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Streak for the Cash March winner: Seth Jones (Beale St. Buc)

For the second time in our little contest, we had a tie atop the final Streak for the Cash; however, with the tiebreaker of winning percentage, Seth Jones — Beale St. Buc — won for the 10th time with 96 victories.

The 96 victories broke the old record of 91, which was set — ironically — by Seth and Deana in December 2009.

Also need to throw some serious props out to Seth and Deana, who finished nine games back of the national leader and were 26th in the nation overall!

Anyhoo — congrats, dude; email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com and we’ll get you a fabulous prize package.

Would you, dear reader, care to join us for the opportunity to see your name in lights? Go here and play with us!

March’s top 10:

1. S. Jones — 96 (.636)

2. D. Guido — 96 (.627)

3. R. Capps — 84

4. F. Jones — 83

5. B. Hanks — 79

6. B. Barrow — 74

7. J. Barrow — 69

8. D. Jones — 64

9. K. Rouse — 59

10. D. Pollock — 57

All-time blog winners

2009

February: Flagan (F. Jones) – 43 wins

March: B. Pelletier – 60 wins

April: Flagan (F. Jones) – 59 wins

May: Flagan (F. Jones) – 57 wins

June: B. Pelletier – 53 wins

July: Flagan (F. Jones) – 69 wins

August: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 69 wins

September: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 69 wins

October: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 62 wins

November: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 83 wins

December: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) & D. Guido – 91 wins

2010

January: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 71 wins

February: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 68 wins

March: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) – 82 wins

April: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) – 77 wins

May: R. Capps (Randy Capps) – 75 wins

June: P. Howard (WolfpackPete) – 69 wins

July: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) – 80 wins

August: R. Capps (Randy Capps) – 87 wins

September: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) – 73 wins

October: J. Irvin (Jackson Irvin) — 79 wins

November: R. Capps (Randy Capps) — 79 wins

December: J. Osterberg — 79 wins

2011

January: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) — 81

February: D. Guido — 71

March: S. Jones (Beale St. Buc) — 96

Morning News Report; March 31, 2011

MLB SEASON BEGINS TODAY

It might not get much above 50 degrees outside today, but no matter — the boys of summer are back on the diamond today as the Major League Baseball season begins with games in New York and Washington, D.C.!

And don’t forget — the Kinston Indians’ 2011 season begins a week from tomorrow at Grainger Stadium.

My take: My quick picks for the 2011 season (not that I’m EVER right!):

NL East: Philadelphia; NL Central: Milwaukee; NL West: Colorado; NL Wildcard: San Francisco; NL Champion: Phillies

AL East: Boston; AL Central: Detroit; AL West: L.A. Angels; AL Wildcard: Texas; AL Champion: Boston

World Series champs: Phillies in 6. Yep, it’s chalk … but the Phillies have arguably the best pitching rotation in 30 years, IMO.

O.J. SIMPSON A ‘WALKING HEART ATTACK’

According to no better source than The National Enquirer, O.J. Simpson has gained 50 pounds and is on his way to a heart attack.

My take: And somewhere, Ron Goldman is laughing his head off.

GOOSE MISSING IN KINSTON

A woman is accusing a 71-year-old relative of stealing her pet goose in Kinston.

My take: To what depths have you fallen if you steal your relative’s goose? Wowzer.

The iPod shuffle

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams — Green Day

U Don’t Know Me — T.I.

The End — The Doors

All About Soul (Remix) — Billy Joel

Compton’s N The House (Remix) — N.W.A.

P.S.: We’re having an exciting end to our monthly Streak For The Cash contest between Seth Jones and Deana Guido, as both entered today tied with 83 victories on this, the final day of March. ESPN is running a full-day of picks, so we might have a record month. Also, for the first time, I’m using a tiebreaker to determine first-place — whoever has the best overall percentage will be declared the winner, in case of a tie. Good luck, all!

The coolest video you’ll watch today

Thanks again to our good friend Richard Clark for this — the absolute COOLEST video you’ll watch today. I’ll call it PG-13, so if you’re a sick little kid wanting to see some sweet light saber action with some eye candy, go ask Mommy or Daddy first (although he’ll probably want to watch it with you!):

My take: AWESOME. Makes it even better that it’s a commercial!

Morning News Report; March 30, 2011

30TH ANNIVERSARY OF REAGAN SHOOTING

Today is the 30th anniversary of the shooting of President Ronald Reagan by a deranged man who was trying to win the love of actress Jodie Foster.

My take: Where were you? As a sixth-grader at Traphill Elementary School, we were just getting out of school when we heard about it, but we went home and watched the news all evening.

The thing I remember most — Reagan handled the situation with incredible dignity and class. There’s a reason he’s considered one of the best (if not the absolute best) presidents in the past 50 years and his recovery from this event is one of the reasons.

FIESTA BOWL FIRES BOSS, MAY FALL OUT OF BCS ROTATION

The Fiesta Bowl has fired its president for a variety of charges – and the bowl might fall out of the Bowl Championship Series rotation. The Cotton Bowl appears likely to fill the void if that last scenario happens, although there’d be some hills to climb.

My take: Yet another reason there needs to be a playoff for the NCAA football postseason, although I’m beginning to believe I’ll never see it in my lifetime.

CAVALIERS BEAT DOWN LEBRON AND THE HEAT

In arguably the best feel-good sports story of the week, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated LeBron James and the Miami Heat, 102-90, last night in Cleveland.

My take: Awesome. Sure, the Cavaliers won’t advance to the playoffs, but this had to be a cathartic moment for their fans — especially since LeBron wussed out during pre-game introductions.

The iPod shuffle

What Goes Around Comes Around — Justin Timberlake

Too Bad — Nickelback

Mad World — Michael Andrews & Gary Jules

The Ballad of John and Yoko — The Beatles

Jaded — Aerosmith

Morning News Report; March 29, 2011

GOP TALKING HEADS UNHAPPY WITH OBAMA’S LIBYA SPEECH

President Obama addressed the country last night regarding the United States’ bombing of Libya — and some potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates didn’t like his speech.

My take: OK, seriously — who expected Palin, Rand or Giulani to give O a thumbs-up?

I do find it curious, though, that such an alleged anti-war stalwart such as Obama was so quick to pull the trigger here. Thoughts?

BONDS TRIAL TURNS GROSS

The Barry Bonds perjury trial took a turn for the tasteless yesterday when the slugger’s former road-ho took the stand … and shared more details than you’d ever want to know. Some of the nuggets (no pun intended) she shared included his testicle-shrinkage, back acne and the concept of “wife cities” and “girlfriend cities.”

My take: Some of this stuff you already knew (or could guess), but yes, this is going to get much worse for Bonds before it gets better.

LDII ENROLLS AT UCLA

Former UNC point guard Larry Drew II has enrolled at UCLA to, presumably, play basketball for the Bruins. He’ll join the Wear twins, who left Chapel Hill for Los Angeles before this season.

My take: Good for him and the Wears — but doesn’t this mean the Tar Heels absolutely HAVE to schedule UCLA in the next two years? I think it’d be a heck of a game for both the Heels and Bruins.

And … how long do you think it’ll be before Ol’ Roy recruits Southern California again?

The iPod shuffle

Miss You Much — Janet Jackson

Everybody Wants Some!! — Van Halen

Sussudio – Phil Collins

Like A Hurricane — Neil Young

You Got Lucky — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

P.S.: Yes, it’s auto-tuned to death, but … the aesthetics in this “music” video are worth viewing (and thanks to our good friend Richard Clark for calling our attention to this) …



You’re welcome.

Morning News Report; March 28, 2011

HOW’S YOUR BRACKET?

This year’s NCAA Tournament Final Four doesn’t have a single No. 1 or No. 2 seed in it for the first time in tourney history.

My take: Well, if you’re in any our Blog Pick ‘em … you’re done. Don’t feel bad, though — with Kentucky, Connecticut, VCU and Butler, only two (count ‘em — 2!) out of 5.9 million entries on ESPN.com picked the Final Four. Of our 30 entries in the blog contest, not one participant has a Final Four team picked.

(Side note: I can’t access the contest that five or six of you entered from last year’s link, but I’ll check it when I get to the office around 1 p.m. today.)

Anyhoo — congrats to our good friend and former Free Press education reporter Chris Lavender, who is an EXTREMELY proud VCU grad this morning!

MT. VERNON PARK/U.S. 70 TO LOSE TRAFFIC LIGHT

The traffic light at the Mt. Varnon Park and U.S. 70 intersection will be removed soon and a median with left-hand turn only (from the west to the east) will be installed. There will be no way for folks turning out of Mt. Vernon Park to go east on U.S. 70 — unless they go west and perform a U-turn.

My take: Well, chalk another victory up for those Triangle drivers who are on their way to the beach. Yep, this will save them an extra 45 seconds on their trip. What a joke…

MEET THE GOV TODAY

You can meet N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue today from 4-5 p.m. at the Kinston-Lenoir County Visitor’s Center. She is holding a town hall meeting and The Free Press will be there covering it for you.

My take: If you can get by the VC today, you should go share your feeling with the governor.

The iPod shuffle

Kite — U2

Un-Break My Heart — Toni Braxton

2 Legit 2 Quit — MC Hammer

Time To Get Ill — Beastie Boys

Foreplay Long Time — Boston

P.S.: I’m up against the clock right now, but a heads-up — later today, I’m going to write a postscript to my Sunday column about home-schoolers playing public school sports. Stay tuned.

UNC odds and ends

Can’t believe I’m doing an entire post dedicated to Carolina … but here goes:

OK, that’s enough pro-UNC talk for today. Good luck against Marquette tonight — gotta beat down the Big (L)East…

Get your Memphis-ECU baseball tickets here! (UPDATED)

I have four tickets to each of this weekend’s ECU baseball games with Memphis — the games are at 6 p.m. today; at 3 p.m. Saturday; and at noon on Sunday and a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., because of incoming inclement weather.

Do you want ‘em? E-mail me at bhanks@freedomenc.com, putting “ECU tickets” in the subject line. Let me know which day you want and how many tickets you are requesting. Also, leave a phone number for me to call you back.

If you win, you will need to come by The Free Press by 5:30 p.m. today or come to the Jones Senior at Kinston baseball game that begins at 5 p.m. today and meet me in the press box.

Good luck!

Morning News Report; March 25, 2011

DUKE GOES DOWN

In one of the shocking upsets of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Duke — 9.5-point favorites entering the game — lost to Arizona, 93-77, in a Sweet 16 matchup in Anaheim, Calif., last night.

My take: How shocked was I? I had to be at the office early this morning, so I fell asleep at halftime. My phone woke me up around 5 a.m. with texts from my HB, updates from my Facebook page and an ESPN alert.

I have to admit — I had no idea this was coming. Without Kyrie Irving, I figured Duke was a Final Four team; with him, I thought they were a national championship game lock. As my good friend Richard Clark has said, chemistry is a fickle thing.

So what happens now, Dookies? Is Irving back? Does one of the Plumlees try their hand in the NBA Draft? Does K run out of hair dye?

My answers — Irving leaves (unless there is an NBA lockout); I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Plumlees leave; and K’s hair is whiter than Kyle Singler’s shoulders.

USPS CUTTING 7,500 JOBS, CLOSING 2,000 OFFICES

The U.S. Post Service is cutting 7,500 jobs from its rolls and closing 2,000 offices in its next round of budgetary moves.

My take: Probably getting to be too little, too late for the USPS … which, incidentally, has employed my HB for the past 25-plus years. Until it overhauls its business model, it’s going to continue bleed money … not unlike my industry.

‘MUFFIN TOP’ MAKES IT INTO OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

The term “muffin top” — defined as the protuberance of fat above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers — is now in the Oxford English Dictionary.

My take: Ironic since a couple of you were asking what it meant when I brought it up when we were at LCC on Wednesday — when I saw more muffin tops than I’ll ever be able to forget. But now you know.

The iPod shuffle

Having A Blast — Green Day

Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk — U2

Rump Shaker (Radio Mix) — Wreckx-N-Effect

One Night — Elvis Presley

St. Louie — Nelly