Saturday, January 29, 2011

Monkeys Eyebrow...

You are probably wondering where in the world this post came from, so here goes. I was reading several of the Kentucky blogs I follow. They mentioned an article by Pat Forde talking about Coach call-in shows and a reference he made to UK. You can read the article here. Here is what he said about UK.

Not surprisingly, given the over-the-top ardor of its fans, Kentucky has a history of sanity-challenging call-in shows. Tubby Smith (8) probably deserves some kind of humanitarian award for 10 years of enduring them. Tubby isn't a gifted orator -- he starts and stops and hems and haws and will employ the confusing thematic jump-switch in mid-sentence -- but he was a true diplomat during his days in the Bluegrass.

A lot of the calls to Tubby went like this:

"Coach Smith? This is Orville from Monkey's Eyebrow (9)*. I just want to know what it's going to take for us to play more up-tempo, like we used to, and when you're going to put Josh Carrier in the starting lineup. He's a Kentucky boy and I think he deserves a shot."

Translation: When are you going to resign?

Tubby's response: "Well, Orville, you certainly bring up some good points. We'll have to take a look at that."

Translation: You have absolutely no clue. Fifty-five minutes until we're off the air.

*Monkey's Eyebrow is a real town in Kentucky.

Of course, I had to respond..

stuartyancy (1/28/2011 at 6:54 AM)Mr. Forde, I seriously doubt you've ever been to Monkey's Eyebrow. I live in the same county - Ballard so here is some info for you.

I can't vouch for Orville, but I can tell you a little more about Monkey's Eyebrow (since I live in the same county - Ballard).

It's just a wide spot in the road. It's not an incorporated city, it doesn't even have a post office. It's claim to fame it is the location of the TV tower for the local NBC affliate WPSD-TV. I'll tell you I'm a bit skeptical that you heard an actual caller say "he's from Monkey's Eyebrow".

We love the Wildcats in Ballard County just like the rest of the state. We've always especially pulled for Kentucky kids who play for UK. Often, they turn down scholarships at other schools where they could start to just be a member of the UK team. As Adolph Rupp once said "When a baby is born in Kentucky, the parent's first wish is for him to be President like the Kentucky born Abraham Lincoln. The second is that he can play for the University of Kentucky Wildcats".

So, I decided I'd go to Monkeys Eyebrow. I haven't been there in years and years. When I mentioned my plan, Jonathan enthuiastically agreed to go with me. I knew the WPSD TV tower(our local NBC affiliate) was there, so I traced out directions to that.

We went through Bandana to get there. About 20 years ago, I had a "Twilight Zone" moment in Bandana. The congregation I was a member of then (Heath church of Christ) was part of a nationwide evangelistic effort called "One Nation Under God". For four straight weekends, we knocked doors in Western McCracken County and Ballard County. The last place we had to canvass was Bandana. Larry Davis, Keith Anderson and I set out to do that on a Sunday afternoon. We finished and headed out of town (or so we thought). After driving a few miles, we saw a green sign saying we were approaching another small town. Imagine my surprise when it said "Bandana"!. We left again and followed another road. We drove a while (making several turns) and were overjoyed to see another green sign. It said "Bandana". We tried following the sun and moss on the trees and every other sign we could think of and ended up back in Bandana again. Finally I said "Let's go against every logic we can think of and go that way". After several turns, I saw another green sign that said "Ingleside". We were relieved. I made sure I brought a GPS on this trip, just to be safe.

We got to the TV tower with little trouble. You could see it from miles away. We pulled up to its gate and all it had was a block letter sign saying "WPSD" with a phone number and FCC license number. I expected a bigger sign with at least a colorful station logo and "News Channel 6". If it weren't for the tower, the whole place looked non-descript. We drove down Monkeys Eyebrow road. We drove along the outskirts of the Ballard Wildlife Management Area seeing numerous ducks. I'd hoped to see something anyhing with "Monkeys Eyebrow" on it. My understand is the state gave up years ago putting up signs only to have them stolen every time. Finally, I remembered a web site about the area I'd seen. It had a sign in it with the name on it. I called Donna who gave me the address. It's the picture you saw above.

I loaded up the GPS and plotted our course home. Jonathan said "Oh, I know a much better way back to Kevil". I started having Bandana flashbacks. But true to his word, he got us right back. I should have taken him on that trip 20 years ago. He was only one and a half though.

Why is it called Monkeys Eyebrow? I've found several explanations. They range from the brush on hills around the area looking like a "monkey's eyebrow" to the fact that on a county map, the area looks like the eyebrow of a monkey to "this place is only fit for a bunch of monkeys".

Mr Forde, my guess is a Northeastern guy like yourself can't possibly understand the charm and tradition of places like Monkeys Eyebrow, Woodville, Boaz, Freemont, Hardmoney and my namesake Hendron. But we Kentuckians love those places and cherish them in our minds and hearts just like we do our Kentucky Wildcat basketball.

If you want more info about Monkey's Eyebrow, check out this excellent website

Saturday, January 22, 2011


A few days ago, I had to go to Franklin Tennessee to do some work with a consultant. I had not visited that part of Nashville suburbia. I've been to downtown, the airport area, and Lebanon Road church of Christ multiple times. I've visited Brentwood (home of Dave Ramsey) and Hendersonville (home of my little sister Melissa and her family). But never Franklin..

The trip started out with my getting a rental car at Hertz. The lady at the counter talked me into taking a Prius. I'd never driven a hybrid or a car like that. The car had push button start and I had a lot of trouble getting the exact sequence down of starting the car. The back class had a large horizontal divider making it hard to see out the back. When I picked up Skip Hancock to head to Franklin, I found out the car beeped the whole time it backed up. I was sorely tempted just to take the car back and ask for another one, but I didn't. Our trip went fine. We ran into traffic at the I-24/I-65 split, but besides that, we had no trouble.

Our work went well. We had a nice leisurely lunch at Steak-n-Shake. I polished off a Double Chocolate milk shake. After our day's work was over, we went to check into our hotel. All of the hotels at our exit were a step below where I generally stay. I am a Drury/Hilton/Mariott guy. These hotels were of the Comfort Inn/Days Inn/Ramada/La Quinta variety. We could have stayed at Cool Springs (a few miles away) but the rooms were 80-100 more. So, I opted for the La Quinta. The room was fine (for 55.00) but it just wasn't what I was used to. It wasn't quite as large and the bathroom wasn't quite as big. There was no workout room. The morning breakfast wasn't as good as even a Fairfield or Hampton. I guess I've gotten a bit spoiled :-) Everybody was nice there. I struck up a conversation with the desk clerk upon seeing him wearing a New York Giants jacket. I talked about my son who liked the Giants and we rehashed the stunning Eagles loss again. The wireless internet worked fine. I did get startled about 6:45am with the loud emptying of a dumpster. All-in-all though it was certainly fine for one night.

That night we at the Franklin Chop House. I have this standing policy (which used to drive my former colleague Craig Vincek crazy) of not wanting to eat anywhere that I could eat at Paducah (prompting my choice that night). They brought out an excellent basket of biscuits and the ribeye dinner was great. My sides of broccoli and baked potato were plentiful. We got out in time to get to the hotel to watch the UK-Alabama game. I shouldn't have bothered. UK got muscled around and got down 20 in the second half. They made a great rally to get the lead to 1, but made several mistakes at the end and lost.

The rest of the work the day as well. We stopped at the Cool Springs exit because I had to go to Krispy Kreme. Alas, the hot light was not on but I got excellent doughnuts nonetheless plus some to take home. We stopped in Clarksville and I devoured a rack of ribs at Chili's. I got home in plenty of time to go to Wednesday night Bible Study as well.

All-in-all it was a decent overnight trip for my first visit to Franklin. We'll be doing more work with this consultant in the future, so it looks like I'll be back..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama...

Jonathan and I set out Friday to go to Kentucky's FIFTH straight bowl game. We've been to the previous four and plan to try and keep going to all the rest as long as we can.

I'd hoped that UK wouldn't go to a bowl game in Tennessee this year. We got our wish but not in the way we hoped. The BBVA Compass Bowl is the bowl game for the last eligible team in the SEC. Once Kentucky lost to Tennessee, they fell all the way to this bowl in Birmingham Alabama. I bought us tickets right after they announced where Kentucky would play.

We left for Birmingham on Friday. The ride down to Birmingham was uneventful. It's pretty much a straight shot on I-65 from Nashville. We stayed at the Hilton Perimeter Hotel. It was a very nice hotel. The desk staff was very friendly and acommodating. We did find out the Pitt band was staying there. They were very nice and well behaved. We checked in and then went to grab a steak dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse (which was excellent). We spent the evening just relaxing at the hotel.

We got up the next morning to a cool, sunny windy day. I went to McDonalds to get breakfast. I was asked "Do you want to try our new oatmeal?". I almost laughed out loud then ordered a few sausage biscuits. We ate and got ready to go to the game.

One of the big reasons we stayed at this hotel was it had a shuttle to Legion Field. I'd heard bad things about the parking there and that the field was in a bad area of town. The shuttle bus was very nice even having TVs tuned to ESPN on it. Our drive went fine. As we approached the stadium, I could see that the neighborhood was really bad looking. I was glad we'd rode on the shuttle bus. The bus brought us right up to the field.

The game is at Legion Field. This field has been there since the 1920's. It was the location of the Iron Bowl (the annual Auburn-Alabama game) for many years. They finally left when the stadium did not keep up with the quality of their home stadiums. The stadium certainly looks its age. I especially noticed this as I walked around. I noticed it more as the game progressed. The sound system was inaudible most of the time. We couldn't tell what penalties were called or what was going on. One of the two video boards went out as well. The seats were almost all bleachers except for a few suites. The seating was cramped as well. But as a guy next to me said, until UK starts winning more games, this is what they'll (and we'll get).

Pitt had been through a lot. Their head coach resigned (he was really forced out). They hired a new coach only to fire him a week or so later after he arrested on a domestic violence charge. Their defensive coordinator agreed to coach even though he'd accepted another job too. UK's quarterback Mike Hartline was out for the game because he'd been arrested at the end of the season. Pitt was a slight favorite.

Kentucky quelled the first Pitt drive with an interception. UK drove to the 35 but QB Morgan Newton fumbled. The game went back and forth with UK kicking a field goal to go up by 3. Uk drove down the field and could not convert a 4th and literally one inch. Pitt took a 6-3 lead. Uk had to punt with about a minute left in the half. UK's punter took forever and ended up getting his punt blocked. Pitt recovered at the 10 and soon scored a touchdown. It was 13-3 at the half. Uk started the 2nd half with the ball and stalled near midfield. Incredibly they tried a fake punt and failed miserably. Pitt drove 25 years for a TD to go up 20-3 and the game was pretty much over.

Needless to say there were a lot of upset UK fans. We couldn't understand why they didn't use the All American Randal Cobb more or run Derrick Locke more. They never went to the other backup HQ - Ryan Mossakowski. I'll save the rest for my UK futures blog entry later. We stayed til the bitter end (a 27-10 loss for the worst bowl loss in UK history). We took the shuttle bus back to the hotel and got our car and headed home.

We hoped that the UK basketball team would make it up for us. Jonathan and I listened to the game on the way home. Uk fell behind by 11 at the half. They rallied to tie the game and even take a slight lead, but ultimately lost by 7. We then listened to Seattle pull off the upset over New Orleans and the first half of the Jets Colts game.

The game didn't turn out like we'd hoped, but we had our usual good time just hanging out together as usual. We'll keep going to the games every year. Although, I am not so sure we'll get the chance next year. I'll talk about that later...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I remember when..

Many years ago when I was young, I remember looking forward to New Years Day with great anticipation. I would go to bed right after midnight to be ready. Why you ask? It would the best football day of the year. There would be games from mid-morning til almost midnight. I would even take a half day of vacation the next day so I could stay up late and watch the games

All the big games were that day. The big ones then were the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl. You had direct tie-ins with conferences. The Rose Bowl had the Big 10 and Pac-10 champs. The Cotton Bowl had the old SWC champ, the Sugar Bowl the SEC and, and the Orange Bowl had the Big 8 champ. There were other games duing the day too. So, if one game got boring, you could flip to another one. And this was before the ESPN/Sport Channel hey-dey, so it was all on national TV channels.

I saw some great battles between Notre Dame and Alabama. I remember Pitt having this running back named Tony Dorsett who you could tell was going to be really good. I remember a Georgia QB with the great name of "Buck Belue" who led Georgia to a win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. I remember going to bed early when I lived in Louisville (and didn't have vacation so I had to get up early and go to work) and missing the end of the Miami Nebraska game that ended up 31-30 Miami. I remember Miami's QB was a freshman named Bernie Kosar. I read the next day how Tom Osborne went for 2 to try and win the game at the end (there was no OT then) and missed. I would always dream of the day UK might be in one of these games

The National Champ was chosen the next day based on the outcomes of these games. You had two polls, the AP and the UPI. There were multiple years that you had co-champions when one poll picked one team and one poll picked another. So, the Fiesta bowl came along to bust all the fun up.

The Fiesta Bowl was created (if I remember right) for teams not from one of the power conferences to be able to play in a bowl game (this was before the days of 30-something bowl games). In 1987 though, they pulled out what everybody thought was a great event. The two top ranked teams were independents (Miami and Penn State). They were both invited to the game. They moved the game to January the 2nd. I remember the game was dull. Penn State won 14-10 I think and Vinny Testaverde threw a whole bunch of interceptions. But, this set the wheels in motion for this whole BCS Championship game thing we have today. Now, all the big bowl games are played out for a week with the championship game being a week into the new year).

I hardly watch any of these games now. I might watch some of the Championship game to see if the SEC can keep their stranglehold on the National Championship. I'll still dream of UK being in one of those big games though. I know some people say the BCS ruined things, but I think that happened a long time before that.