants, but congrats to Heelatious, who correctly picked six of the top 10 (it’s a good day for you, dude!). I only got four of the top 10 right. Heelatious, contact me and let me know which K-Tribe game you want to attend with three people.

The iPod shuffle

Lights, Camera, Action — Mr. Cheeks

Desire — U2

Hanging By A Moment — Lifehouse

West End Girls — Pet Shop Boys

Til I Hear It From You — Gin Blossoms

Michael Jackson … dead?

Every news site in the world is reporting that Michael Jackson has been rushed to a hospital after he was found not breathing. There has not been an official confirmation of his death, although that could change any minute (it’s 6:25 p.m. as I write this).

My take: Obviously, my take will be longer on this if he does pass and I’ll share that later.

I know this much — the man had musical talent. “Thriller” might be one of the 10 best albums ever made.

As for his dalliances with children — not so cool.

Again, I’ll have a longer take later when the smoke clears from this story.

My predictions for NBA Draft

Here is how I see the first 10 picks of the NBA Draft going tonight:

1. Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

2. Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticutt

3. Ricky Rubio, Spain

4. Tyreke Evans, Memphis

5. Stephen Curry, Davidson

6. James Harden, Arizona State

7. Jordan Hill, Arizona

8. Jonny Flynn, Syracuse

9. DeMar DeRozan, USC

10. Jrue Holliday, UCLA

Don’t forget — if you want to win four tickets to a future K-Tribe baseball game, pick the first round and either leave it in the comments or send it to me at bhanks@freedomenc.com. As I mentioned earlier today, I know some of you are having trouble leaving comments, so just e-mail the picks to me. The deadline is 6:58 p.m.

By the by, here’s a good resource for you can use to help you with your picks.

Good luck!