Saturday, December 19, 2015

College Town At Christmas: Bowling Green, Ky., 2015

     Although Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., (Kentucky's third largest city now) had an enrollment of 21,000 students this past fall semester in our town with a population of 65,000 or more these days, you really can't tell that things have slowed down much for us this Christmas break.
     I painstakingly made a long detour last night just to avoid heavy traffic on Campbell Lane and Nashville Road not to mention Scottsville Road and Campbell Lane where the Greenwood Mall is located.  It seems everybody and their brother were in Bowling Green last night from every small town in the 10 county area surrounding us.  Of course, we love our booming economy and the millions of dollars that are spent our college town each day but not the heavy traffic.
     But between the new Star Wars movie, cheap gas with heavy traffic, internet Christmas shopping, grocery shopping at Kroger, terrorism, the Republican debate, the gun debate, the NRA, the Obama administration, the California Muslims terrorists killers, the Paris, France, Muslims killers and the murder and rape of little seven-old Gabbi Doolin of Scottsville, Ky., this has been a very trying Christmas season so far for all us in our college town.  Finally, now it seems that citizens of Bowling Green are getting into the Christmas spirit somewhat with everything that has been going on.  We are a busy, hardworking class of people.  We are college professors, administrators, intellectuals, students, nurses, doctors, lawyers, accountants, factory workers, office workers, restaurant workers, bricklayers, construction workers, pastors, laypeople, sales peoples, service people and everyone else in between in our college town.  We have more houses and apartments being built than ever these days.  Also, old restaurants and houses on the By-Pass are being torn down to make room for new construction among other areas in town for new commercial developments.
    No, Bowling Green is not that the same college town that it used to be even since I moved here in 1988.  It has grown and changed tremendously.  For instance, Western Kentucky University's football team the "Hilltoppers" have had winning seasons these last several years. They have played more televised games than ever and they played in the Bahamas Bowl last year and they are going to play in the Miami Beach Bowl in Miami on Monday. We are proud of the major efforts and strides that the Hilltoppers have made with their football program these last several years bringing national recognition to WKU and our college town.
    However, I think the bottom line for us this Christmas season of 2015 in our college town is to try to strike a balance between the heavy traffic and our spiritual dynamics.  (No, seriously). We have to ask ourselves, "Where do we fit in this season with the big picture of Christmas?"  As a Catholic conservative, I am challenged to make choices and decisions everyday about my faith and how I judge and treat other people even though I may not like them or they may not like me.  Maybe they were not born in America.  Maybe they are not Christian and they are Muslim or another religion. Or no religion at all. That's what I am talking about this Christmas season.  Maybe it's challenging your faith and your belief system this Christmas like it's challenging mine.
     As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day, right?  And that's why we do everything that we do this time of the year-the hustle and bustle, Christmas shopping (internet) or shopping at the Greenwood the mall, driving in traffic (ugh), gift buying, exchanging gifts at Christmas, parties, decorations, Christmas music and food, family and spirits. But deep down in our hearts, we have to ask ourselves, "How does Jesus want us to treat our fellow human being?" Is it based on whether they are gay, straight, American, non-American, Christian or non-Christian?"  I think that's the real challenge of Christmas this year in our college town. Remember, it doesn't hurt to be cautious and be aware of suspicious activity and people.  If that's the case, please let the Bowling Green Police Department know what's going on.  But I think we have to somehow allow the light shine through us and allow the Christmas spirit glow inside us as bright as ever this Christmas even though it's been awfully dark and gloomy in the world around us. Just maybe, we can make someone else's Christmas a little brighter with even a touch of kindness and a smile. That's all. (And that doesn't mean flipping someone the bird and honking at them when they cut you off in traffic. lol.). Anyway, Merry Christmas and peace be with you my friends!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Murder Of A Seven Year-Old Girl In Scottsville, Ky., And ISISTerrorists in Paris, France, Dominate The World-Wide News This Past Week

     Evil is lurking in the shadows of darkness even in the hills and valleys of a small town in Southcentral Kentucky.
     However, we never know when something incredible evil is going to strike and we as Americans these days are always hoping and praying that it does not happen to us.  Because after all, most of us are hardworking, taxpaying citizens of our cities, counties and states across the country.  I think most Americans feel like they are safe in this country to a certain degree.  Or least we hope so. But in the age of social media, most of us who are always connected to Facebook, Twitter and whatever else internet site is out there and we have developed a habit of venting.  We have become accustomed to expressing our opinions and views regarding of what's happening on a global, national or local level.  We are living in an age where a constant hit of dopamine to our brains has become an everyday occurrence on multi-levels while on our smart phones, iPads and desktop computers. We have become addicted to the "likes" of approval from our peers from these sites too. But sometimes we have Facebook friends who differ with us in our opinions which is okay, because after all there in a thing called, "Freedom of Speech" in America.  That's the way we like it and that's the way we want to keep it, right?
    But this past week was another one of those weeks, where the battle of opinions and the expression of views was a like an on-going 24 hour town hall debate that never stopped.  Millions of Facebook users including me had opinions and we expressed our views about ISIS in the world and the murders of the concert goers in Paris last Friday night. Also it was the war of words against the Syrian refugees between the liberals and the conservatives and the Obama administration for wanting to continue to allow Syrian refugees to keep coming in to America.  The voters of America got into action and started calling their congressmen's and senator's local offices to express their opinion against allowing these potential terrorists to come into our country.  A bill was passed in our government within a week and states across America banned them all together.
        Also, here in Southcentral Kentucky we were all exposed to the unthinkable, horrible news of the little girl who went missing at a little league football game at the high school in Scottsville, Ky., and her murdered body was found approximately 25 minutes later lying next to a creek in a wooded area next to the stadium. Fear struck the hearts and minds of  the small town residents with a population of 4,200 just southeast 25 miles of Bowling Green, Ky.  The murder of Gabbie Doolin has not only affected the residents of Southcentral Kentucky but the whole world it seems.  The kidnapping, rape, sodomy and murder of Gabbie according to Kentucky State Police (KSP) made world-wide news being portrayed on CNN, CBS, NBC, FOX and thousands of other news outlets which include local, state,  national and global media including People Magazine.http://www.people.com/article/timothy-madden-arrested-rape-kidnapping-murder-Gabbi-doolin
      Fortunately, thanks to the extremely difficult and hard work of the Kentucky State Police and local authorities, they were able to make an arrest of the suspect.  His name is Timothy Madden, 38 years-old, father of five and an unemployed construction worker who also went to high school with Gabbi's father. According to sources, Madden was at the football game last Saturday night and even sat close to the family in the stands. Madden maintains that he is innocent but KSP say that they have DNA evidence that connects him to the crime scene and Gabbi's little body.  If Madden is guilty of this unspeakable murder, we certainly hope that justice will be served to the extreme.  However, some people seem to still wonder if they have the right man.  I suppose that will be up to a jury to determine.
     As a Americans, we must be vigilant.  Nowadays we live in a different world.  It's not like used to be in the 60's, 70's and even the 80's somewhat. We have to watch our backs and protects ourselves against any potential terrorists by vetting the refugees coming to our country. And we most definitely must watch our children always and protect them against child predators and sexual monsters.  We must always keep tabs on them and who they are with.  Keep the evil of darkness on your doorstep outside.  Protect yourself, your homes and families with a spirit of God, love, light and even a legal and registered gun if you have one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Looking Back: Sleeper Agent, The Former Indie-Rock Band From Bowling Green, Ky., Part 1

The Former Sleeper Agent Band From Bowling Green, Ky.

Sleeper Agent is a former alternative/indie rock band who was based out of Bowling Green, Ky., and they were originally signed with Mom + Pop Music of New York City, NY., but later signed with RCA Records. Members included Alex Kandel, lead vocals, Tony Smith, songwriter, guitar and vocals, Scott Gardner, keyboards, Lee Williams, bass, Josh Martin, lead guitar and Justin Wilson, drums. Their debut album, "Celabrasion," came out Sept. 27, 2011 and they toured with another Bowling Green national touring indie rock band, "Cage The Elephant," all over the United States in 2011. Sleeper Agent started 2012 off with a bang in Chicago with a New Years Eve concert with Cage The Elephant, Company of Thieves and Morning Teleportation at the Argon Ballroom. Also, in January of 2012, Sleeper Agent went on the Weezer Cruise from Miami to Mexico and back. They were the supporting act with Ben Kweller for several months during 2012. On their second album, Sleeper Agent's RCA Records, "About Last Night" was released March 25, 2014. The first single, "Waves" came off the new album in December of 2013. Sleeper Agent made national television appearances on the Jimmy Fallon Show during the first album tours and The David Letterman Show on their second album tours and had their first headlining tour during their second album in the Winter and Spring of 2014. They also toured on the second leg of the Summer 2014 Warped Tour. Sleeper Agent played shows with other well known bands across the country, Manchester Orchestra, Young The Giant, Grouplove, Awalnation, Weezer and New Politics just to name a few. After, lead vocalist, Alex Kandell appeared on NBC's The Voice in the Fall of 2015, Tony Smith released a brief statement on his Twitter account that Sleeper Agent had broken up and they were was no longer a band.

FROM THE 'HISTORY' OF SLEEPER AGENT'S WIKIPEDIA PAGE:
Tony Smith and Alex Kandell

"After a few "unremarkable gigs" as a musical duo, guitarist Tony Smith and drummer Justin Wilson recruited the young Alex Kandel as a vocalist after discovering her working as a barista and, "doing Adele covers on open mic nights." The band gained their current lineup after recruiting Williams, Gardner, and Martin. A short time later they were discovered by producer Jay Joyce, who prompted them to record their debut LP Celabrasion,[1] which was released through iTunes on August 2, 2011, followed by a physical release on September 27 the same year. The first single from the album, "Get It Daddy", was featured as iTunes' "Free Single of the Week" in late July/early August of that year. Sleeper Agent went on to tour with Cage the Elephant in late 2011. They were invited to play The Weezer Cruise in January 2012 pairing them with musical acts such as Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and Wavves.Sleeper Agent went on to support Fun. from February 29 through March 11 of 2012. Their tour continued through early May with the Texas wunderkind Ben Kweller. The band was featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on March 23, 2012. Sleeper Agent played the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 15 and 22, 2012. They also played The Hangout Music Festival in late May of the same year. After a few intermittent shows throughout June and July the band played Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY and then opened for Weezer at two shows in late July. Sleeper Agent also played Starry Nights Music Festival (hosted by Cage the Elephant) outside of Bowling Green, KY in late September 2012. That same month, singer Alex Kandel was nominated for the Women who Rock competition for a spot on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.
The band appeared on Doug Benson's podcast "Doug Loves Movies", with guest Graham Elwood.
Their second album "About Last Night" was released on March 25, 2014.
After the band toured their way through 2014 even playing on The Late Show With David Letterman on July 9, 2014 and had set up tour dates in early 2014 with the band New Politics. The band had become inactive on social media and Sleeper Agent had not played any shows for the majority of 2015 with the only news to come out from the members was news of side projects and Alex Kandel being a possible contestant for the show The Voice, although she had once tweeted about the band possibly having new material back in May 2015.
On September 29, 2015 Tony Smith had posted a picture of the band on Sleeper Agents Facebook and Twitter reading "2010-2015". Tony had posted with the picture "The 5 best years of my life... so far." - Lurve, @tnysmth". He had also stated in another post on twitter "Cat's officially out of the bag. Sleeper Agent aren't together anymore. There's no bad blood and we're all still friends.‪#‎neversaynever‬" officially stating that the band had broken up. Finally Alex stated as well that the band "hit this plateau and we decided to part ways and try other things." She talked about the band in the past tense and said her time in Sleeper Agent is over.
As of September 29, 2015, Alex had appeared on NBC's The Voice as a contestant choosing to work with Gwen Stefani."

To become a member of Sleeper Agent's Facebook Fan Page click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/192104947473887/
Alex and Tony



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Margaritaville Beach Hotel, Pensacola Beach, Fla.: The Hotel With A "Million Dollar View"

Early Morning Sunrise at the Beach
   
It was one of the first things that caught my eye when I walked into the  beautiful and spacious lobby of the Margaritaville Hotel at Pensacola Beach, Fla., earlier this month when Patty and I made our annual short vacation trip down to the Gulf of Mexico from Kentucky. This hotel which is only five years-old, in my opinion, has a "Million Dollar View" of the Emerald Coast with its very white sandy beaches just below your feet as you stand at the glass panel windows looking out into vast blue, green waters of the ocean. You can see for miles and miles. This type of view of the ocean always stirs an awesome feeling inside me-a feeling of relaxation and inspiration.  I noticed that the hotel also had a very nice gift shop in the lobby with lots of Jimmy Buffett merchandise and Jimmy Buffett and reggae music was constantly playing in the background in the lobby at a very decent low level volume. The staff at the front desk were really nice and helpful. They gave us good directions on how to get to our room and where to park. And when we checked into our room in which we did on the very top floor, the seventh floor, we experienced a even more incredible breathtaking view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Patty standing in front of the hotel beachside
I loved the balcony with its two chairs and little table. It's a non-smoking hotel, so you don't have smell any cigarette smoke blowing up towards you from guests down below. I am an early riser so I really enjoyed getting up before dawn and watch the sunrise while drinking a cup of coffee from the Keurig Coffee Maker in the bathroom and sitting in the waffle cloth spa robe that the hotel provides for you during your stay. Patty always loves to sleep in especially in the wonderful king size bed that was in the room with its fantastically soft, white linens and duvets. The towels and wash clothes were super soft too and smelled very fresh! The first night we walked around the hotel and out to the pool and out on a long boardwalk from the hotel to the beach. The sun was setting and we took some awesome pics. Very romantic! We had dinner in the hotel's full service restaurant in the lobby called, "Frank & Lolas Pensacola Cafe" and it was really good. Not too
The front of the hotel bayside
Our room with the million dollar view
overpriced with a friendly and attentive staff. I had their delicious blackened grouper Fish Sandwich and fries and Patty had the House Sirloin steak dinner. I also tried some of their local brewed beer and I went with the Fairhope beer brewed just down the road in Mobile, Ala., which is a classic American pale ale, brewed with a combination of American-made Falconer's Flight hops and German hops. The next morning I woke up early and did my early sunrise thing and snapped a few pics. We spent about a half of a day at the hotel's awesome pool and Tiki bar and then went to the beach of course. Patty thought the weather was a little too cool but I thought it was perfect. Of course, I was in and out of the water several times also. I loved the fact, the hotel gives you two free Landshark beers coupons when you check in and I used those at the Tiki bar. Earlier in the day, we had walked the boardwalk area of the beach hitting a few gift shops and had lunch at Sidelines, our all-time favorite sports-bar and grill. Later on that evening, we drove over to Flounders Chowder House for some of our annual favorite seafood with a couple of Pina Coladas. We even purchased the really cool glasses that they came in and brought them home with us.
The awesome pool
Patty and I at breakfast
The next day we had a late lunch at Peg Leg Pete's another one of our favorite seafood restaurants on the beach. Apparently we ate so much seafood we totally skipped dinner. We also drove down to Casino Beach pier and paid a $1.25 each to see dolphins, sharks, jelly fish and fishermen fishing-everything you'd see while walking out on the pier.  I've always enjoyed the pier because you never know what you're going to see. Earlier that day, we had gone downstairs to the lobby and had breakfast at Frank and Lola's. We sat outside on the deck and the food and coffee was out of this world. We had a super nice and friendly server by the name of Belinda. She did a great job! She said she has been working there pretty much ever since the hotel opened. Patty later asked at the front desk if they had laundry service because she had dropped some food on her sweater and they said they did but it had already gone out. However, Constance, the Executive Housekeeper, happened to be there and she said would be glad to help out with a friendly smile.  She personally laundered Patty's sweater and brought it back to the room and hung it up in the closet and would not even take a tip that we tried to give her! Now that's first-class, elegant personal service. We really appreciated this type of service when employees at a hotel or restaurant go above the call of duty while on vacation and it shows that this hotel really cares about their guests experience and stay.
Our stay at Margaritaville Beach Hotel, Pensacola Beach, was way beyond our imaginations of how nice of an experience that we would have even though we had read all of the reviews and watched the videos on YouTube about the hotel before we left Kentucky. If you want a hotel with a "Million Dollar View" and you enjoy beautiful sunrises like I do, make sure you get a king gulf view room facing the Gulf of Mexico. You won't regret it. You'll probably find awe and inspiration like I did and your stay at Margaritaville Hotel might even help you forget life's problems for a moment like it did for me in this hectic, face paced world that we live in. http://www.margaritavillehotel.com/

Monday, August 31, 2015

"You Are Not Your Job. Your Job Is Just How You Get Your Money"-Dr. Wayne Dyer. R.I.P. Dr. Dyer, 1940-2015

"Sad to hear about self-help guru, Dr. Wayne Dyer's passing on Saturday. By listening to his self-help tapes in a pick-up truck while driving down the roads and highways in the mid-90's, he helped me get passed my ego issues of working in the service industry. Being a former newsroom employee and Ole Miss alumni, I thought I was too good to be working in the pest management industry at the time. He made me realize that we are not our jobs. It's just what we do to get our money and that the real person is on the inside. That's really who we are. He also helped me to understand the concept of metaphysics. In the late 90's, I wrote him a personal letter and explained to him about how he had helped me to be very successful in my pest management career. He then sent me a free autographed book and tape set in return. Dr. Dyer was a super nice man and extremely intelligent! R.I.P. Dr. Dyer. You will be greatly missed by your millions of fans."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Remembering Those 70's Hit Songs As If It Was Yesterday

Time and space may change things, but on the inside (your conscienceness and awareness) you're always the same.
      That's why I think God gave us a memory so that we can reflect on those past seasons of our lives in retrospect in order to remember the good times. And I think one way that we can achieve activating those good memories is through listening those happy songs from the 70's especially for us "Baby-Boomers."  Listening to those happy songs from the 70's always brings back good memories for me.  Especially those songs of my youthful days of those endless summers when school used to start after Labor Day growing up in East Memphis, Tenn., and North Mississippi.  Nowadays with the event of the internet age, it's easy to go back in time. We are able to tap into those songs by jogging our memory with such internet tools such as YouTube, Spotify or Pandora.  I recently created a new Facebook page geared to our generation (Baby-Boomers) called, "Those 70's Hit Songs That You Can't Resist." https://www.facebook.com/pages/Those-70s-Hit-Songs-That-You-Cant-Resist/1518065575150089
    So if you want to take a walk down memory lane, just go on the internet and do a little research on one of favorite songs or videos and look for your top 70's favorite hit and post it on my new Facebook page.  Thanks and enjoy!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

There's Always Room For Improvement And I'm Still Trying To Perfect It

"I am not offended by gay people, gay couples, gay marriages, the gay pride flag, people of other races and other nations nor the Rebel flag, Southern heritage, the American flag, American heritage, traditional couples and traditional marriages. I am also not offended by religious people, religious couples, religious families and homes, churches and other places of worship. I treat others as they treat me. I don't always turn the other cheek and I have been known to stand my ground and take people to task. But on the other hand, I can be kind to people and accept them for who they are. In most cases, I do. But I do have a problem with dangerous, drug addicted criminals, mental and disturbed violent people who want to hurt or kill other people just for the hell of it or steal from them for their  addiction problems. Or people who abuse children. And I have a problem with people who want to kill Christian Americans because they have an extreme religious belief system. However, I view myself as a child of God and a Catholic who is a sinner just as much as my fellow man. There's always room for improvement and I'm still trying to perfect
it."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

White Squirrel Brewery in Bowling Green, Ky., Is The Da' Bomb!

     I've been meaning to get over to Broadway Avenue across the street from the Firestone Tire store in Bowling Green and try the new White Squirrel Brewery http://www.whitesquirrelbrewery.com/ every since it opened almost three weeks ago.  Apparently, word of mouth has spread like wildfire and this place is hot! Finally, Patty (my wife) and I got a chance make it over there last night for dinner.  After all its target audience marketing and hype build-up on the social media sites and in our local newspapers and the publicity on our local television station beforehand, it's true-this place is Da' Bomb!
The White Squirrel Logo
The Very Cool Bar Area
     When Patty and I walked in around 5 p.m., fortunately there was no waiting in line for a table.  We immediately saw Sean Stevens, one of the owners and "Hop Hustler" and Joe Imel, Director of Media Operations of the Bowling Green Daily News and who has his own Twitter account called "@Joeimel" with over 26,000 followers where he reports what he hears on the police scanner.  Sean is a super friendly guy with a very charismatic personality. I went over said, "Hello" to Sean and Joe and shook their hands.  Then the hostess showed us our table right up front in the room next to the bar.  Patty sat on a long, high back wood bench with a pillow behind her. And I sat at a chair on the other side of the table.  Our server's name was Josh, a very nice and cool guy. Josh brought us two separate food and craft beer/wine menus.  He asked what we would like to have to drink and I ordered one of their own micro-brewed beers called the "White Squirrel Pale Ale - Nuts, We're Out!" which was a "IPA/APA hybrid that owns a good balance of malt and hops, fruity esters, hop bitterness is moderate with a floral nose. ABV: 6.1%."  Patty ordered a white wine of "Woodwork Chardonnay."  As we were waiting for our drinks, I noticed that the atmosphere was very warm and cozy with light lighting and music in the background with light blue wood panels on the walls with black ceilings and some cool concrete floors.  Also, there's a very nicely decorated and private patio area with metal tables and chairs and another dining in a lower area with big windows where you can look out onto the patio. The energetic vibe is very trendy and the bar has a lot of fancy wood and metal work with very nice, cool lighting above. Also, you can see the White Squirrel emblem or logo in several places throughout the brewery restaurant. Besides their own micro brews, there's several other beers on taps such Southern Tier, Tin Man-Overlord, Blue Point-Blueberry Ale and Carson's Red Dawn - Amber Wheat.  Of course, there's an assortment of bottled and can beer also.  One of my favorite things about the bar is the stuffed white squirrel in a cage hanging in the corner.  You can turn a knob at the bar that's attached to an antique truck horn via the ropes and pulleys on the ceiling causes the cage door to open and close while making a a cool, squeaking noise.
A Very Nice Patio Area
A Stuffed White Squirrel In A Cage
     But wow, the food!  You should see the menu.  They offer "Kick Starters" or appetizers such as Nut Brown Beer Cheese, Crispy Kale Chips, Pork Belly, Smoked Wings and Edamame among other offerings.  However, Patty and I just settled for the main course.  I had a Beef & Brat Burger with house sauerkraut, Dijon mayo, Swiss cheese served on an English muffin with Crispy Kale Chips and some awesome Kale Chip sauce.  Patty had the Fried Chicken Tender Salad with mixed greens, apples, bacon, onion, toasted pecans and honey Dijon dressing.  You can request grilled chicken and that's what she did.  Another interesting burger that I thought about trying was the "Beer Belly," which is pork belly, pickled green tomatoes, leaf lettuce, smoked paprika mayo and sourdough. Besides burgers and salads they also offer pizza and a section called, "Harvest." In the Harvest section you find items like Duck Fried Poutine which is duck fat fries, bacon mozzarella cheese, shredded duck confit and apple gravy or the Southern favorite that's especially popular in Nashville where it was created called "Hot Chicken" which is cayenne rubbed chicken, toasted sourdough and house-made sour pickles.  As far as desserts goes, Josh had offered us something that was very sweet and tempting but we declined because we were stuffed already.  They offer a Fudge Brownie salted with caramel and apple-wood smoked bacon or a Stout Beer Float with a seasonal stout and vanilla bean ice cream.  And oh, by the way, underneath it states of the menu, you must be at least 21.  Not one for the the kiddos, parents. lol.
Hops Waiting To Be Brewed
    If you ever are in Bowling Green, the White Squirrell Brewery is a must stop and eat and drink destination for their awesome brews, food and atmosphere.  Make sure you get there early because by the time Patty and I left around 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night this place was hopping with guests waiting outside. Bowling Green was ready for a micro-brewery/restaurant and now the White Squirrel has arrived!
White Squirrel Brewery, 871 Broadway, Bowling Green, Ky., 42101
Open – Tuesday-Saturday – 4 pm-?
Indoor Seating/Bar Seating
Patio Seating – Weather Permitting
Three Local Taps – Kolsch, Brown Ale, and Pale Ale

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wha Bah's Steakhouse In Bowling Green, Ky., Closed For Remodeling After Being Featured On "Restaurant Impossible"


I hate to admit this but I only dined at Wha Bah's Steakhouse in Bowling Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRUiCHX3DEE only once in the nine years that it was opened.  Now, sadly I probably won't get a chance anytime soon since it is closed for remodeling according to a banner hanging over the front door and several pieces of paper stating the same thing on the windows.  I've known about Wha Bah's for a long time ever since it's been open and the restaurant was recently featured on the Food Network's "Restaurant Impossible" starring Robert Irvine.
    According to Irvine, Wah Bah's with over 4,000 square feet was the biggest restaurant he'd ever tried to help revive and one of the most expensive too, sinking in over $10,000 in just two days.  I was finally able to watch the episode on Youtube the other day.  I know the show is somewhat scripted but it looks like Irvine did go in there and kick some ass embarrassing and shaming the owner, Donnie Perrquette and his staff in order to try to help them.  I remember the Restaurant Impossible press conference that was shown on the local news and on the social media sites.  Perrquette looked like he had been beaten up by Irvine-in a "non-physical" way of course. Irvine had found a lot of grease and dirt and found that there was a lack of respect of management from the staff with Perrquette taking all the blame just to name a couple of things.  The show also told how the restaurant had a biker theme originally and made over a million dollars the first year it was open. Then eventually they got to featuring local music and bands with a full-blown stage in the dining area.  But as the story unfolded, Irvine talks about Perrquette being depressed and was heavily in debt.  Perrquette even had to mortgaged his own home to try to help save his restaurant. I probably would eaten there again to give them new menu and decor a chance since it so close to my house but when you are married you always have to consider your spouse's desires on where to eat too. Her's are always on the other side town towards the interstate it seems.
    Not long after the restaurant was remodeled by Irvine and featured on the show, I saw an ad in our local newspaper, the Bowling Green Daily News, that the restaurant was for sale.  So at this point, I don't know if the restaurant has been sold to a new owner or what.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  And I certainly hope Perrquette is able to pull things together and get through this.  He seems like a very intelligent, strong willed man with many talents and skills.  I am pulling for him and I'm hoping he'll get through this or maybe he already has. I don't know.  But there are people in the community like me who do like see people pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get through tough times. Again, I think he can do it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tennis Courts in Oxford, Miss., Named After Late Ole Miss Writer-In-Residence and Writing Teacher, Barry Hannah

     I was reminded recently of the late writer-in-residence and writing teacher, Barry Hannah at Ole Miss where I attended college for five years in the early 80's by an article that was written by Oxford, Miss., writer, Jim Dees, called "Was There A Golden Age" in Oxford?"http://oxfordcitizen.com/2015/04/10/was-there-a-golden-age-in-oxford/. Also, because of the fact that the City of Oxford had named some tennis courts in a local park after him that made national news earlier this month. http://oxfordcitizen.com/2015/04/13/avent-tennis-courts-named-for-barry-hannah/
Photo Taken By Galen A. Smith Sr.
Ole Miss, 1986

      I remember learning about Mr. Hannah being at Ole Miss when I saw some of his posters for some books he had written posted around campus.  To me, it seemed he just appeared out of nowhere.  Little did I know that Mr. Hannah had accepted a position with the university teaching writing courses in the English department on campus and also became our writer-in-residence.  Also, he already had several books published, won awards and had taught at other universities. Eventually, I think most students and Oxford citizens realize that we now had another pretty well-known and respected writer in the vicinity besides our other well known writer-in-residence, another Mississippi writer, Willie Morris. Barry and Willie were basically two different types of writers. Mr. Hannah, fiction, and Willie, non-fiction. Although, I am sure that they hung out at night together some with the same people in the same circle of friends at the former Hoka, the famous little bohemian coffee shop and theater in the small university town.  And I'm sure some of his quick new friends when he arrived in town were probably of course, Willie, and Ron Shapiro, who owned the Hoka, and Jim Dees who worked there.
"Week Of Initiation," One of the Short-Stories
that I wrote for Mr. Hannah's course.  I was
proud of the comments he gave me on it.
      Eventually, I took Mr. Hannah's fiction writing course and got an "A" in it.  I think one of the things he liked about me as a writer is that I took chances by writing such short stories like an expose piece about a fraternity initiation that was loosely based on truth.  It was foul-mouth and dirty.  But he liked it.  In the Summer of 1986, I was the Entertainment Editor of  Ole Miss' student newspaper, "The Daily Mississippian."  Mr. Hannah allowed me to come to his home and interview him for the student newspaper.
 
Written By Galen A. Smith Sr.
Published June 19, 1986
"The Daily Mississippian"
    While I was in Mr. Hannah's class, I met another young writer and Ole Miss student by the name of  Katie Powell from Bowling Green, Ky., who would eventually become his daughter-in-law.  Mr. Hannah's son, Barry Jr., was also a student at Ole Miss at the time and I had several classes with him.  I would also see Katie at the Hoka where she worked some serving cheesecake and coffee.  Eventually, I had moved to Bowling Green after I married a Kentucky lady down in Oxford who was also from the Bowling Green area and we eventually settled there in 1988 after we had married in 1986.  That same year in 1988, I saw Katie again at a local Italian restaurant in downtown Bowling Green where she was serving and invited me to her wedding to Barry Jr.  The wedding was at the historical St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bowling Green with a reception at the Bowling Green Country Club.  At the reception, I saw Mr. Hannah again and I think he was really surprised to see me and probably wondering how in the hell I got there!  I don't think he understood the connection at the time.
     Eventually as time went by, I lost touch with Ole Miss and Oxford and the local writer's scene with the Hoka and the famous, little, independent book store, "Square Books" where they had a lot of book signings and readings for authors from all over the country and world.  By the time 1994 had arrived, it seemed Oxford was in the national spotlight all the time because of legal thriller writer and Oxford resident John Grisham's major success.  So I decided to attend the "Second Annual Oxford Conference For The Book" in 1994 that was taken place on campus at Fulton Chapel with a reception following in the library.  Superstar horror writer, Stephen King was there along with John Grisham and Mr. Hannah was moderating.  Before the session began, I saw Mr. Hannah sitting down on a wall on the side of the building smoking a cigarette and I decided to walk around and talk to him.  Obviously, Mr. Hannah was trying to enjoy his cigarette and I started to ask questions about getting published and he got really irritated with me so I decided to back off and leave.  However, I did get to shake Mr. King's hand after the session was over with.  However,  Mr. Grisham was standoffish and apparently didn't want to be bothered either with the public.  Apparently, fame and being the center of attention was closing in on him.
    Regardless, I held no grudge against Mr. Hannah.  I am the one who invaded his space and privacy that day.  However, I am extremely happy for Mr. Hannah and his family and grandchildren for being remembered and honored by the City of Oxford and by naming the tennis courts after him since he loved the game of tennis as well as writing and teaching. Mainly, he was an excellent teacher of fiction writing in my opinion and I really enjoyed taking his class.  His class was one of the best in my five years at Ole Miss!


     

Sunday, March 29, 2015

If You've Never Had It, You've Got To Try It: Cincinnati's World Famous "Skyline Chili"

      I had forgotten about Cincinnati's world famous chili brand until I was driving to Columbus, Ohio, from Bowling Green for a business meeting a couple of weeks ago. I saw a billboard sign for a "Skyline Chili."http://www.skylinechili.com/ restaurant.
      I've never known much about this famous brand of chili until I heard about it for the first time from some guys that I went to an insurance sales school with for a week in Lexington, Ky., in the Summer of 1989. There was a Skyline Chili restaurant in the eatery mall next to Rupp Arena (where the University of Kentucky plays their home basketball games) and the hotel where I was staying in downtown at the time. Apparently, it was all the rage back then and still is in parts of Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio. But I don't remember if I ever had tried any or not. That was almost 30 years ago, you know.
But I did stop in Cincinnati near King's Island on my way back home from Columbus. I just popped into the Skyline Chili restaurant and ordered their smallest bowl to go they had for about five dollars and ate it in the car in the parking lot. Believe it or not, I did not spill any on me! They also gave me some hot sauce packets and crackers to go with it. Yes, it was extremely hot (heat wise and somewhat spicy) and very delicious to say the least. I checked our local Kroger grocery store in Bowling Green and they sell it for $4.59 a can. I think it's a little steep in price but I guess if you're dying for some of Cincinnati world famous chili, you'll pay the price. But I didn't see that Kroger carries the other world famous Cincinnati brand, "Gold Star" either. Here's a little about the history of Skyline Chili from their web-site. Enjoy!:

"The Story of Skyline Chili

      From a small kitchen in the village of Kastoria, Greece, a fascinated young Nicholas Lambrinides watched as his mother and grandmother prepared authentic Greek dishes. Their recipes had been passed down from generation to generation. These were unique, wonderful dishes that had the power to bring his whole family together.
     Nicholas dreamed that one day he would bring these recipes and traditions to America, where he could share them with friends and family. In 1949, his dream came true when Nicholas opened his first restaurant overlooking the skyline of Cincinnati, Ohio and began serving his delicious secret recipes to appreciative customers.
     Since then, Skyline Chili’s Coneys, Ways and table-side service have been enjoyed by generations. Our Chili continues to be made from Nicholas’s original recipe, using a secret blend of spices and only the highest quality ingredients. Skyline is dedicated to bringing friends and families together for an experience like no other and we will always be devoted to the American dream of that young man from a small village in Greece."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chancellor Dr. Dan Jones Is The Best Man For The Job At Ole Miss

"I have been thinking about the firing of Chancellor Dan Jones at Ole Miss recently. Yes, none of us probably like the new Black Bear mascot that replaced Colonel Reb or whatever Dr. Jones else has done to remove symbols of the old South or the ugly past of stale old racism at the university. However, for those who spent four or five years of our young lives at the university that helped mold us on who we are today to live in this modern high-tech and volatile world, I think deep down inside, we want what's best for Ole Miss and we want to see her keep moving forward to continue to be a world-class institution of higher learning no matter what a person's skin color, religion or sexual orientation is. So with that being said, it appears to me that Dr. Jones is the best man for the job from his past performance."-Galen A Smith Sr

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Who Can Save The Hitcents Park Plaza In Downtown Bowling Green, Ky?

      Now what?
It's always something when you're dealing with big government money and spending especially when it comes to a "TIF" a (Tax Increment Financing) district I understand. So guess what?  We have one in our own backyard so to speak, in the beautiful Bowling Green downtown area which looks like it might be heading into some rough waters.  The latest red flag is the big front page story in today's Bowling Green Daily News which I posted below.
     Believe or not, I thought the Hitcents Park Plaza and the Bowling Green downtown TIF might eventually turn into a a financial fiasco. Sounds like the Mills brothers or family just needs to pay up for their bad business decisions and losses for their venture into the tough, BG restaurant market that didn't quite pan out like they thought it would originally.
      I wrote about the new "Mariah's Restaurant"  http://acriticfromthesouth.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-new-mariahs-restaurant-in-downtown.html on my (I posted a paragraph from the blog below) and the Hitcents Park Plaza in my blog this past year, in May of 2014.  So really, it has not even been a year yet since the plaza opened and they have run into major financial problems already. Apparently, there wasn't enough business or poor business and management decisions? You think?

"But then of course, the devil's advocate side of me has had this curious thought lingering in the back of my mind. I'm sure as taxpayers of Bowling Green and Warren County, we will all help pay for the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) which includes the building of two new parking structures (Downtown and Western Kentucky University) and several buildings and projects in one form or fashion that I have seen being built in the downtown area lately. Too many for me to recall right now. According to my mortgage company, I know that my city taxes are going up a little next year . I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. But the county taxes, may not have not have anything to do with the TIF and the downtown redevelopment. I don't know for sure or how all of this is working out is all I am saying. But on the other hand, I do know that there are people here who are investing tons of their own money also into these private ventures which is a good thing for Downtown Bowling Green and our local economy."-Galen A. Smith Sr.


Nearly $2 million owed on Hitcents Park Plaza
City investigating how money for Hitcents Park Plaza has been spent




Miranda Pederson/Daily News


Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2015 5:00 am

By KATIE BRANDENBURGkbrandenburg@bgdailynews.com |0 comments


Financial problems plague a development in the downtown Bowling Green Tax Increment Financing district even as city officials negotiate with another organization to potentially take over management of that development.

Mills Family Realty Inc. owes the contractor and subcontractors that built Hitcents Park Plaza nearly $2 million for work done on the project, according to a letter obtained by the Daily News. Hitcents Park Plaza is a commercial wrap on the parking garage in Block 6 of the TIF district and includes restaurants and office space.

Bowling Green city government is investigating how money to finance the project has been spent.

A letter dated Feb. 11 from attorney Michael Shull III of Frost Brown Todd LLC, representing Alliance Corp., said $1,974,463.05, as well as accruing interest, is past due to Alliance for work done on the project.

“As you know, Mills Realty is severely behind in payments to Alliance for its work on the project,” the letter said. “This has, in turn, caused the inability for Alliance to forward said payment to the subcontractors who also performed work on the project.”

Mills Family Realty has yet to “adequately explain” how money for the construction of the wrap has been spent, according to the letter.

Clinton Mills of Mills Family Realty said in a text message Saturday that Mills Family Realty is “engaged in discussions to explore options to provide for the payment of any amount owed to Alliance Corporation.”

He said in the text message that the company declines to comment further on the matter at this time.

Alliance attended a meeting Nov. 24 with some of the larger subcontractors on the project, representatives of the city of Bowling Green and Warren County, the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority and others, according to the letter.

“Subsequent to that meeting, we have heard nothing from Mills Realty as to why payment has not been forthcoming, or where funds which should have been used to make payment to Alliance were spent or directed,” the letter said.

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said bonds should have been sufficient to cover construction costs of the wrap.

The project is financed through a temporary bond anticipation note, which covers the entire amount of bonds prior to those bonds being sold, he said.

Attorney James Parsons of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP has been investigating how bond proceeds have been used, Wilkerson said. He was initially hired by the city in January to handle negotiations between the city and Bowling Green Hot Rods owner Jerry Katzoff about taking over management of the parking garage wrap.

“We have certain questions about the spending practices with regard to the wrap,” Wilkerson said.

He said he doesn’t believe the city would be liable for unpaid money for construction of the wrap, but that is also part of what Parsons has been retained to determine. The city is serving as a backstop to cover bond payments if they aren’t covered by other revenues, including TIF revenues from some blocks of the TIF district.

Contractors and subcontractors are seeking a resolution to the situation, and Wilkerson said he has been involved in those negotiations, though he isn’t aware of any direct contact between city officials and the Mills family. That contact would occur through the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority.

“I will say negotiations have intensified of late, and I’m optimistic that we’ll have a positive resolution,” he said.

Doug Gorman, chairman of the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority, said the authority has been working with all involved parties to come to a resolution.

Those negotiations have been ongoing for four or five months, he said.

“Most importantly we are working with the city and the county in assisting with negotiations with Mr. Katzoff,” Gorman said.

He said he expects that Katzoff could be a “giant” part of a resolution with his extensive restaurant and commercial development experience.

The Bowling Green City Commission in 2012 approved a number of agreements to finance the garage wrap.

The city leased the parking garage, with payments for the garage set to be equal to bond payments for the wrap.

Agreements at the time also set aside money to help cover the cost of the parking garage lease, including lease revenues from the wrap, TIF revenues generated by one of the tenants of the wrap and TIF revenues generated in blocks 4A, 5, 8 and 10. Any revenue beyond the lease payment would go to the city and could be used to pay off other bonds.

The city is responsible for covering whatever portion of the bond payment isn’t covered by specified revenues. The subdeveloper has to pay the city back for any payments it makes, but only if the company wants to buy the wrap after bonds are repaid.

In 2013, the City Commission approved issuing $5 million more in bonds for a project in which $22 million had previously been approved so that Mills Family Realty could further develop the wrap.

Five restaurants – Tres Molinos, Brick & Basil Pizzeria, 6-4-3 Sports Bar, Pagoda Asian Cafe and Mariah’s – opened at Hitcents Park Plaza in the spring of 2014. MR Group, which is owned by Clinton, Chris and Ed Mills, bought Mariah’s restaurant in February. Rick Kelley, former owner of the restaurant, was hired as a consultant to help with the new development.

The Mariah’s property had been part of ongoing litigation dating back to 2011, when Citizens First Bank went to court to attempt to collect repayment of loans extended to Bowman-Kelley Total Office Systems.

To secure the loans, Kelley put up Mariah Moore House and another downtown property, the Pushin Building, as collateral. Citizens First took legal action after Kelley defaulted on the loans.

Tres Molinos, Pagoda and Brick & Basil closed suddenly Sept. 27.

Clinton Mills, co-founder of Hitcents and president of MR Group, said at the time that the three restaurants didn’t fit in with the “downtown destination” atmosphere Mills and Hitcents co-founders Ed and Chris Mills want to create.

The letter from Shull serves as a pre-lien notice. It states that if the outstanding amount is not paid within five days of the date of the letter, Alliance will begin to exercise its lien rights on “any right, interests, or assets of Mills Realty or any other available or attachable asset, interest, or right of any entity on the project.”

“Alliance reserves any and all rights and causes of action in relation to any misuse or mishandling of fund due Alliance by Mills Realty,” the letter said.

However, it said Alliance will participate in mediation proceedings to find a settlement arrangement as a “gesture of good faith and cooperation with the city and county leaders who are working pro-actively with Alliance.”

Shull on Friday afternoon said no liens have been filed against Mills Family Realty.

“We want to work with the parties involved here to find a solution for this outside of any liens or litigation, if possible,” he said.

However, Alliance filed a notice and statement of materials and labor to be supplied with the Warren County clerk on Dec. 23.

The document said Alliance originally executed a construction contract with Mills Family Realty on Aug. 8, 2012, with a guaranteed maximum price of $19,325,000. That amount was modified.

Alliance anticipates it will supply in excess of $21.6 million to the project, according to the document. It notes that the amount is subject to amendment.

“This statement does not constitute a claim of lien, but rather a notice to any prospective purchasers of any interest concerning the project of Alliance’s work on the project and its reservation of all rights, including its rights under KRS 376.010 et seq.”

That portion of the Kentucky Revised Statutes deals with mechanics’ and materialman’s liens.

Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken said placing a lien on the Hitcents Park Plaza structure might be complicated because it was created through a partnership between government and private entities.

“This is a very difficult situation because it is a public-private partnership, and so I don’t know that the statutes adequately cover how liens can be placed on that type of building,” she said.

Milliken said the companies owed money need to be paid, and she is hopeful that ongoing negotiations will yield a positive result.

“It’s very important that that area succeed, just because it’s really transformed downtown in my opinion,” she said.

Warren Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said county officials have also been involved in negotiations, but that the county ultimately doesn’t have any fiscal responsibility for the project.

He said county officials want the Hitcents Park Plaza development to succeed. At the same time, contractors have put a lot of work and product into the building.

“Obviously we’re concerned because it is in the heart of the TIF district,” Buchanon said.

— Follow government beat writer Katie Brandenburg on Twitter at twitter.com/BGDNgovtbeat

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bowling Green's Cage The Elephant Continues To Bring World-Wide Attention To Southcentral Kentucky With Their Recent Grammy Nomination

"It's awesome to see that some of our local musicians such as Cage The Elephant have made an impact in the world of the music industry with their recent Grammy nomination, three albums and constant world-wide touring through the years. Not only have they and will continue to inspire other young musicians in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky, they have also helped propel other BG bands get their start in their professional music careers in the industry such as SLEEPER/AGENT. Not to mention all the media attention that they have brought to our community and they have also help to produced our outdoor music music festival, "Starry Nights Music Festival." May we continue to sing Cage The Elephant's praises!"-Galen A. Smith Sr.


'BETTER AND BETTER'Grammy-nominated Cage the Elephant could inspire others

By Laura Wilson, lwilson@bgdailynews.com

Bowling Green band Cage the Elephant didn’t win a Grammy on Sunday, but being nominated for the prestigious award brings the band recognition and could inspire other young musicians.

The band was nominated for best alternative album at the 57th annual Grammy Awards for its 2013 release “Melophobia.”

Though Cage the Elephant lost to St. Vincent at the awards ceremony, it was exciting to see the band nominated, local musician Tony Lindsey said.

“I think it’s just fantastic for a local band to be nominated for a Grammy,” he said. “ ... They’re very deserving. They’ve been in the trenches a long time.”

“Melophobia” shows the band’s at the forefront of alternative music, Lindsey said.

“It’s my favorite release that they’ve had so far, just commercial enough to appeal to a wide audience,” he said. “They just keep getting better and better.”

Cage the Elephant members Matt Shultz, Brad Shultz, Jared Champion and Daniel Tichenor grew up in Bowling Green and began their music career here, playing at local venues including Tidball’s, where they still perform occasionally. Since their breakout single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” in 2009, the band has received national and international attention.

Lindsey believes their Grammy nomination will inspire other local bands.

“It will be a very positive thing for all the other young bands in the area to see what they can aspire to,” he said.

While in Los Angeles for the awards ceremony, Cage the Elephant members made their way around the city with various radio talk show hosts.

The band has performed on various nighttime talk shows, including “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and at numerous music festivals, including Coachella and the Glastonbury Festival.

Cage the Elephant announced Jan. 23 that it’s working on its fourth album.

— Follow faith/general assignments reporter Laurel Wilson on Twitter at twitter.com/FaithinBG or visitbgdailynews.com.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"American Sniper" Strikes A Deep, Emotional Chord In Audiences Across The U.S.

    I should have known that something was in the air when I saw a train crossing the tracks at Dishman Lane in Bowling Green late Friday evening carrying U.S. military tanks, Humvees and Jeeps painted with that very familiar faint yellow which is the camouflage for combat in a Middle Eastern desert.
    I didn't know it at the time, but I was in for a big surprise this weekend. I assume the train was transporting equipment from Fort Knox to Fort Campbell, two Army bases,  which are both located in the State of Kentucky. Recently, I've heard the news that the U.S. government is downsizing our military and reducing the amount of man power and equipment used in operations across the globe. I know that our Kentucky politicians are concerned and many Kentucky citizens are also concerned. Both bases will be greatly reduced in many ways effecting our state's economy.  Mainly, I am concerned about America's safety and security against the War On Terrorism. With all the reduction in the troops, I feel that this make us more vulnerable to the enemy a.k.a. "ISIS."
      However, the high point and surprise of my weekend was how great of a movie that "American Sniper" was starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood. It's was the highest grossing non-big budget films movies of all time during its first two weekends. Even my wife, Patty, wanted to see it. We arrived at the theater about 15 minutes early even before the previews started and the movie was almost sold out. And it was the first movie showing of the day.  For me when I walked out the theater after the movie was over, I felt like I had been hit hard in the chest. The movie is such a deep, emotional movie for all true, patriot Americans especially if you have family members who are veterans and who fought in combat. I could barely hold my tears back. Wow. There was total silence and not a dry eye in that theater when everyone walked out of there. My heart was full yesterday afternoon after the movie. But I think all Americans can relate to this movie and the incredible bravery of Navy Seal Chris Kyle and his life story especially if you know someone who has returned home from combat and has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Chris served four tours of duty in Iraq, he had the highest number of sniper kills (160) in U.S. military history. He earned two Sliver Stars and five Bronze Stars Medals before he was killed on a firing range at home in Texas while trying to help another solider with PTSD.  I also think all Americans can relate to the 911 scenes and the War on Terrorism. My father was a World War II and Korean War veteran and experienced PTSD or "shell shock" as it was known back in those days. Psychiatrists and psychologists really did not know much about the condition until recently.  Also, the general public is starting to understand and learn more about it too.  Nevertheless, this movie has struck a deep chord in my life and I will be forever grateful for Chris's service to our country. I also know that the family too suffers when soldiers returns home because they are still fighting the war in their minds. My dad did and my mom says he was never the same when he came home. Go see the movie and then thank a veteran and their family for the service and sacrifices in which they have made in order to protect America from the evils of terrorism.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Mid-South Coliseum In Memphis, Tenn., Has Its Place In Rock & Roll History And It Should Be Saved

   
The 1970's in the American South was in tatters after the civil rights movement with unrest that had blazed the streets of Memphis, Tenn., and other cities across the South in the late 1960's.  With the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., at the Loraine Hotel in downtown Memphis in April of 1968, the city was struggling to get back on its feet after the riots that rocked the streets that stood next to the "Mighty Mississippi River."
     Also, the Vietnam War was still riveting the landscape with America's young soldiers being slaughtered on foreign soil and then later sent home in body bags and makeshift coffins tearing families apart as well as the drug culture seeping into mainstream of the country's veins.
     And with the "Summer of Love" in 1967 during the "Golden Age of Rock & Roll" which had come and gone in San Francisco and the massive rock concert in Woodstock, N.Y., that made history in 1969, Memphis was slowing but surely finding its way to become a world-famous city for "Arena Rock" even before the death of Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock & Roll" in 1977.  However, there was a light of hope in the form of entertainment for Memphis that shined a beacon of  light during turmoil years of the late 1960's and during the reconstruction years of the 1970's.  And that light was the "The Mid-South Coliseum" and tens of thousands of people from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas flocked to shows, rock concerts, sporting events and graduations at this historic, iconic arena.
     Also, the Mid-South Coliseum is a place where the ghosts of the Mississippi delta blues men would meet on any given night that there was a rock concert taking place.  The roots of rock and roll all began about 60 miles south of Memphis on that famous Highway 61 in North Mississippi just outside the little shanty town of Clarksdale, Miss., where former sharecropper Robert Johnson made a pact with the devil in order for him to become a famous blues man and guitarist and singer from the Mississippi delta.  Unfortunately, Robert Johnson died at the young age of 27 years-old.  From Elvis to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin to Kiss and Van Halen to ZZ Top including hundreds of more rock bands who have performed at The Mid-South Coliseum, this former rock and roll venue has earned it's place in history and it should be saved from the wrecking ball.

                           Some Historical Facts About The Mid-South Coliseum

*The Mid-South Coliseum was also known as the "The Entertainment Capital Of The Mid-South" which is located at 996 Early Maxwell Blvd., at the former Mid-South Fairgrounds and the Liberty Bowl Stadium with a seating capacity of 11,555.  At one time, it was fully air-conditioned with a paved parking lot for 3,000 vehicles.

* The building was built as a sports and concert venue in 1963 and now listed with the United States National Register of Historic Places.

*The Mid-South Coliseum was home to the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team before they booked for the Pyramid which opened in 1991.

*The Mid-South Coliseum was one of the few stops on the Beatles' final American tour. The Aug. 19, 1966 concert is infamously known as "The firecracker Concert" in which a concertgoer set off a firecracker or "cherry bomb" while the Beatles were performing on stage.  The Beatles had flown into the city for two shows and Memphis was their eight stop along their North American tour.  John Lennon's misquoted remarks earlier in the year about the current state of Christianity had caused some problems especially in the Southern states.  There were protests, record burnings organized by Christian radio stations and even death threats including a televised death threat against the Beatles from a local Memphis Klu Klux Klansman.  While there were no problems with the afternoon concert, nerves were shattered when some someone threw the firecracker or cherry bomb on stage during the evening concert.  Apparently,  concertgoers thought the noise sounded like a gunshot during their performance.  Everyone who heard it was shocked.

*The Mid-South Coliseum was also a popular venue for professional wrestling and the home base for the United States Wrestling Association and Jerry "The King" Lawler headlining numerous sold-out shows at this historic facility.


                    Help Save The Mid-South Coliseum From The Wrecking Ball

    Currently, there are plans for the City of Memphis and Shelby County to raze the historic, iconic The-Mid Coliseum in order to build to some new developments.  In order to keep up on the latest news of what's happening with the MSC, please "Like" the "Save The Mid-South Coliseum" Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/savemidsoucol/