Tackling The Business World

As a running back in the NFL, Emmitt Smith knew he’d retire with much of his life ahead of him, which left him with the question: What should he do post-football career?

As part of Brown-Forman’s Black History Month celebration, the NFL Hall of Famer, three-time Super Bowl champ and winner of “Dancing with the Stars” visited the Brown-Forman Corporation to speak about the question he faced in 2005 when he retired from football at the age of 35.

Though most people will never wonder what path to pursue following a professional athletic career, many do face a similar dilemma in finding an entirely new job or profession at least once in their lifetime. And, take it from the NFL’s all-time leading rusher – it is possible to find success in more than one field, which Smith has proven as a philanthropist, president and CEO of Emmitt Smith Enterprises, Inc., and brand ambassador for Brown-Forman’s Casa Herradura brand.

“When I retired, it’s like OK, I have all this free time. What am I going to do?” Smith said during his speech at Brown-Forman. “I had to find people and reach out to mentors to help me understand what running a business is all about…I spent 20 something years of my life in sports, not 20 something years running a business. The best way I can compete with that is to hire some folks that are a lot smarter than I am and learn from them along the way.”

Emmitt Smith Enterprises is the umbrella company of EJ Smith Construction, E Smith Legacy, a commercial real estate company, Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities and the marketing and management of the Emmitt Smith entertainment brand.

The Voice-Tribune’s Ashley Anderson posed with NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.

The Voice-Tribune’s Ashley Anderson posed with NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.

“Hard work, classical, consistent, a winner, appealing, both sides of the aisle,” Smith said, describing his personal brand. “I cross over and I’m also in the eyes and minds of young people…There are a lot of attributes that I think I have in common with (Brown-Forman).”

In partnering with Brown-Forman, Smith has traveled throughout the US and beyond to endorse Herradura tequila and was the first celebrity athlete to buy Casa Herradura’s exclusive Double Barrel Reposado.

“Taking a trip down to Guadalajara and going out to Casa Herradura was a unique experience,” Smith said of a recent expedition as brand ambassador. “I got a chance to see first hand and up close in person how well Brown-Forman brands itself. … My relationship with Brown-Forman and their Herradura brand is something that I believe in because I like tequila. I love tequila, so I love to drink it.”

Promoting the Herradura brand as well as developing his own personal brand is an effort Smith has been devoted to since leaving the NFL. It’s his passion for each and every endeavor he’s pursued that has brought him much accomplishment since his retirement, but Smith said there’s still more he’d like to attempt in the future.

“I’m going to probably get on a horse and race right here at Churchill Downs,” he joked. “There’s probably one other thing that I really want to see come to fruition and I’m going to keep that one quiet, because I’m working behind the scenes on that one…But, right now my major focus is on family, is on my commercial real estate business, as well as my construction company.”

Though, he is most noted for his legendary performance in the NFL, Smith has a new-found affection for helping develop businesses and teaching children how to create a better life for themselves through Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. In fact, Smith is so dedicated to his post-retirement life that when questioned if he missed any part of the NFL, his answer was a simple and shocking, “no.”

“If there was one part, it’s the actual consistency of the paycheck,” Smith laughed. “Outside of the game, (I don’t miss it). I’ve been fulfilled by the game. I’ve done all that I can do and could do, and so I have no regrets at all.”

How One Man Fell In Love With The Maniliest City In America

Chris Humphreys.

Chris Humphreys.

Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared online at www.voice-tribune.com.

I used to hate this city.

Before you start questioning my motives and yelling for me to “geeeeeeeeeet out!” let me plead my case.

For the first 18 years of my life I grew up in a lovely home in Okolona, where my parents still reside. I had a good childhood and home-life, but growing up in the South End of Louisville did nothing to help me like Louisville any.

At 16, I starting working at the Jefferson Mall, where I worked at four different stores in three years, all the while witnessing theft and fights what seemed like once a week.

Around the same time, I discovered the magical part of town where kids can go to loiter and annoy paying patrons at different establishments all the while still being “cool” for doing so. I discovered the Highlands.

This was a big step for me. You mean there’s more to Louisville than the Super Wal-Mart on Preston and strip malls on Outer Loop?

Skip to age 18, I started school at JCC (which immediately changed its name to JCTC upon my arrival) and finally got a taste of the downtown life, which was nice, but Second and Broadway still wasn’t the ambassador to Louisville that I needed.

Jump to the end of that year, before turning 19, when I moved in with my first serious girlfriend – in Buechel. The part of Bardstown Road that’s literally and metaphorically on the other side of the train tracks. The complex was so bad that Papa John’s wouldn’t even make deliveries to it. Luckily for us, her lease ran out a couple months later.

We then traveled up Bardstown Road a few miles and landed in a 4-unit, 100+-year-old home near Cherokee Park.

After months of loud noises coming from our drug dealing neighbor upstairs and threats from the drunk witch in the unit next to us, we finally convinced our Stalinesque landlord to let us out of the lease early in order to find a place to live that didn’t make us fear walking upstairs.

Luckily for us, my mother’s friend was trying to sell her shotgun home in Germantown and after a little convincing, agreed to let us rent it from her. At this point I was 20 and still in college, out of the mall and designing at a sign shop in the Highlands. This was a turning point. I got to travel between downtown, the Highlands and Germantown and only had to go south on 65 to visit my parents and favorite comic shop.

GQ recently named Louisville as its "Manliest City in America."

GQ recently named Louisville as its "Manliest City in America."

By 21, my relationship fell apart, I was living alone, still in school and was working at another sign shop that took me back to Buechel five days a week. Not what I really wanted out of a city that I was slowly learning had a lot to offer.

Cue age 22. I graduated after four years at a community college that was only supposed to take me two (I took the extra time to get another degree and a fancy web-design certificate). I was still stuck in Buechel making nowhere near enough money for the work I was doing and desperately wanted out of this city and into a real city that actually wanted a photographer/designer that loves food more than oxygen.

Three months before turning 23, I stopped looking at the Missed Encounters section of Craigslist and clicked on the Jobs link instead. A month later I was the new designer/photographer at The Voice-Tribune. If moving to Germantown was a turning point, then starting my new St. Matthews gig was some real parting of the Red Sea type stuff.

I quickly learned that Louisville was so much more than the mixture of redneck ghetto trash that I put up with in Jefferson Mall and strange hippie-hipsters in the Highlands that made you feel more like you were turning the corner of Haight-Ashbury than Bardstown-Eastern Parkway.

I learned that East-Enders aren’t all stuck up rich people with more money than God. They were, in fact, nicer and more kind to me than anyone from the South End ever was. I found out that on any given night there’s at least one event going on somewhere in this city that’s worth attending. And most importantly I discovered our restaurant scene that I would put up in a “Top Chef” style challenge against any bigger city I’ve ever traveled to.

This year The Voice-Tribune moved to Butchertown in NuLu, and I’ve fallen in love with Louisville all over again.

It put us within walking distance or a short TARC ride of some of the best places to eat in town, blocks away from the ever-expanding Gallery District that seems to have a new store or shop popping up every few weeks and is only a hop skip and a jump away from The YUM! Center and one of my favorite summer venues, Louisville Slugger Field.

Louisville has much to offer to everyone. Unfortunately, like my younger self, not everyone knows that. But, to my surprise, GQ magazine does.

While flipping through the March issue of the men’s mag, I saw some familiar locations and a headline that reads “The Manliest Town in America” featured prominently on page 100.

The one-page travel column is where writer Brendan Vaughan recounts his recent trip to The Possibility City and mentions some of my personal favorite places in town, 21c Museum Hotel, Proof on Main, Please & Thank You, The Blind Pig, and, of course, Churchill Downs. And he makes a damn good argument for his case. (Pick it up on newsstands now if you want to read the full thing.)

Well that’s it. That’s my journey through Metro-Louisville over the last 24 years. I’m still in the Germantown shotgun house, living with a roommate I keep in my attic (kidding, mostly) and two cats that have free reign, enjoying our delicious food and entertaining nightlife and working to keep you folks entertained with The Voice-Tribune five days a week – and I love it.

Contact photographer/designer – and, now, writer – Chris Humphreys at chumphreys@voice-tribune.com or call 502.897.8903.

Look Here – A Real Derby Contender

Much ground will be covered and analysis offered over the nine weeks leading up to Kentucky Derby 138, but – at least for the moment – we have a serious favorite for the “Run for the Roses.”

That issue was at least temporarily settled in the homestretch at Florida’s Gulfstream Park on Sunday afternoon when Union Rags galloped to a four-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes in a sensational return to competition.

The last time Union Rags had stepped onto the track for competition was on the first week of November at Churchill Downs, where he suffered his first loss in four races when he came up a head short of catching eventual 2-year-old champion Hansen in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Sunday’s performance was what many observers had expected to see from Union Rags in the Breeders’ Cup, where he was hampered by a bit of a wide journey and a strong opponent who ran a terrific race.

But the Derby favorite had displayed poise and versatility in his first three starts, and his obvious talent is now combined with a larger and stronger frame.

Trainer Michael Matz, who saddled the star-crossed Barbaro for his romp in the Kentucky Derby in 2006, now cares for the favorite for the 2012 renewal of America’s greatest race on Saturday, May 5, at Churchill Downs.

“You never know after a four-month rest – Do you have the horse fit enough? Did you do this? Did you do that? You always go through 51 questions,” Matz said after the Fountain of Youth. “I guess we did it right this time.”

Another individual in a good spot is jockey Julien Leparoux, who was in the saddle aboard Union Rags for the first time. Leparoux, a nine-time leading rider at Churchill Downs who has not yet come close to winning the track’s biggest race, was beaming after the tour de force run by Matz’s colt.

“I was hoping he would run a good race, but I was not expecting that. He’s such an easy horse to ride and did everything so easily,” Leparoux said. “I’m sure he was not 100 percent today, which means he should just get better.”

Leparoux was aboard the Kentucky Derby favorite a year ago in Dialed In, but Nick Zito’s stretch-runner finished eighth.

Thoroughbreds can change a lot from two-to-three, and their continued physical and mental development is critical to becoming Derby contenders.

It’s a race during which those horses – who can best be compared to still-developing human athletes in their teens or early 20’s – face a long list of challenges and experiences for the first – and in many cases, the only – time in their careers.

In my experience as a racing fan, the greatest individual performance I have witnessed was victory by the French-based Arazi in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

His last-to-first run remains breathtaking today, and it established the colt as a huge favorite to return to the U.S. and win the Derby the following spring.

He indeed left the starting gate as the odds-on favorite, but did so after a winter during which he had undergone supposedly “minor” knee surgery and preparation that included one decidedly-soft prep race in Europe.

And Arazi, a tiny colt on his best day, did not appear to have gained an ounce of weight or muscle during those months.

The result was an eighth-place finish in the Derby won by Cal Partee’s Lil E. Tee and Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day. It was the worst finish by an odds-on choice in Derby history.

While there is a long way to go until Derby 138, it is encouraging that a glance at Union Rags shows he was no freshman phenom.

He has matured significantly in the four months since his lone loss at Churchill Downs.

“He’s more mature and has grown,” Matz told Daily Racing Form. He’s 17 hands now.”

The Fountain of Youth provided major disappointment before the race for Starlight Racing and trainer Todd Partner as their pre-race favorite Algorithms was scratched because of a splint bone injury.

The injury arrived at a critical time on the Derby and Triple Crown trail, and Algorithm was pulled from Derby contention early in the week.

Starlight is a partnership managed by Louisville native Jack Wolfe, and his partners with Algorithms include Louisville attorney Ed Glasscock and his son, Clint.

Pletcher still saddled the post-time Fountain of Youth favorite in previously unbeaten Discreet Dancer, but he faded to third as Union Rags easily galloped away.

The trainer could take some solace in a victory by another of his Derby hopes, El Padrino, in Saturday’s Risen Star at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds. But a possible extended stay on the sidelines for Algorithms and the setback for Discreet Dancer were significant setbacks for Pletcher’s Derby 2012 hopes.

The scratch was also a painful turn of events for jockey Javier Castellano, who had given up the mount on Union Rags to ride Algorithms in the run to the Derby.

With just over 60 days to go, Union Rags stands as the clear front-runner on the road to Derby 138 after his dominant performance in Florida.

He figures to be a clear individual favorite – if not the overall choice – in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens its three-day run on Friday.

The biggest race this weekend is the Gotham at New York’s Aqueduct, where champion Hansen is scheduled to attempt to restore luster to his star.

It was tarnished by the previously unbeaten colt’s loss to Algorithms in Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth.

Falling For Jason Falls

I just fell in love with Jason Falls.

It’s not because I’m unhappily married (my husband and I are two and a half years strong!) but because I finally got closure on how to use social media to my advantage, thanks to a random coffee “date” with the CEO of Louisville-based social media consulting firm, Social Media Explorer.

I’m fairly Facebook-literate, and tend to spend copious amounts of time on Pinterest (frankly, it’s ruining my life). But between Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Etsy, Google Plus, eHarmony, Classmates, Trip Advisor, Flickr – and don’t even get me started on blogging – I am flat out exhausted with trying to keep up with the latest form of social media interaction.

Jason Falls understands my frustration and claims that the reason for my lack of enthusiasm toward these social outlets is simply my lack of knowledge.

Falls believes understanding how social media works is pivotal in making it work to your advantage. He should know: He is currently number 7 on the Forbes Magazine list of “Top 10 Influencers in Social Media.”

When Falls broke away from Doe-Anderson in 2009 to spearhead his consulting firm, Social Media Explorer, he was already aware of how much more encompassing and pivotal the social media scene was going to become.

Today, with his business partner, Aaron Marshall, they educate clients on aspects of social media marketing and digital marketing. This involves huge commitment, as Social Media Explorer currently conducts seminars and lectures across the country.

Falls also is considered a social media guru on the international level, forging relationships with some of the biggest networking sites.

Simply put, the Pikeville-born and Louisville-bred homebody is a big deal.

We sat down with Falls recently to see if some of his saviness could rub off on us.

What is one of the biggest mistakes that people make in using social media?
Beer pong pictures on Facebook. What possesses people to do that? No pictures have ever been deleted from Facebook, so just be smart. You don’t go to a job interview and tell them what you like to drink, so why would you put that in a virtual forum where there’s a permanent record of things you’ve done? It’s public; you need to treat it that way. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.

What are some tangible ways people can use social media to land a job?
Find good contacts around the topic you want a job in. If you’re into life insurance, find good resources about life insurance, share good articles and connect with people that are passionate about the same things you are. The more visible you are within the industry you want to be, sharing good content and also interacting with people, the more credible you’re going to look.

What’s an outlet that you strongly feel more people should take advantage of?
Blogging. Blogging is one of the most powerful mechanisms. It shows off your expertise and it puts out content for the search engines to find. It’s essentially a very easy way to stay relevant while simply being self-absorbed in your interest.  And then network from there – if you can have Dave Ramsay link to your finance blog, you have tons more readership. So write smart stuff. Be consistent. Make sure that everybody in your field knows who you are! Be that obnoxious guy that shows up everywhere. When I first started, I went to all the conferences and took leaders out for a beer just to connect with them. Who’s going to refuse a free drink?

What social media do you find surprising?
Pinterest. Who saw that one becoming so big? But how cool that someone can literally put up a picture and in seconds it’s transferred to a database connecting millions of completely different readers. I think in Pinterest specifically there’s going to be more of a social network in which people pin things that they want to buy. But if you’re a marketer, especially a retailer, you can pin up pictures of your product, which will link back to where they can buy them and then you can use coupons or promotions to entice the customer. A company that will benefit from using it is one that’s extremely visually driven. If you have a product that connects your business with a photograph, then that’s the way to go.

What can I do to make my blog, my Twitter account, my Etsy shop, etc. more influential?
Read, read, read! I cannot emphasize this enough.  Read magazines, newspapers – anything to get specific information in your field. But be sure to have a balanced diet of things you’re reading. Read something “smart” like The New York Times instead of Us Weekly.  There’s a reason people plateau – there’s no new ideas coming from them. Stay on top of what’s current and what’s coming and make the information your put out something better.

What can we expect in the near future from Social Media Explorer?
We’re always doing our client consulting, whether it is in person, conference calls or virtual webinar-type things. But something exciting that’s getting ready to take off is our “Explore” consulting event that we’re holding in five different cities: Dallas, Nashville, Minneapolis, Irvine and Portland. We’d love to do one in Louisville, but there’s not a reputation for that kind of event here, so we’re trying to build that reputation in order to make Louisville the hub for this. In the extremely near future, I’m going to drink a ton of coffee.
Check out Social Media Explorer at www.socialmediaexplorer.com. Follow  @JasonFalls on Twitter.

Mark & Marcia Hogg

For those of you who don’t believe in a second chance at love, Mark and Marcia Hogg are here to prove you wrong.

Marcia divorced her first husband the same year now husband, Mark, had married his first wife. Though, uninterested in dating, Marcia had been urged by a friend who attended a divorce support group to meet a guy she thought was perfect for Marcia.

Finally obliging to her friend’s request, Marcia attended the support group, and much to her surprise found the man who would change her outlook on dating.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Marcia said. “He walked in the door, I remember what he was wearing, I stopped (my friend) in mid-sentence, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, WHO is that?’ And she said, ‘That’s the guy I’ve been trying to get you to come here and meet.’”

“I get that a lot at the mall, too. It drives me crazy,” Mark joked.

After talking for a while, it was Marcia who asked Mark to go out on their first date, and in a similar fashion, two years later, she asked Mark to marry her.

“I tell people to this day, we’ve been married almost 19 years, and we’d probably still be dating,” Marcia said. “(Mark) was just real slow, real cautious. It had been two years, and I thought, I’m not getting any younger, would really like to be married some day, really love this guy but if this isn’t going anywhere, then kind of need to move on.”

One day, before Mark was to lead his youth group at church, Marcia walked into his office with a look of severity. “I said, ‘Mark, it’s time to fish or cut bait,’” she said. “And he looked at me, knew what I was talking about, and he said, ‘Do I have some time to think about this?’”

Mark sat on the idea for three days, and then returned with his answer: “I needed some time to really decide and I felt like there was some kind of divine inspiration or influence that was encouraging me to say you need to look at the last couple years of your life, what this woman’s presence in your life has done, and you’d just be stupid not to have her in your life forever,” he said.

On May 8, 1993, the couple married in a non-traditional wedding and hosted a casual, potluck reception on a pig farm with volleyball, hay rides and two roasted pigs.
After their wedding, Mark and Marcia then looked to become more involved in ministry.

In 1995, Mark founded EDGE Outreach, an international organization that provides training and equipment to individuals looking to address water quality and sanitation issues in developing countries and post-disaster environments.

Mark, the executive director of EDGE, and Marcia, the graphic designer and member of the Edge Water Department, now work together both at marriage and in the work place.

“We just felt like we needed to be a part of a non-profit that was investing in mission work and young people,” Mark said.

Outside of EDGE, Mark and Marcia spend time with their treeing walker coonhound named Jaz, and as of last year, became both parents and grandparents in the course of one day.

“We did about a year of respite work off and on with (a girl named Angel),” Mark said. “We were her 17th or 18th home. She came to live with us and so we were together for awhile, she went to college, but before she left to go to college she said, ‘I want to call you all mom and dad and I want your name.’ So that’s pretty serious when you want Hogg for a last name, right?”

However, soon after, Angel packed up and left without notice for six years while Mark and Marcia struggled with the decision to contact her.

“She got in touch with us a little over a year ago, and she said, ‘Hey it’s Angel, and I want to be family again, and by the way I’ve got a five-year-old daughter named Isabella,’” Mark said. “So all the sudden we’re Mom and Dad and Nana and Grandpa in one phone call. We’ve been seeing each other for over a year now. We’ve got this five-year-old granddaughter that just lights the frickin’ world up.”

Mark is so devoted to his role as grandpa, now, that he shocked Marcia one day when he left work before a meeting at EDGE so he could read “Hop on Pop” over the phone with Isabella. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s finally happened,’” Marcia said. “There’s something more important than (work)! That’s great.”

But, Mark and Marcia have no shortage of passion for their work at EDGE and Louisville, which has become a home away from home for both Mark, originally from Birmingham, and Marcia, from Michigan.

“We’re able to be who we are in the community of people that we’re involved in,” Mark said. “I never knew what community was until I ended up at Louisville. So many people care about us as a couple and our family. I do not feel alone at all in this great place in Louisville.”


“I think a lot of times we go through life with a partner trying to change the things we don’t like about them and kind of forgetting the things that we really love about them,” Marcia said. “His way is not the wrong way; it’s his way.”


“Don’t get your wife a goat for her first Christmas present,” Mark jokingly advised of a past gift to Marcia.

Circe’s Designer Clothes Bring Contemporary Flair To Louisville Fashion

Circe is located at 3630 Brownsboro Road, in Chenoweth Plaza.

Circe is located at 3630 Brownsboro Road, in Chenoweth Plaza.

Ever since Homer’s Odyssey hit the ancient bestseller lists, “Circe” has meant a sorceress who turns men into beasts.

In one part of America, however, it has a nicer connotation.

“Circe was a Southern slang term my mother used when I was growing up in Raleigh. It means a special treat,” Jennifer Smith recalled. “She would bring home a circe for me as a surprise.”

A good way to use that word in business came up about a decade ago while she was chatting with friend Laura Lee Boone, a Louisville native.

They first met at soccer games when their sons, Holt Smith and Jimmy Boone, were little. The boys are about 13 now, and their mothers have begun their ninth year as owners of Circe (3630 Brownsboro Road), a women’s clothing and accessories store.

“Back then, at the end of 2003, there weren’t as many women’s clothing stores. Several carried beautiful tailored clothing, and you could find preppy Nantucket style,” Laura said. “We wanted to bring more contemporary lines here.”

Circe carries more than 50 lines of designer clothes discovered on buying trips to New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles, including Rachel Zoe, Tibi, Alice & Trixie, Rebecca Taylor, Tracy Reese, and Citizens of Humanity. Shoes to complement outfits come from top names such as Alberto Fermani and Loeffler Randall.

“Rachel Zoe is fairly new for us; she mixes bohemian with tailored in a way that’s wearable for most people,” Jennifer said. “My personal favorites include A.L.C., which originally was for rock stars. The designer, Andrea Lieberman, gives her clothes an edgy look, but they’re also clean, feminine, and never boring.”

Sales associate Beth Blasi (right) shows accessories to Elizabeth Campbell (left) and Kim Shomer.

Sales associate Beth Blasi (right) shows accessories to Elizabeth Campbell (left) and Kim Shomer.

Several years ago, Circe added the expertise of makeup artist Sloan Winters, whose beauty bar features products by Kevyn Aucoin, Juvena, Paul & Joe, and other popular brands.

The store schedules parties for women who want to learn Sloan’s secrets for healthy, beautiful skin — and perhaps create a special look to go with a wedding gown or other special dress.

Laura and Jennifer believe that their partnership works because they respect each other’s areas of expertise.

“I’m more the business end, dealing with vendors and purchase orders. Jennifer spends her time with the customers and the clothes,” Laura said. “I don’t tell her how to dress her mannequins, and she doesn’t tell me how to address our vendors.”

Circe’s clothes and accessories are selected to appeal to women of all ages, including teenagers — with prices to suit most budgets.

The store caters to businesswomen as well as to mothers who bring their daughters. Bridesmaids stop in when they tire of what’s in bridal shops, and students looking for prom dresses will soon start arriving.

“The Louisville market still tends to be more conservative than some, so we keep that in mind,” Laura said. “We carry Diane von Furstenberg, who appeals to women in their forties to sixties. Her wrap dresses are timeless, but she also has trendier styles — pretty, not as flowy, more fitted.”

Makeover parties let women benefit from Sloan Winters’ cosmetics artistry.

Makeover parties let women benefit from Sloan Winters’ cosmetics artistry.

Jennifer just returned from a New York buying trip where she felt “energized” by several trends: glamorous beading and embroidery on dresses and tops; leather pencil skirts, miniskirts and trim on cuffs and collars; and fur galore, whether real or faux.

And fashion appears to be moving away from dresses, in favor of separates.

“When we opened Circe, the risk made us nervous,” Laura said. “But we think our timing was good, and Louisville has been very responsive to us. It’s been a positive experience for us, and we hope it is for our customers, too.”

Circe, 3630 Brownsboro Road (in the Chenoweth Plaza), opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and at 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.shopcirce.com or phone 502.894.0095.

Now Is The Time To Get Into Shape

If ever there is a time to be in Louisville, it’s now.

You know spring is right around the corner when you see endless runners training for the upcoming Triple Crown of Racing.

With all the races taking place during March this year, it’s a great time to be outdoors and get in shape — whether you’re a runner or not.

The Triple Crown of Running is a harbinger of spring and Derby, so get up and get out and enjoy the season.

The 2012 Triple Crown of Running race schedule:

  • March 3rd, Anthem 5K Fitness Classic
    Start Time: 8 a.m.
  • March 17th, Rodes City Run 10K
    Start Time: 8 a.m.
  • March 31st, Papa John’s 10 Miler
    Start Time: 8 a.m.

Night At The Museum

The WHAS Crusade For Children hosted  its annual Oscar Night at the Kentucky Derby Museum on Feb. 26.

The event, emceed by WHAS11 anchor Melissa Swan and Terry Meiners, was a dressy affair benefitting the Crusade For Children.

Photos by Bill Wine | Contributing Photographer

Click here to purchase photos.

Click here to purchase photos.

John Calipari Is Sitting Pretty On Cats Perch

John Calipari has  lucked out! Has he ever!

There are reasons why his Kentucky Wildcats are the nation’s No. 1 team.

First, he is lucky to have excellent players who get along, don’t gripe about playing time and don’t want to fight either foes or teammates. Those two things are important and help the cohesion of the team-first Wildcats.

If any Wildcat ever had reason to complain, it’s Darius Miller (a senior!). He would deserve to start on any other team in America, but he doesn’t complain and has saved the Wildcats in several games. He deserves the biggest applause of any senior to whom Cat fans have ever said goodbye.

Remember this, Miller could be the most valuable Wildcat in the NCAA Tournament.

Anthony Davis is simply amazing. He has the prettiest hook shot of any Wildcat since Cliff Hagan.

Davis can put the ball on the floor and dribble to the basket with the dexterity of a guard, which he was some of his high school years.

Davis and the late Bill Spivey are the two best defensive centers Kentucky has ever had.

And the same thing could be said about the offensive talent of both big guys.

Peach Basket History

It’s true that when Dr. Naismith invented  basketball, the Canadian physical education professor at Springfield College in Massachusetts really did nail a peach basket to the wall with  a bottom in the basket.

He didn’t think there would be many athletes who would be so adept at shooting the ball in the basket. He was right for a time, but finally some sharpshooters developed.

That meant that Dr. Naismith had to do away with his ladder that he climbed each time to extract the ball.

Finally someone suggested that the basket should have its bottom removed.

And now we have shooters who can make at least one out of three shots no matter how far away from the basket they are.

It has become a shooters’ game.

How important are shooting skills?

I heard a conversation at the State Tournament one year between two of our greatest high school coaches, Letcher Norton of Clark County and Ralph Carlisle of Lafayette.

They were talking about a team that they knew was destined to win the state championship.

Said Carlisle, “Letch,  you and I know more basketball than that other coach will ever know but when his players were born,  God made sure that they would be good shooters and that’s why that team is so good?”

I thought about that conversation last week when I watched Louisville’s most adept shooter, Kyle Kuric, suffer through a miserable game at Cincinnati in which he connected on zero shots in 12 tries!

A few days earlier in Chicago, Kuric couldn’t miss. But against the Bearcats, he couldn’t  hit a single field goal. He played 37 minutes, more than any other Cardinal, and finished with just four free throws!

It’s a funny game, this basketball.

But it also is fun, so let’s switch to some happy stories.

A Different Coach

You would like for your son to play for Chris O’Bryan at East Jessamine High School near Nicholasville, just south of Lexington.

Mike Fields, whose Lexington Herald-Leader columns are a must for high school fans, passes along this story:

At each Senior Night at East Jessamine, O’Bryan lets his team manager suit up for a game.

This year it was manager Kevin Courtney. The coach says it’s a reward for all the hard work managers do.

When the coach put Courtney in, the manager got to shoot a free throw—and he made it to loud cheering!

“Brings a tear to the eye every time,” the coach said.

I’ve known a lot of teams whose managers could out-shoot any of the players because the managers get a lot of time to shoot.

Varsity Fish Catchers

Notice that I didn’t say fisherMEN, because both boys and girls will be able to be members of varsity teams when the Kentucky High School Athletic Association starts bass fishing as a varsity sport for both boys and girls.

I think that’s great, and I thought about calling my buddy, Commissioner Julian Tackett, and ask what’s  next, tiddly-winks or pinball?

Tiny Schools Live!

Buckhorn, a small Perry County school, knocked out much bigger Perry County Central from tournament play.

Making The Illegal Legal

“But happily ever after fails. And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales.”
­— Bruce Hornsby and Don Henley

Even though I grew up in a community run by organized crime, the lines between what was legal and what was illegal were very clear.

Drug pushing was illegal. Loan sharking was illegal. Bribing politicians was illegal.

People did all three,  but knew they could go to jail.

Things are different now.

My perception of drug pushers has always been of gun-toting street dealers and drug lords.

In other words, characters right out of Scarface and New Jack City.

Now the way to get “the really good stuff” is to go to a pain management clinic.

People spend a few minutes and lots of money to get a “physical.”

They skip insurance and pay the clinic with cash or a credit card.

The “medical staff” will then arrange for you to get you a large order of the highly addictive pain medicines prescribed by the clinic doc.  You can often get the prescription filled right at the clinic.

It’s a great deal for the addict — one-stop shopping and no chance of being arrested for possession.

It’s not illegal if it was prescribed by a doctor.

It’s also a great way to die at a young age.

Several years ago, I set up a structured settlement and a trust for a young woman who had been in an accident.

We tied up a large amount of money but I went along with giving her $10,000 to supposedly pay off her credit cards.

She took the $10,000 and bought methadone to party with her friends. She overdosed and died the same day I gave her the money.

28 years old.

It haunted me then and will haunt me forever.

It taught me never to give a client that much cash and it taught me to hate pain management clinics.

Clinics are perfectly legal.

In Kentucky, you don’t even have to be a doctor to own one. I suspect the legislature will fix that loophole, as it’s hard to believe that a business handing out narcotics can be owned by non-medical people.

I’m not a lawyer, but would love to own a law firm.

I’d like to own a plumbing contracting firm but not be a licensed plumber. I’d like to own a real estate firm but am not a licensed realtor.

None of those options are available to me. But owning a pain management clinic is.

A similar story can be said for another illegal activity turned legitimate: payday lending.

A few years ago, I coined the phrase, “Legalized loan sharking” since it’s impossible for me to see how payday lenders differ from the loan sharks of my youth.

Unlike pain management clinics, my state legislature, like many others, has not been inclined to do anything to stop the payday lenders.

Gary Rivlin’s book, Broke USA, is a wonderful account of how big money is made in the poverty industry.

On one hand, I become horrified when I see how much money the payday lenders give in contributions.

On the other hand, I like knowing who is getting what and where that money is coming from.

The rise of the “Super PAC” concept makes it harder to find that out.

The United States Supreme Court gave the political process to Wall Street by allowing corporations to make unlimited campaign contributions.

If we want to occupy anywhere, the Supreme Court is a good place to start.

A horrible five-to-four decision could completely take government away from individuals.

There was a time, not long ago, when corporate campaign contributing was a felony, with possible jail time.

The late New York Yankees’ owner, George Steinbrenner, was convicted of a felony when Richard Nixon’s campaign shook him down for a corporate contribution in 1972.

Jimmy Breslin’s great book, How the Good Guys Finally Won:  Notes from an Impeachment Summer,  talked about how Nixon’s crew put the squeeze on Steinbrenner and others like him.

Imagine what the Watergate folks could do now?

With Super PACs allowing corporations to give unlimited amounts to fund campaigns, the big corporations control the political process, particularly at the presidential level.

The big growth opportunities in the economy come from taking something that everyone assumed was illegal and making it legal.

As a society, it would seem logical that we would want drug pushing, loan sharking and corporate influence peddling to stop.

At the very least, we could go back to making it against the law.

Don McNay, who lives in Richmond, Ky., is an award-winning financial columnist for Huffington Post Contributor. You can learn more about him at www.donmcnay.com.

Words Matter, But Money Talks

Your Voice Contributor

Words matter, but with each passing day, money is doing more of the talking in our elections.

We can credit the scores of people protesting economic inequity as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement for the term “1 percent,” simple shorthand for the message that the wealth gaps in our country must be addressed.

And we can thank journalist Ari Berman for “the .0000063 percent,” a term that refers to the 196 people who donated almost 80 percent of the money raised by secretive outside groups during last year’s elections.

Call it the influence gap.

While the .0000063 percent isn’t exactly slogan material, it is a good encapsulation of why we must reform our campaign finance system — starting now.
Each member of the .0000063 percent has given at least $100,000 to a “Super PAC.”

Ushered in by the 2010 Speechnow.org v. FEC court decision, Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money to advocate for the election  or, more likely, the defeat of a candidate in a federal campaign.

Such prolific and exclusive electioneering was amplified by another disastrous court decision.

The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision said that corporations have the same rights as people and can spend unlimited general treasury funds to influence elections.
Together, the two decisions reversed a century of campaign finance law that, while flawed, at least maintained basic limits on special interest money in politics.

By affirming that money equals speech, the courts effectively wrote off the 99.9999937 percent – those who don’t have access to millions of dollars to spend on campaigns.

The nonpartisan, nonpolitical Congressional Research Service reported that outside groups spent 400 percent more in the 2010 elections than in 2006.
In the past two years, Super PACs raised approximately $181 million.

The most recent FEC filings show that more than 80 percent of donations to presidential Super PACs have been of $100,000 or more.

Now, outside spending is up more than 1,200 percent from the last presidential campaign cycle, and it’s still climbing.

Advocates for Citizens United, including the majority of the Supreme Court, argue that because it takes money to buy political advertising and get your message out, spending money is equal to protected speech.

They assert that a corporation spending millions of dollars opposing a candidate who does not support their policy objections is not inherently corrupt.

I disagree entirely. I don’t know a single member of Congress running against a viable opponent who is not afraid of an avalanche of Super PAC-funded attack ads.

Their effect on the campaign trail is fairly obvious, but the prospect of Super PAC opposition carries influence in the halls of Congress as well.

Strengthening disclosure rules is key to mitigating the harmful effects of Citizens United and Speechnow, and I recently cosponsored legislation — the DISCLOSE 2012 Act — to require far more accountability for those who seek to influence our elections.

The legislation would also require leaders and top financial contributors of Super PACs to be disclosed in their ads.

Super PACs only report contributions every three months, and many of their contributions are anonymous. That is woefully inadequate in our technological age, and it suggests that citizens are being denied even the basic tools to understand the well-funded messages targeted at them during campaigns.

But we must do more.

In December, I introduced a constitutional amendment to mitigate the effects of unrestricted spending on campaigns.

The amendment establishes that financial expenditures and in-kind contributions do not qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment.

By establishing that money does not equal speech, this legislation allows Congress to regulate federal campaign finance without a constitutional challenge under Citizens United.

It also enables Congress to establish a public financing system that would serve as the sole source of funding for federal elections.

Until we get big money out of politics and close the influence gap, the average American has no voice, drowned out by the bullhorns of the .0000063 percent.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, represents Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District. To learn more about overturning Citizens United, visit his website at Yarmuth.house.gov, or follow him on Twitter @RepJohnYarmuth.

Dressed Behavior at The Academy Awards 2012

All the stars aligned Sunday night for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Oscar night is for recognizing excellence in film, however the ceremony has become more popular for its amazing red carpet. Celebs gussy up in their best threads to attend this historic event. Fashion has definitely become the focal-point.

Dressed Behavior presents to you, the Best Dressed at this years Oscars! As any gentleman knows — its ladies first. And the winners are…

Jennifer Lopez was stunning in a silver, floor length Zuhair Murad dress.

Angelina Jolie strikes a bold pose in black, velvet Versace.

Best Actress Nom, Viola Davis illuminated in emerald toned Vera Wang.

Stacy Keibler  shines in this metallic gold, Marchesa strapless.

Pharell Williams adds edge with velvet piping and vintage bow.

JC Chander offers a fresh take on black tie in a navy slim.

Zachary Quinto opted for black with navy, rounded lapel and slim bow.

Academy Award Winner, Sean Combs wears well tailored, Sean John classic.

For a complete list of the winners, visit the official website at www.oscars.com.