Saturday, December 24, 2011

KFC Has Become A Christmas Tradition In Japan

    I found this to be a very interesting story since I live in Kentucky and I'm still amazed at KFC's  phenomenal growth and how they have filtrated cultures with their fast fried chicken all over the world.  Apparently, Kentucky Fried Chicken has become very popular at Christmas time in Japan through the years!  Check out the story.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Filming of Sleeper Agent's "Get Burned" Video In Bowling Green, Ky.

   Tony got home from the most recent Sleeper Agent show in Atlanta with another indie rock band called "Awolnation" around 3 a.m. this morning.  He had to get up at 8 a.m. to go to the filming of the video for "Get Burned," the next single off Sleeper Agent's album, "Celabrasion."  Get Burned is one of my favorite Sleeper Agent songs.  It's peppy and it has an upbeat
   I asked him if I could drop by for a little bit on my lunch hour to see the video filming and he said "Sure, Dad," like there would be no problem at all.  So I did.  It was being filmed upstairs at the old "Spot Cash and Carry Clothing Store" in downtown Bowling Green which is now Labold and Sons Salvage  Apparently, they have a lot cool, old vintage stuff in there.  Even Robert Plant from the former classic rock band, Led Zeppelin dropped by there one day a couple months ago and spent a little time looking around.
   I walked in the store and said, "Hello, I'm Tony's dad from Sleeper Agent and I was wanting to know where they are filming the video."  And the nice lady named, "Danielle, the owner said, "Oh, it's upstairs." And she had her assistant to show me the way.  As we were heading up the stairs, the young lady said, "Watch your head, you can bump it easily here," and so I watched my head.  I was led down a dark, dusty, attic looking hallway which also looked an old dilapidated apartment which I bet was at least 100 years old or more.
   I found Tony, Alex, Justin, Josh, Scott and Lee all sitting in this old room with covered antique chairs, couches and benches waiting for the next scene to be shot.  Of course, the room was filled with cigarette smoke.  Matt Shutlz from Cage The Elephant who was directing the video and he was running up and down the hallway wearing black jeans and boots and a black cowboy hat and shirt.  He saw me and said, "Hey Galen and came into the room gave me a big hug as I stood up."  "Good to see you, Matt, " I said.  He said, "Good to see you too, Galen."  Matt then continues to run down the hallway.
    I sat back down next to Tony and another young guy comes in and takes everyone's order for Subway sandwiches.  He offered me one but I declined because I had already eaten.  Also, Darby, the marketing director for Mom + Pop Records from New York City was there and she came in and shook my had and introduced herself to me.  She said, "It's such a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Smith." And I said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Darby. I've been seeing you on Facebook."
  "That's right, we're Facebook friends, aren't we?" she said with a big friendly smile. "Yes, we are," I said.
After a while, I got up and walked around and took a few photos.  The place was dark and cramped.  I felt like that I could easily get in everyone's way.  So I went back downstairs.  Some of the band members had also gathered downstairs and went outside for a few moments.  Then Tony came down too.  He offered for me to stay awhile longer.  But I told him that I needed to get back to work.  We gave each other a big hug and we agreed that we would see each other at the house tonight.
   As I was driving off, I thought to myself, "You know, it must be really fun and exciting to be young and be in a rock band, shooting videos and traveling all over the country as well as playing before thousands of fans."  But then again, that lifestyle is not for everyone I thought. It takes a certain kind of person. You've got to be young, energetic, talented and really, really want it bad.  Also, it takes tons of hard work. And Sleeper Agent has it and done that.
     Now I can't wait to see the video!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Stupid Can Stupid Get? Man Steals Car After Wreck In Order To Get Home From The Hospital

  BOWLING GREEN, Ky. _ Man, there are some stupid people in this world.  Or should I say some dumb criminals.  This is one of those guys who is a complete idiot!  Why didn't he just call someone to come pick him up to take him home after he was released from the hospital? Or at least call a taxi cab.  Then a friend or family member could have paid the tab perhaps.
   And I'm sure that he didn't have any health insurance either.  So it's the taxpayers like us that will be paying his hospital bill too not to mention the fact that we'll have to provide him with a cot and three square meals while he sits in jail.  So just how stupid can stupid get?
   Check out this crime story that the crackerjack crime beat reporter, Deborah Highland wrote for the Bowling Green  Daily News. Deborah does a fantastic job for the newspaper.

A Butler County man who needed a ride home from The Medical Center after receiving treatment for injuries suffered in a car wreck is accused of stealing a Lexus from a Bowling Green dealership in order to get back home to Morgantown.
William Peterson Jr. called the Bowling Green Police Department on Monday to report a break-in at Certified Auto, 1001 U.S. 31-W By-Pass. Someone had used a flower pot to break the front window to gain access into the building, according to police records.
Once inside, the thief rummaged through desk drawers before finding vehicle keys in a closet. Numerous keys were scattered around the office. Peterson told police that a 1997 Lexus SC300 was missing from the lot, records show.
As police prepared to process the crime scene, Butler County Sheriff Scottie Ward called to say that he had recovered the Lexus and was with the man believed to have taken the car, Timothy Jones Sr., 24, according to records.
Ward found Jones after Jones' mother called Ward to tell him that her son had driven a car home that probably wasn't his, Ward said. Ward drove to 7559 Caneyville Road in Morgantown to talk to Jones, who asked the sheriff for a ride back to Bowling Green so that he could talk to city police here about the incident.
Jones, 24, whose address is listed as 7559 Caneyville Road, told Bowling Green police that he had been taken to The Medical Center on Monday after being involved in a car wreck in Butler County. He was released at 1:30 a.m. and could not get a ride home from anyone. As he was walking, he noticed Certified Auto. Jones told police that the door to the business was unlocked and denied breaking a window to get in, records show.
Jones said he found several keys in a closet and took several sets outside with him, according to police records. He told police that he took the Lexus and drove home.
Police charged Jones with third-degree burglary and theft by unlawful taking-auto. He is being held in the Warren County Regional Jail on a $6,000 bond, according to online jail records. He is scheduled for a court appearance Friday in Warren District Court.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Indie Rock Is Alive And Well In Bowling Green, Ky, with Cage The Elephant, Sleeper Agent and Schools.

  My son, Tony, left last night from our house with Alex Kandel, the lead singer of "Sleeper Agent," the indie rock band from Bowling Green, Ky., to fly to Portland to perform in a sold-out show with Awolnation at the Crystal Ballroom Wednesday night, Dec. 7th.  Actually, they flew out of Nashville this morning.  Of course, they drove down to Nashville with the other members of the band in their van and stayed with some friends overnight before heading out this morning.  Patty, my wife and I, always enjoy having Tony back home even if it's just for 15 hours like it was this last time.
  Sleeper Agent is picking up a lot of speed and touring and gaining more notoriety and fans across the nation.  They have been touring with some big name acts of the late such as Cage The Elephant, The Joy Formidable, Manchester Orchestra, Foster The People, Bush, Grouplove and Awolnation, just to name a few.  Their album "Celabrasion" has been out several months now and selling really well.  To say the least and as you can probably tell, I am really proud of my kid, Tony.

   Regardless, I saw Matt Shultz again, the lead singer from Cage The Elephant a couple weeks ago at the Lava Lounge in Bowling Green where Tony and I went to see the up and coming new indie rock band from Bowling Green, called "Schools" perform.  Matt was friendly as always. Jay Joyce, the famous music producer from Nashville who recorded Cage The Elephant's two album, "Cage The Elephant," and "Thank You, Happy Birthday" and Sleeper Agent's "Celabrasion" also recorded "Schools" new album about a month ago.  Also, I got to meet Jeremi Simon, the lead singer and songwriter for "Schools."  By the way, the Schools sounded great that night.  And Jeremi is a super, nice guy also like Matt from Cage The Elephant.  I think the Schools will go far in the business like Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent has already.
   These are some very exciting times for indie rock music in the City of Bowling Green.  I think it is incredible that we already have three bands that have recorded albums and two bands are currently on tour and headlining with other national acts.  "Schools" is not quite out of the starting gate yet, but they are getting there, fast and soon.  Be on the look out for these guys!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dishonest Small Town Preacher Gives Religion A Bad Name

In my opinion, when you read stories like this in your local newspaper, it can really turn you off towards religion.  Especially, the those who are indifferent towards religion or for those who choose not go to church to worship God.  Or how about the atheists?  Things like this just give the atheists more fodder to point out on how corrupt religion can be for your mind according to them.  There's nothing worse than a small town dishonest preacher where he takes advantage of their congregation and of the elderly members who are barely surviving on their social security checks.  They trusted this guy who was there pastor, treasurer and secretary of the church.  Wow, that's a lot trust! And the church didn't have a bank account!  What's up with that?
I hope an Allen County, Ky., court, especially the judge, county attorney or a jury throws the book at this guy in order to make an example out of him.  Just maybe, it might deter other small town dishonest preachers to come clean and to become honest so that they will not continue to give religion a bad name in this state or country.

Longtime pastor faces theft charge
Minix accused of taking $300,000 from congregation in Allen County

Published: November 10, 2011
A Scottsville pastor is accused of embezzling $300,000 from New Gospel Outreach Church.

Billy Owen Minix, 42, 59 Cherokee Drive in Scottsville, was charged Tuesday with theft by unlawful taking over $10,000, according to Allen Circuit Court records.
“I have no comment,” Minix said when reached by telephone at his home Wednesday.
The church had been saving money for a new building, Scottsville Police Department Detective Brad Emery said.
The congregation has seen its membership drop from about 70 members to 35 since news of the theft rocked the congregation in September, interim Pastor Roy Yoakem said.
“I guess we were more heartbroken than anything,” Yoakem said. “Our church consists mainly of elderly people. The average age of the congregation is about 60 years. And they just couldn’t believe that he would do something like this.”
“A pastor’s position is a position of trust. We told him we forgave him biblically because that’s what the Bible teaches, but the law has to take its part, too,” Yoakem said.
Minix made a self-incriminating statement in front of the congregation in September, Yoakem said.
“His words were, ‘I just let it slip through my fingers,’ ” Yoakem said.
After that statement, the church saw its congregation dwindle. The congregation currently gathers at 108 S. Court St. in an old storefront.
Minix was the pastor, treasurer and secretary of the church, Emery said. Minix does not have a prior criminal record.
Emery opened an investigation into Minix in August after receiving a complaint, he said. Emery alleges that over a 12-year period, Minix stole $300,000.
The church didn’t have a bank account, Emery said. Emery accuses Minix of collecting money intended for the church, depositing it into an account he controlled and then spending the money.
“I do have some more investigation to do on it,” Emery said.
The church now has officially incorporated, Yoakem said, something the congregation thought had already happened. Remaining congregants elected a treasurer and secretary in addition to Yoakem’s election as interim pastor, a job that Yoakem is not paid to do.
Minix was arrested and posted a $25,000 surety bond to secure his release from the Allen County Jail.

Copyright 2011 News Publishing LLC (Bowling Green, KY)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal: When All Hell Breaks Loose

"It goes to show that no institution is immnue to sex abuse scandals whether it be the Catholic Church or Penn State University. Penn State University just better hope they have plenty of money and damn good lawyers because the victims and family members will probably sue the hell out of them like the church was and continues to be. Also, the media is currently and will smear them all over of the place like they have us Catholics for years for the unspeakable actions of a select few leaders of the church. These perverted perpretrators should be prosecuted to fullest extent of the law and pay legally for their sins according to the law."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brad M. Kelley: Southcentral Kentucky's Billionaire

I am not a smoker.  However, I used to be.  I remember when I could buy a pack of cigarettes for 45 cents at Dye's Store in Eudora, Miss., near Lake O' The Hills where my dad used to live.  It was in the late 70's and I was an teenager, an underage smoker like a lot of kids used to be back then.  I remember I could take Coke bottles to return them at the little country store and get a pack of Vantage menthol cigarettes, an RC cola and a Moon Pie with the bottles. I don't even think kids nowadays know what returnable bottles are, do they? Wow, those days are long gone and they are truly amazing now that I look back at them.
But these days, apparently smokers almost have to pay what like $5 a pack to smoke and some places like New York City, it's what like $10 a pack?  That's crazy! I understand a lot of that money for a pack goes to local, state and federal taxes.  However, at one time there was tons and tons of money to be made in cigarette manufacturing in the United States.  What do I know?  I know there's a lot of regulation with tobacco industry.  But in spite of all that, there's a Cinderella tobacco story that happened right here in Bowling Green, Ky.
I used to work for a certain service company that performed a monthly service for a placed called, "Commonwealth Brands Tobacco."  It was located in a former, old warehouse for Fruit of the Loom off Church Street and Double Springs Road in Bowling Green.  In the mid-1990's, I performed the service for the tobacco company that was started in 1991 by Brad M. Kelley who at the time was probably in his late 30's and was a self-made entrepreneur.  I noticed that the place was full of old cigarette manufacturing machines that seemed to always be breaking down.  There was an old guy or two working on the machines every time I went in there to perform the service.  One of the workers said Mr. Kelley bought the machines from a cigarette manufacturing in North Carolina.  Also, I used to see large cardboard boxes of imported tobacco from foreign countries like Africa and places like that.  The place was not the cleanest in the world either and looked like everybody in there smoked.  They even had a computer graphic designer in an office who designed the cigarette package labels as well as advertising.  I can honestly say that I had been in that particular office many times where such world famous brand names of cigarettes were created such as "USA Gold, "Bull Durham" and "Malibu." Mr. Kelley's office was really cool too.  He had a lot of stuffed wildlife animals in there and he was a tall, burly red headed and bearded man. I said "hello" to him several times and he seemed like he was pretty friendly fellow, at least he was to me.  It looked like he was trying to create some new BBQ, steak and wild deer sauces too.  They had even had labels created for the sauces that were laying around.  And I serviced a large old house near the Bowling Green airport that served as the sales office for the company and a large distribution center warehouse on Russellville Road in Bowling Green where he kept his million dollar Provost camper bus.
According to some internet searches, in 1991, when very few people wanted to be in the tobacco business, Kelly started Commonwealth Tobacco Brands from scratch.  While keeping his advertising budget sparse, Kelley out-performed big brands by keeping the prices of his good low. His company set out to undercut the big tobacco companies by producing discount "branded generics" cigarettes.  In 2001, just 10 years after starting the company, Commonwealth Brands was the fifth-largest cigarette maker in the country, with sales approaching $800 million.  It's top brand, USA Gold, was, and still one of the nation's top selling brands.  And then amazingly in 2001, he sold the company to another Bowling Green based company called, "Houchens Industries" for $1 billion dollars.
And according to some other internet searches, seven years ago, when Mr. Kelley was 48 years-old, he was worth about 1.3 billion dollars and was America's 258th-richest person.  He likes to keep a very low profile and stay out of the limelight.  So you really won't find out much about him on the internet.
I had been trying to think of this guy's name lately because I'd had forgotten it.  Fortunately, there was a story in Friday's (Oct. 21, 2011) Bowling Green Daily News where Brad and Kent Kelley purchased 322 acres of farmland on Interstate 65 at an auctioned that occurred in Bowling Green last Thursday at the Sloan Convention Center.  By selling off his tobacco company 2001, he has become of the biggest players in the property business along with Ted Tuner and only a handful of others.
Here's a quote from the Bowling Green Daily News. "Brad Kelley, who is one of the largest land owners in the country, purchased 322 acres contiguous to I-65 on its west side, while Kent Kelley purchased 190 acres on the far east side of I-65."
"Brad Kelley, formerly of Franklin, Ky., who is now a Tennessee resident but has land holdings across the country.  He formerly owned Commonwealth Brands Tobacco, which sold to Houchens Industries for $1 billion.  The tobacco company is now owned Imperial Tobacco Group which paid $1.9 billion for the purchase."
Besides being a significant stakeholder in various equine racetracks, including Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Downs in his hometown of Franklin, Kelley owns more than 1.25 million acres of ranching and farm land across Tennessee, Kentucky, southwestern Texas, Florida and parts of New Mexico.  And he also dedicating a lot of the land to wildlife conservation who's spending millions of dollars conserving black rhinos, white rhinos, pygmy hippos, okapi, anoas, impalas, white-bearded wildebeests, Nile lech we, Eastern bongogs and Beisa oryx.
They say Kelley has never been on a yacht and still drives a white Ford pickup.  He has no college degree and he moved to Tennessee with his wife, Susan, of 26 years, to be close to his children's school.  Born and raised in Franklin, Ky. (pop. 8,000), which is about 20 miles southwest of Bowling Green and 40 miles north of Nashville, Kelley seemed destined to run the family farm in Franklin.  He graduated from Franklin-Simpson High School in 1974 and he was not athletic or nor was he especially handsome.  He was secretary for the Future Farmers of America, winner of the Courier-Journal Louisville Times Future Farmers of America contest and a member of Who's Who American High School Students and was named Corn Derby Winner.
To me, it's just a fascinating, all around intriguing story and always will be.  And to know and remember when Commonwealth Brands was in its infancy stages and where it all began firsthand makes it even more of an incredible story to me.  It's a totally major American success story.  Even though, Kelly was not poor growing up, it's not quite a "rags to riches" story but almost. However, if you ever see Brad M. Kelley out in public, you probably won't know who he is because apparently he's just a regular person like you and me. And you definitely won't know he's Southcentral Kentucky's billionaire either.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

C & C Bar-B-Q Grilling Sauce Is Some of Kentucky's Finest

    Being a Southern boy, I am always on the lookout for great little barbecue places to eat as well as bottled barbecue sauces that are being sold on the market whether it be major grocery store chains or little mom and pop shops along the way.
   However, I ran across "C & C Bar-B-Q Grilling Sauce" from a friend of mine who is a manager at restaurant in Glasgow, Ky.  He showed it to me and told me how good it was.  He even let me taste of spoonful of it.  I was immediately hooked and I had to have a bottle of it.  He said of a couple of friends of his created it and have it bottled and they only sale it at several locations in Glasgow and Southcentral Kentucky.  This sauce has a nice kick to it and wonderful flavor!  I've used the sauce two times already on my gas grill barbecuing butterfly pork chops and the flavor was outstanding!  I plan on using in some chicken breasts as well as other types of pork and white meats while cooking on the gas grill.
    If you would like to purchase a bottle of  this very unique Kentucky barbecue sauce, you can get it at Nannie's & Poppy's Consignment Shop in Cave City, Ky., just off I-65 between Nashville, Tenn. and Louisville, Ky, for $4 a bottle.  It's well worth the money.  Their address is 101 Baker Hale Road, Cave City, Ky. 42127 and phone numbers, 270 590-2019 or 270 646-8618.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"The Help" Might Hit A Little Too Close To Home For Some White Southerners

The first time heard about the newly released movie, "The Help," was several weeks ago from one of my Facebook friends named Gene Simmons. Gene is the famous bass player from the rock band, "Kiss" that's been around for almost 40 years and I am one of the his lucky 5,000 friends who has the privilege to be acquainted with him on his Facebook page. Apparently, Gene likes to go to movies often with his family especially newly released movies. He said it was a great movie and that he highly recommended it on his Facebook page.

Then my wife goes to Oxford, Miss., last week for a visit for several days with two of her best friends and they go see it. So on the way back home to Bowling Green, after I picked her up, I basically heard about the whole movie. I didn't know at the time, what to quite to think about the movie from her description. However, she just kept commenting on how good the movie was and that I would like it and that I should go see it. I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

So last night, my wife and I and our good friend from church go see it at the theatre here in Bowling Green. The theatre was crowed with mostly white people and only a hand full of African Americans. It's a long movie (see trailer) but I was really entertained throughout the whole movie and I could really relate to it especially since I was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., and we also had hired help too during my 14 years of living there. I also spent 11 of my years in Mississippi where I graduated high school and went to college at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford which is not too far where the movie takes place in the early 1960's in Jackson, Miss. Our maid's name was Mary Lee and everyone called her "May Lee." May Lee, who wore a white uniform when she worked for us and who's husband was a veterinary hand and a preacher, was a hard worker, cooked and cleaned for the Smith household and practically raised me. She would also punish me me when I got out of line liked when I crossed the street without her permission or the time I almost burned the BBQ Pit House down in the backyard along with my friend John Rutstein from down the street. Basically, she would strip a mulberry bush limb and make a switch and whip my legs until the bled. Back in the middle 1960's, people could get away with that kind of whippings on children. She also had my parents permission to do so. And if I got mouthy and disrespectful calling her the "n' word, I would send me upstairs and I couldn't come down until my parents got home from work.

However, May Lee had a gentle side too. She would pitch the baseball with me outside, watch me when I went swimming in the baby pool at the former Army Depot Country Club in Memphis off Airways Boulevard among other things. We would talk for hours at a time too when I was a little fellow. That's how I related to the movie last night. I was strongly reminded our help and that strong figure of a woman in my early life, "May Lee."

Now if my mother were still alive, the movie may have offended her because it might have hit a little too close to home. It might have reminded her of the time, May Lee wanted more money during the in the 1960's Civil Rights movement but my mother did not wanted to pay her anymore than she was already paying her. So May Lee left to go work for a neighbor. I remember it felt so strange to see May Lee go work for the Davenports one morning. I cried because she had known me from the day I was brought home from the hospital. However, they managed to work out a deal and she came back to work for us until my parents divorce in 1974. I have only seen her three times since 1974. I saw her once in 1980 when my sister and I went by to see her at her house in Cordova, Tenn., and at my dad's funeral in 1993 and then my mother's funeral in 2000, both in Memphis. May Lee is still living today and we still keep up with each other through phone calls and cards usually at Christmas and birthdays. She also still calls me "her son," and we always end our cards by saying "Love, Galen or May Lee."

The only draw back about this movie, if you're not from the South, you might get some wrong impressions that are magnified in the film about Mississippians and Southerners. And I would dare say that somethings in the film are misrepresented or twisted, but I would also say a lot of it is accurate. It's just the way things were back then in the 1950's and 1960's in the South. There's nothing we can do to go back and change or undo anything except learn from it and try to continue to understand the needs and feelings of others. I would say that a lot of white Southern parents who were involved in those type of behaviors portrayed in the film are probably long gone by now. Our generation, the Baby Boomers, we were the children that were raised by "The Help" or the "Maids" if you will and who are still around to see the movie and try to make sense of it all. For me, it reminds me of the strong bond that was made with our maid during my childhood while being raised in the South.

All in all, the movie is great and I highly recommend it like Gene says. You won't be disappointed far as a movie about the South goes. Just try to keep an open mind when you see it, that's all.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sleeper Agent Announces A Headliner Tour Via The Audio Perv

Bowling Green, Ky's alternative, garage rock, pop band, "Sleeper Agent" who has been making headlines across the country and the world in newspapers, magazine and all over the internet, announces a headliner tour via The Audio Perv. Check it out!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yellowberri's "SKYe Magazine" Throws Down Local In-Depth Reporting

If you're addicted to your laptop or desktop computer much less your smart phone, now you can read some really good, in depth local reporting about Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky via Yellowberri's online "SKYe Magazine."

SKYe Magazine shines a light on our own very interesting local color and culture in the Bowling Green and surrounding areas with some sharp, intelligent reporting. Since Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green offers one of the best up-to-date journalism schools in the country with all the latest technology, SKYe magazine taps into a multitude of young and talented journalists from the university in the areas of print, photography and videography. For me personally, I am intrigued with the amount of good talent that the online magazine displays with its awesome reporting and stories. The videos that are offered are tremendous in quality in my opinion. Whether it be a local rock band performing or a human interest subject being interviewed, the videos in the online magazine are always professionally done and crafted as well as carefully edited.

In this month's edition of the magazine, they offer great pieces on the now-world famous Bowling Green bar and music venue, "Tidballs," and the recent surprise gig by Bowling Green's "Cage The Elephant," "Sleeper Agent" and "Schools," that sold out in minutes without any advertising-only by word of mouth. You can also read about Jordan Speers, a Bowling Green artist, who is headed for the big time with his album art for the debut "Sleeper Agent" CD, "Celebrasion."

Check it out because you won't be disappointed as SKYe Magazine brings out our local culture to the forefront in vivid color and detail on the world-wide web.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

T.G.I. Fridays, Always A Good Choice For Me When Eating Out

I don't know, call me old fashion.

I still like the dark stained wood panels with the nostalgic antiques hanging from the ceiling and walls in the comfortable setting of our local T.G.I. Fridays Restaurant here in Bowling Green, Ky. I also like the red and white stripes and the Tiffany lamps. I have noticed that some of the other restaurants in town have updated and removed some of their antiques off the wall and have given their guests a "more updated" feel I suppose.

But that's the beauty of T.G.I. Fridays. It takes me back to a time of me growing up in East Memphis, Tenn. I was just a kid when Fridays came to the Overton Square in Mid-Town Memphis and a matter of fact, it was the second Fridays to open in the country in 1971. Although, I never got a chance to eat at that popular restaurant on the Overton Square, I have eaten at the one next to Vanderbilt's campus in downtown Nashville and one in Bowling Green dozens of times.

Here's what it says about T.G.I. Fridays in Wikipedia.

"With fellow Bucknell graduate Ben Benson, Alan Stillman opened other restaurants, including Thursday's, Wednesday's, Tuesday's, and Ice Cream Sunday's. Franchising of T.G.I. Friday's began in 1971 in Memphis, Tennessee in the Overton Square district; that location has since closed. As new locations opened in the suburbs parents brought their children, and the chain changed its focus to casual dining for families. Stillman sold the restaurant chain in the 1970s to the Carlson Companies—although he kept the original location —and, now married, founded Smith & Wollensky in 1977 with Benson.

The Friday's restaurant chain was founded by Alan Stillman in 1965. The bachelor perfume salesman lived in a neighborhood with many airline stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries, and other single people on the East Side of Manhattan near the Queensboro Bridge, and hoped that opening a bar would help him meet women. At the time, Stillman's choices for socializing were non-public cocktail parties, or "guys' beer-drinking hangout" bars that women usually did not visit; he recalled that "there was no public place for people between, say, twenty-three to thirty-seven years old, to meet." He sought to recreate the comfortable cocktail-party atmosphere in public despite having no experience in the restaurant business.

T.G.I. Friday's (often shortened to "Friday's" in most countries, and stylized "FRiDAY'S", or "T.G.I.'s" in the United Kingdom) is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining. The company is a unit of the Carlson Companies. Its name is taken from the expression TGIF. The company asserts that it stands for "Thank Goodness It's Friday," although as of 2010 some television commercials for the chain have also made use of the alternative phrase, "Thank God It's Friday's."[2] The chain is known for its appearance, with red-striped canopies, brass railings,Tiffany lamps and frequent use of antiques as decor.

With $5,000 of his own money and $5,000 borrowed from his mother, Stillman purchased a bar he often visited, The Good Tavern at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue, and renamed it T.G.I. Friday's after the expression "Thank God! It's Friday!" from his years at Bucknell University. The new restaurant, which opened on March 15, 1965, served standard American cuisine, bar food, and alcoholic beverages, but emphasized food quality and preparation. The exterior featured a red-and-white striped awning and blue paint, the Gay Nineties interior included fake Tiffany lamps, wooden floors, Bentwood chairs, and striped tablecloths, and the bar area added brass rails and stained glass. The employees were young and wore red-and-white striped soccer shirts, and every time someone had a birthday, the entire restaurant crew came around with a cake and sang Friday's traditional birthday song. The first location closed in 1994, and is a British pub called "Baker Street"; the brass rails are still there."

Our local T.G.I. Fridays in Bowling Green has stayed the same since it opened in 2001 as far as its decor. Of course the menu and prices has changed somewhat through the years. To me, T.G.I Fridays is a great place to eat. I especially like the Stripes Rewards program. Every time you eat there, you get points and those points add up to free food. For me, Fridays offers great food, great prices, great service, a nice atmosphere and for some strange reason I always imagine myself eating at the former T.G.I. Fridays on Overton Square in Memphis even though I never got a chance to eat there. It must be some sort of mental connection.

(Pictured above is a photo taken from the Memphis Commerical Appeal of James D. Robinson Jr., one of the founders of TGI Friday's Memphis and Overton Square, is shown in Friday's in 1970. Robinson and his partners had bet that Memphis voters would approve sales of liquor by the drink, which they did in 1969.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Good Story On Sleeper Agent From Bowling Green, Ky.

Here's the latest story on "Sleeper Agent," an alternative rock band from Bowling Green, Ky.

More Tour Dates For "Sleeper Agent" From Bowling Green, Ky.

My son Galen Jr. "Tony-Tutone" Smith and his band, "Sleeper Agent," from our hometown of Bowling Green, Ky., and their record label "Mom & Pop Music" from New York City have announced more tour dates. They are killin' it! Way to go Sleeper Agent! Look for their debut album due out, Aug. 16, 2011.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poor Ole Sad Sam Will Be Even Sadder If Fireworks Become Legal in Bowling Green, Ky.

Bam! Boom!

The City of Bowling Green, Ky., will take a second vote on the issue of fireworks tonight on whether to make them legal in Kentucky's third largest town. However, I am a little confused. I thought that they were already legal here. At least the kind that are not bottle rockets, firecrackers, M-80's or rockets and etc., I suppose. I guess as long as it is anything that will not explode or shoot up in the air, it's okay to sell currently. In other words, they have to basically be fireworks for kiddie such as sparklers, smoke bombs and spinning fireworks-these are the only kind that you can buy in Bowling Green these days, I think.

However, if the new law passes (which I feel it will because I am already seeing vendors renting buildings in the city to sell the the good kind of fireworks), thousands of citizens will no longer have to flock over to the Tennessee state line to that famous mega fireworks seller-Sad Sam. Sad Sam is a gigantic fireworks and gift/grocery store which sells tons of fireworks every Fourth of July and they also sells bottle and can beer year around on Sundays. You can't get that in Bowling Green on Sundays either so many beer drinkers drive down there for that reason too.

Don't get me wrong. I love Sad Sam. It's been tradition for years for our family to make that drive down there and back to get our firework fix. But I think it's a great idea to see the "good kind of fireworks" to become legal in the City of Bowling Green. Not only will it generate revenue for the city through sales tax and vendors fees (I read in our local newspaper that they have to pay a $1,000 for a vendor fee to get set up) and they also have to rent buildings. I think they are still debating on tent sales for these type of fireworks. Also, it will save us, the consumers of those happy and fun-filled explosive products from having to spend more money on gas to make that drive down to the Tennessee state-line and back which is about a 75 mile round trip.

So if it passes tonight, poor ole Sad Sam will be even sadder and the citizens of Bowling Green will be even more happier.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Symbol of Memphis, Tenn.,-"The Mid-South Coliseum"

"The Mid-South Coliseum is a symbol of Memphis, Tenn., just like The Pyramid, Mud-Island or Graceland. So why in the world, would anyone want to tear it down?"-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Evil Does Exist: The Gruesome Details Are Out On The Jamie Stice Murder In Bowling Green, Ky.

I would dare say that most Southcentral Kentuckians were stunned and shocked when they first heard about the recent murder and fetal abduction of 21 year-old Jamie Stice of Bowling Green, Ky., last month, April 13, 2011.
The now indicted murderer who sits in the Warren County Regional Jail in Bowling Green, is 33 year-old Kathy Coy of Morgantown, Ky., a small town about 25 miles north of Bowling Green off the William Natcher Parkway. There was talk around town for about a week about the gruesome details of Coy's horrendous act that had leaked out to the public but had not "officially" been released to the press about what had exactly had happened. People who were talking, were people who knew someone who worked at The Medical Center at Bowling Green and so on. Or someone was friends with someone who was friends with Jamie Stice or one of her family members, that were talking. Bowling Green is a growing town indeed. However, Bowling Green is still a small enough city where a large portion of the population still know each other. Especially those were born and raised here or who have lived here for 20 years or more such as myself and my family, know a lot of people through work, church or community/civic activities. The terrible sad news is that Jamie Stice is deceased and is already buried. The good news is that the baby survived the ordeal when Jamie was almost eight months pregnant with him.

First of all, I commend the Kentucky State Police on how they handled the murder and were quickly able to get to the bottom of this horrible and gruesome murder and abduction of the baby. Originally, the KSP officially released very few details to the press and the public in order to probably protect the building of the murder case and the family. They were also waiting for the autopsy report from the Kentucky State Medical Examiner's office in Louisville. Also, I applaud Warren County Coroner, Kevin Kirby for also being reserved with the gruesome details of Jamie's murder. Kirby who's family has been in the funeral home business in Bowling Green and Warren County for years, sincerely knows how to deal with loved ones emotions and feelings especially in these types of delicate situations.

Ever since the gruesome details of the murder have been published in our local newspaper, the Bowling Green Daily News and broadcasted on our local television station, WBKO, have found this story to be very disturbing and haunting. According to previous Bowling Green Daily News news stories, Coy befriended Stice three weeks on Facebook prior to the murder. She knew that Stice was pregnant and lead Stice and her mother to believe that she was going to help them buy some baby clothes and etc. Coy was also telling her family, friends and other people that she was also pregnant. On the day of the murder, Coy had driven Stice mother to a place so she could sign up for disability. Then she went back and picked up Stice under the guise that she was going to buy her baby clothes. Instead, she drove her out in the county, bound her wrists, used a stun gun on her and then slit her throat with a drywall knife. Then Coy disemboweled Stice as her baby boy had been cut from her body with the umbilical cord, uterus and two ovaries attached to him. Coy then showed up at friend's house in Butler County, where Morgantown is located, with the baby in this condition as she told the friend that she had just given birth to the baby.

In a Bowling Green News front page article titled "Fetal Abductions 'Eerily Similar'" published today, May 1, 2011, it says that Coy wasn't wearing any pants when she arrived at her friend's house.

"Coy wasn't wearing pants when she arrived at Shelly Lindsey's driveway, April 13, according to police court testimony. She was sitting on the placenta and other female organs inside her car while the baby in her arms. Coy was honking the horn, Lindsey came out and called for an ambulance when Coy announced she had just given birth. Coy got out of the car holding the baby boy. His mother's reproductive organs where still attached."

The article goes on to report that, "Coy asked her friend to snap a picture of the baby and send it to her "husband" Shannon Coy, who was working out of town. He received the text message with the picture, according to court testimonies." However, Coy and Shannon Coy were no longer married and was trying to make a go at the former relationship by stating that she was pregnant. Coy had also even asked her 13 year-old daughter and 14 year-old son to help commit the murder but they had refused.

The Bowling Green Daily News had also reported in earlier news articles that Coy showed up at The Medical Center at Bowling Green around 7 p.m. April 13 with the baby, uterus, placenta and ovaries in a bucket. At the time it wasn't clear if she arrived in an ambulance. It was also revealed that medical staff at the hospital reported a suspicious birth to the Kentucky State Police. Coy was then taken to the KSP headquarters where she originally told them that she purchased the baby after she realized that she had been caught. Apparently, after an all nighter of interrogations, Stice's body was found outside of Bowling Green off U.S. 68-Ky. 80 highway in some woods near Oakland, Ky., around 4 a.m. the next morning.

Regardless of whatever the motivation for this senseless, tragic murder of a young mother to be, this was an act of "pure evil" to the highest degree. And regardless if Coy is mentally ill, crazy and insane, I still find this murder haunting and repulsive. And I do believe no matter how gruesome the details of this murder is, the press has a right to do their job of investigating the facts and report them to the public. On the other hand, I do respect the privacy of the Stice family as they have a right to grieve quietly and not be bothered. And again, I give kudos on how the case handled very thorough and delicately by the KSP and the the Warren County Coroner. Now it will be up to a judge and jury on how do deal with this evil that does exits in our part of the state.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

HBO's "Dirty Driving: Thunder Cars Of Indiana" and Sammy Hawkins: Three Years After The Making

The first time I saw the HBO Documentary "Dirty Driving: Thunder Cars of Indiana,' about two years ago, I was sitting down in my den channel surfing. When I landed on the HBO channel, I notice these "down to earth characters" who were real life people living in a Mid-Western struggling town in the United States called Anderson, Ind. This was not some reality show where everything is basically scripted. This was totally real. I was captivated and fascinated right off the bat by this particular documentary. Here you have some guys and ladies who love local auto racing and whose lives revolve around it in the midst where hundreds of factory jobs have left their town. In spite of these people living in a town where people are really hurting in a tough economy, there's a bright spot of happiness where one pursues their dreams of trying to win the overall seasonal grand prize and trophy for having the most victories in one season.

I have to admit, I am not a auto racing fan. Yeah, I've watched a few bits and pieces of NASCAR on television here and there. But I can't say, I've watched a whole race. I am more interested in people and human drama. And I like to watch how people interact with each other and I like to watch how things are made and built-up or destroyed and torn down. "Dirty Driving" a not a documentary about auto racing completely. It was more of a documentary of how one particular character or the main character, Sammy Hawkins, was holding on to his job at the local Firestone plant and his family and pursuing his dreams of winning his first race. It also showed his passion for his weekend sport at the Anderson Speedway. Sammy was portrayed as an "underdog and a fighter." And real life, he really is an underdog and a fighter. During the time, the documentary was being filmed, he had not won a race as of yet. But he was not going to give up and until this day, three years later, he is still racing.

After I watched the documentary, I wrote it about it on a former blog that I had. And then, when I created a new blog, I somehow lost it. But in the mean time, I asked to Sammy to be my friend on "Facebook," and his "Myspace" site. I've been able to maintain a friendship with him through these social networking sites and recently I was able to ask him a couple questions to see how he feels about the documentary and where he stands now three years later since it was made.

Me: It's been three years since the documentary has been out-how does it feel these days after three years about being one of the main subjects of a documentary that has been shown all over the world to millions of people and still continues to be shown to millions of people all over the world these days?

Sammy: I enjoyed being the main subject of the documentary very much. I have had a lot of people write me telling me how my "never give up" attitude has helped them. I have had a hard life with the loss of three children and my ex-wife keeping from seeing my oldest daughter, Brittany. I have since been reunited with Brittany and I now have two small children, Roselynn, age 4, and Jarrod, age 2. I enjoy all the fans I now have for someone who has still never won a race. The closest I have came has been second place. I still watch the show now and then and I still laugh really hard at some of it. I didn't like the fact they cut the good neighborhoods out of the film and the shopping district. We also set up a New Years Party at "Shouts Sports Bar" and it was also filmed and it didn't make their (HBO) final cut.

Me: I know in the past that you have expressed some real dissatisfaction with the HBO people regarding the documentary. Do you still feel that way and do feel this way about Jon Alpert, the director/producer of the documentary too? He seems to think quite fondly of you according to the literature on the HBO web-site about the documentary. He says that you are a "underdog and a fighter" and he admires that in you and that Anderson, Ind., reminds him of where he grew up in a similar town in the state of New York.

Sammy: I still think we should have been paid for our time doing this film. They are making a bundle on the film and they chose not to pay us a single dime. This film was about a failing town and people trying to survive in it and HBO also walked away with a hit and left the people that could have helped with any kind of payment. They are selling thousands of DVDs on the HBO web-site and they couldn't give us anything. Jon Alpert, I like, but I think he let us down by not standing up for us and getting us compensated for the film. I really like Jon and I also admire him a lot. I got to at least fly out to New York with my wife for the premier and got to tour the Big Apple. I had always wanted to go to New York and see the sights and that was really exciting for me and Christina. I didn't like the fact they kind of portrayed her as an alcoholic. She isn't. When we work on the cars, we would (back then) drink our beer so she chose to do the same. Now I'm a father of two and I have changed my life 100% and I'm still looking for work since Firestone closed in 2009.

Me: What would you say about this documentary since it has been out as far as putting you and some of your fellow race car drivers in the spotlight-has this documentary brought you and good fortune or bad fortune? I know you said that you didn't get paid a dime for it but has anything good come out it? And what about Anderson, Ind., in spite of the tough times with the lost of all the jobs and tough economy, has anything good come out of it for your town as far as the documentary goes?

Sammy: I'm only speaking for myself when I say that there has been good and bad come out of it. I had the local paper attack me in one of their articles and I wrote an article of my own and delivered it in person to the newspaper office. Needless to say, the jerk that wrote the article would not come down and speak with me but they did print my article. I have had some great sponsorships from Log Cabin Resorts in Northwester Indiana and from Byrd Brothers Trucking out of Dayton, Ohio. I haven't gotten a job though. I did a few radio shows. One for Jack Flash online radio and one for John Michael Vincent from a local radio station in Indy. Other than that, I have had a blast with it. My wife doesn't like all the publicity. But I kind of enjoy it since I had never gotten to be in sports when I was in school. So I guess, it was my time to shine so to speak. Lol. The only thing I did for Anderson was bring more people to the track on the weekends. We got a Nestles plant in town that brought a lot of people with them when they moved here. So that didn't create a lot of jobs. We also have a casino now but it can only provide some many jobs and the rest of us are left out in the cold. Other than that, I don't think it did a whole lot for the town.

Me: If another filmmaker where to approach you again about doing another documentary about you and the Anderson Speedway, would you do it again? Would you do anything different this time? Would you make sure you got some kind of compensation or get a contract signed if possible?

Sammy: If another filmmaker came to town, yes, I would do it again. I would make sure they were planning on paying me this time and definitely get a contract signed before doing anything. When Jon was here, I did a lot of arranging of meetings for him and talked to all the other drivers and got them to go along with it. The only driver, I had nothing do with was Billy Riddle. That kind of happened on its own. I would let them know that we will not be taken advantage of and expect royalties from the showing of the film as well as a lump payment for our time. HBO had us signed a release so they could film but nowhere in does it say we weren't getting paid. We expected to get something besides a handshake and a thank you. I would not let that happen again. But I would love to do it.

Me: Thank you for your time, Sammy. I appreciate you as a friend on "Facebook," and I wish you all the best for you and your family. And I sincerely hope you find a job soon. You're a really good guy who holds his head up high in spite of the tough circumstances that you face presently. God Bless and thanks again, my friend.

*You can "friend" Sammy Hawkins of Facebook and Myspace. Also, you can join the "Sammy Hawkins Fan Club" on Facebook. I'm sure Sammy would love to have you as a friend!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sweet Tasting Milk From Southcentral Kentucky

I recently tried a new homegrown product that I bought at Houchens IGA Store the other day that's made right here in Kentucky. Well, actually, it's not made by humans. It's made by cows-it's milk! It's called, "Chaney's Milk." This stuff is absolutely delicious! I highly recommend it and you can only purchase it at Houchens IGA Stores or Houchen's Jr. Food Stores in Bowling Green, Ky., and Southcentral Kentucky.

People who live around here have been hearing a lot about Chaney's Dairy Barn these last several years. Chaney's does a lot of advertising on the radio and television and they are have special events such as "Moovie Nights" at their dairy barn especially for children. I have eaten had their awesome ice cream several times and it's really good too. You can't beat their ice cream either.

So if you want a true sweet taste of Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky head on over to Houchens IGA or Jr. Food Store and grab a half gallon of Chaney's milk. is milk is totally awesome! And if you're wanting some incredible ice cream, head on out to Chaney's Dairy Barn which about five miles south of Bowling Green on U.S. 31-W (Nashville Road) heading towards Franklin, Ky.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Split Tree Barbecue: Looking For That Good Barbecue In Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky

I drive to Scottsville, Ky., every Friday and I was always see the barbecue restaurant called "Split Tree Barbecue," in Alvaton. I have been meaning to stop there for a while. I've actually eaten there years ago when they were in their old building where there was a real tree in the parking lot that had two large branches growing out in different directions. Of course, eventually the state came in and widened the road and torn the building down. Back then, I had the barbecue plate and it was really good as I remember. Also, through the years, there's been several newspaper stories about the restaurant in the Bowling Green Daily News which always brought back memories regarding my visit there.

Now there is new building and they have a nice sign out front with picture of a tree with splitting branches. But the building is really not new because it's probably been in this location for the last 10 years or so, I'd say. Lately, they have been advertising their "House Special"on the big sign out front. So, that enticed me to stop by to have lunch recently.

The building is really a nice looking building on the outside as well on the inside. As you enter the lobby, you'll all of sudden recognize that familiar sweet smell of hickory barbecue smoke. You'll also notice a lot of people's business cards placed all over the walls on the wooden cross boards. I think this is a tradition that has been going on for years at this restaurant. I walked over to the window where I place my order and I saw Jerome, the owner of the business with his friendly smile. He asked me, "What will you have?" And of course, I said "The house special with a sweet tea, please." I notice Jerome still uses a pad to write the orders on. I'm not quite sure if it's a means of accounting for him regarding the money he has collected or just it's a way to keep track of what he has sold.

The house special was really out of this world! It's basically two corn cakes with their specialty smoked barbecue pork and smothered with their excellent tasting barbecue beans. I chose to sit in the large, airy and bright screened in porch area with a long picnic table in front of the big screen television while I ate. And I loved their barbecue sauce! It's a really good vinegar base type of sauce. It's the kind I prefer. They have several other offerings on their menu too. You can look on their web-site link above to see their menu items.

If you want some good Warren County barbecue, I would highly advised you to stop at Split Tree Barbecue. It's about five miles southeast of I-65 on Scottsville (Ky. 23) heading towards Scottsville . While I was leaving and walking to my truck, I noticed that there were cars with license plates from Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Apparently, Kentuckians aren't the only ones aware of Split Tree Barbecue and the great taste of smoked barbecue that they offer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Charlie Sheen vs. O.J. Simpson

"You know, concerning the sudden world media blitz on Charlie Sheen, I'm starting to have flashbacks of the O.J. Simpson ordeal minus murder."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen, American Culture, Society and Media

"It's sad but true. In dealing with today's American culture, society and media regarding Charlie Sheen's addictions and mental illness, one man's misery is another man's entertainment.-Galen A. Smith Sr.