THE HIGH PRIEST OF THE BIG BLUE – Kentucky Basketball, Music, Comedy


The Shillito Elves Move to Kentucky


The Shillito Elves

The other day, I asked my mamma what happened to the Shillito Elves in Cincinnati.  What?  You don’t know about the Shillito Elves and Santa’s Workshop?  Curses!  I’ll tell ya all about it.

As a kid, going to Cincinnati to see Santa’s Workshop at the old Shillito’s department store was the shit!  We started working on our letter’s to Santa right after Thanksgiving, then a couple of weeks later we would go to the big city and go and see the Elves make toys and commence to renderin’ in general mayhem in the North Pole.  We walked through this huge Christmas display of little robotic elves working hard.  At one point you would drop your letter in the mailbox and you would see it hit the conveyor belt and the elves would make sure it got into a postal bag.  Then at the end,  you had your chance to see Santa Claus.  Hey, 3-4, 5 years old…this was a big deal.

The display came to life in 1979 and it featured over 130 elves.  And the elves were not restricted to just the display itself.  The elves were street level in the display windows. Throughout the eighties, the elves were the real deal. You would see the elves, then go over to CG&E to the train display, and then do all kinds of Christmassy (is that a word?) around Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, in 1997, the elves were packed up as the department store moved (at that point, it was Lazarus). What a disappointment that elves were no longer.  How the hell could somebody rip this away from my childhood!?  I guess it was a part of growing up.  However….boom!  A little research, and hot damn! I found the elves.

The elves were then purchased by two Boy Scouts troops and they set up the display.  Sad to say at that point There were only 75 elves left, but they endured! The elves soon found themselves looking for a new home as they were almost shipped to Louisville.  NOOOOO!!!!  However, a Christmas miracle happened.  A man by the name of Bill Spinnenweber purchased the display at auction, and the elves were saved from being exiled to Louisiville.  In an interview with one of the elves (who remained nameless), he told me “The last place we wanted to go was Louisville, Kentucky. We were born in Cincinnati, and loved Kentucky Basketball. Cincinnati Basketball never did it for us.  And we loved the Reds and Bengals.  So it made no sense for us to go to Louisville.” 

Spinnenweber set up the display for 7 years in Mariemont, Ohio.  Two years ago, another Christmas miracle Shillto Elveshappened in which the elves found a new glorious home in Kentucky.  Further comments from the nameless elf: “Obviously, we were thrilled that we were going to move to Kentucky and be in the Big Blue Nation. Cincinnati is our home, but we feel just as home with these news digs on Newport on the Levee and with the good folks of Kentucky.  It could not have worked out any better.”

The displays were constructed by the original team with some new members to keep this great Cincinnati tradition alive for youngsters and families.

Below, here are some videos about the Shillito Elves, their great history, and their big move to Newport on the Levee.

For more info on the elves,

Mr. Spinnenweber, I thank you for keeping this tradition alive.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to the Big Blue Nation

Well, here we are about putting the cap on 2013 and we’ll bust it right open in 2014.  Merry Christmas to the Big Blue Nation and the rest of ya’ll.  As I was digging through my archives, I found these old UK programs and thought it would be cool to share with you. I love the vintage advertising, the creative covers, and yes, the beer advertisements in the programs. Shocking that they had beer advertising in the ole programs.

1981 UKITAnd yes, you will notice that these programs are from the UKIT in the eighties.  The UKIT was a 4 team holiday tournament in December.  I remember going to them as a young Wildcat fan, and I thought it was the best!  The UKIT was usually two weeks/a week before Christmas and it was like you were on sensitivity overload.  I remember seeing the Christmas trees lit up in the Civic Center, Victorian Square and Festival Market. Your heard Christmas carols, saw Santa Claus dressed in a blue suit, and you got to see the Wildcats in action!  As a little kid, this stuff was a big deal. And I would go back home in good ole Northern Kentucky and tell all my friends.  For some reason, it was difficult for them to wrap the minds around basketball and Christmas.  Regardless, I loved it!

The UKIT was started back in 1953 as the Wildcats took on Duke in the inaugural tournament. The Cats pulled out a victory 85-69 over the Blue Devils.  The next night, the Cats defeated LaSalle, 73-60.  Some of the teams that came to Rupp to play in the UKIT:  Duke, Ohio State, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Army, Navy, and Indiana.

Overall, the CATS were 64-10 in the UKIT, and there were some team that got the best of the Cats.  12/21/55 Dayton was #4 in the nation and defeated #7 Kentucky, 89-74. West Virginia ended up beating the Cats twice within a two year span.  12/20/57, the Mountaineers defeated the Cats in the first round, 77-70.  The Cats got their revenge in the 1958 UKIT Championship game on the Mountaineers with a 97-91 win.  The following year in the UKIT, West Virgina defeated the Cats in the championship game, 79-70.

The final UKIT came on 12/23/89 as the Cats took on the Ragin’ Cajuns from SW Louisiana.  And what a finale!  1989-90 was Rick Pitino’s first year as the coach of the Wildcats.  A skinny pasty white kid from Paintsville, Kentucky by the name of John Pelphry poured in 24.  Another Kentucky kid, Derron Feldhaus gave the Cats 17.   Feldhaus also led the Cats with 10 rebounds. Derrick Miller was great that night with 19 and Reggie Hanson chipped in 13,  unfortunately, the Cats went down to defeat in an overtime classic, 116-113.

With recent criticism of students not filling seats in Rupp and the attendance numbers being UKIT 2down, why not bring back the UKIT?  Fans complain that home schedule is weak.  Well here is a way to bulk it up a bit at home.  It does get a little old seeing lesser competition come into Rupp, but you know what?  Some of that lesser competition has provided a couple of entertaining games this season.  Boise State and Belmont.  Cal talks about preparing a young team for March.  Here is your chance.  Play 2 games in 2 days.  Hell, invite some of the in-state schools.  EKU, WKU, Morehead, Georgetown, Transy, NKU, Murray.  You want to talk about creating a buzz?  You want to talk about putting fans in the stands?  You want to generate some excitement with Rupp?

Bring back the UKIT.

What the hell do I know though.  I’m just a UK fan reminiscing about what the holiday season meant to me as a young Wildcat fan.

Merry Christmas.

On the 12th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave to Me…

Twelve DIO albums, mix or match!


Tonight at the stroke of midnight…we unleash the 12 Days of Dio holiday song!

On the 11th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave To Me…

Devil Horns a poppin!

Devil Horns a poppin!


Devil Horns a poppin!

Some great history behind the devil horns, but as it pertains to music…

From Wikipedia.

The 1969 back album cover for Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls on Mercury Records by Chicago-based psychedelic-occult rock band Coven, led by singer Jinx Dawson, pictured Coven band members giving the “sign of the horns” correctly and included a Black Mass poster showing members at a ritual making the sign. Starting in early 1968, Coven concerts always began and ended with Jinx giving the sign on stage.

On the cover of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine album (1969), the cartoon of John Lennon’s right hand is making the sign above Paul McCartney’s head. For many fans, this was one of the many “Paul is dead” clues. Some may think it is possible that the cartoonist misrepresented the sign for “I love you”, which is very similar and more in keeping with the band’s public message and image. However, the 1969 cartoon is based on many photos of John Lennon making the hand sign in 1967. One of these photos of Lennon doing the hand sign appears on the cover of a Beatles single release shortly after, making it the first time the hand sign appears on a rock release.

In 1977 Gene Simmons [1] of KISS [2], does the “sign” on the cover of Love Gun [3], band’s 6th studio album. Simmons is the person who did the “sign” and still does it on or off stage.

Beginning in the early 1970s, the horns were known as the “P-Funk sign” to fans of Parliament-Funkadelic. It was used by George Clinton and Bootsy Collins as the password to the Mothership,[7] a central element in Parliament’s science-fiction mythology, and fans used it in return to show their enthusiasm for the band. Collins is depicted showing the P-Funk sign on the cover of his 1977 album Ahh… The Name Is Bootsy, Baby! Frank Zappa can be seen jokingly making the gesture in the 1979 film Baby Snakes in response to the audience, commenting, “That’s right, spindle twice.”

Ronnie James Dio making the sign at a Heaven and Hell concert.

Ronnie James Dio was known for popularizing the sign of the horns in heavy metal.[7][8] He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Southern Italy as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known at using the “peace” sign at concerts, raising the index and middle finger in the form of a V. Dio, in an attempt to connect with the fans, wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made.[9] The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath’s first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans under the name “maloik”, a corruption of the original malocchio.

Terry “Geezer” Butler of Black Sabbath can be seen “raising the horns” in a photograph taken in 1971.[citation needed] This would indicate that the “horns” and their association with metal occurred much earlier than Ronnie James Dio suggests. The photograph is included in the CD booklet of the Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970–1978 compilation album.

From a 2001 interview with Ronnie James Dio on – “I want to ask you about something people have asked you about before but will no doubt continue to talk about, and that is the sign created by raising your index and little finger. Some call it the “evil eye.” I would like to know if you were the first one to introduce this to the metal world and what this symbol represents to you?”
R.J. Dio – “I doubt very much if I would be the first one who ever did that. That’s like saying I invented the wheel, I’m sure someone did that at some other point. I think you’d have to say that I made it fashionable. I used it so much and all the time and it had become my trademark until the Britney Spears audience decided to do it as well. So it kind of lost its meaning with that. But it was…. I was in Sabbath at the time. It was a symbol that I thought was reflective of what that band was supposed to be all about. It’s NOT the devil’s sign like we’re here with the devil. It’s an Italian thing I got from my Grandmother called the “Malocchio”. It’s to ward off the Evil Eye or to give the Evil Eye, depending on which way you do it. It’s just a symbol but it had magical incantations and attitudes to it and I felt it worked very well with Sabbath. So I became very noted for it and then everybody else started to pick up on it and away it went. But I would never say I take credit for being the first to do it. I say because I did it so much that it became the symbol of rock and roll of some kind.”

On the 10th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave to Me…

Master of the Moon.

The tenth and final album of Dio, Master of the Moon…well first, the album cover is the coolest!  The metal master himself put together a fine effort for his last album.  Slow, dark and gloomy rhythms haunt this album in a true masterpiece of RJD’s career.

At times, Master of the Moon gets a little slow.  Hey, it’s DIO!  He can do anything he wants!  The title track is a great start with some great guitar work, and “End of the World” is a strong second cut.  Other standouts are “Death by Love” and the finale, “In Dreams.”

Give Master of the Moon a few spins before you fully come to a conclusion on it.  Trust me.  It will grow on ya!

CATS vs. Belmont

The final tune-up before Christmas break and the final game before the much-anticipated Louisville game, Belmont came into Rupp with something to prove. That it just wasn’t a fluke that Belmont had beat North Carolina on their home court. First half I was little worried along with the rest of the BBN.

Enter Julius Randle.

The BEAST that dominated in the early part of the season and then took some hits in the game last weekend against UNC, came back with a vicious attack with a career 29 points and 10 rebounds. Dude’s 9th double-double this year.

The pesky Belmont Bruins led pretty much the entire 1st half, and increased the lead to 11. Finally in the second half, that CATS mounted a come back thanks to the bench. Alex Poythress, Jarrod Polson and Dominque Hawkins gave great effort, and the CATS needed it. Missing their first seven 3-point attempts, Jarrod Polson finally knocked on down at the 8:14 mark in the 1st half. Hawkins came of the bench and was essential in his 22 minutes of play. Don’t let his stat line fool you: 2 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds, but his play away from the ball and helping distribute the ball inside to the big fellows was crucial. Alex Poythress, who has received much criticism this year for being MIA, put together a decent line of 7 points and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes.

Shooting from the 3-point line was horrendous. 21% for the game, but going inside in the 2nd half proved to be more successful. 55% overall from the field works though. 52-34 advantage in the paint helped fueled the Wildcats to victory. Randle’s dominant inside play, and Willie Cauley-Stein’s contribution of 16 points and 7 rebounds proved to be a lethal combination. And not be outdone, Aaron Harrison has finally started coming into his own with another great game. 23 points and 7 assists from Aaron.

Now for the bad stuff. 3-point shooting was disgusting. Free throw shooting…um, 26-36. Seemed like they missed more, but the games that the CATS lost, just hitting those few extra free throws would helped us down the stretch. Hit four more in the game, that stat looks better. Make em! And Andrew Harrsion, despite being in foul trouble…no assists. We need more from him. Defensively, we need to guard the 3 better.

93-80. Good guys win!

Props to James Young on his dunk in the 2nd half! BEAST!!!!

Credit goes to Belmont for coming into Rupp and playing a hell of game. Scrappy little dudes who had no fear. Fun team to watch with Craig Bradshaw scoring 22 and Drew Windler chipping in 21. Dudes can flat-out hit some 3’s. A very entertaining game.

And the crowd was pretty electric too. For the first time this season, it the upper arena was filled up. Hard to believe. Why so you may ask? No students, which means more tickets are available to the general public. So it’s a good early Christmas gift for the fans that don’t get a chance to go to come and enjoy a game. However, with new fans coming to Rupp, they go nuts. “Gotta get a hotdog. Gotta get a Mt. Dew now! I can’t sit still and watch the game. Excuse me. Excuse me. I’m sorry.”

Stat of the game: 175 trips were made up and down the aisle in the first 8 minutes of the game by fans. That number went well over 200 by the end of the first half. I give up.

But I’m not giving up on the CATS and you shouldn’t either.

Big game next Saturday!

On The 9th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave Me…

Lock Up the Wolves

Lock Up the Wolves was Dio fifth studio album featuring a new lineup of Dio. Released in 1990, Lock Up the Wolves did not gain much attention on the charts, but has been held in high regard among fan critics. This album is a hodgepodge of all the great sounds that Ronnie incorporated in his previous works, including Elf, Black Sabbath and Rainbow. Recording at 47 years old, RJD’s vocals are very strong and the addition of 18-year-old guitar wiz-kid Rowan Robertson gives the instrumentation and extra punch.

In the Dio discography, it is a much overlooked album, but much appreciated in amongst the fans of DIO!

I mean come on, the artwork is badass!

On The 8th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave To Me…

Lonely is the Word!

“Lonely is the Word” is featured on Black Sabbath’s nineth album Heaven and Hell. This album was Ronnie James Dio’s first album as the new lead singer of Black Sabbath. And just for fun…it was Ozzy’s wife, Sharon, who introduced Dio and Tony Iommi in 1979. Dio was looking for a new project, and Iommi was looking for a new lead singer.

“Lonely is the Word” is highly regarded as one of the great stoner songs..huh…works for me.

Here is Sabbath as Heaven and Hell performing “Lonely is the Word”.

On the 7th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave To Me…

Heavy Metal vinyl!

When I say heavy metal, I mean the 1981 movie Heavy Metal. The film was an animation/fantasy movie based on science fiction stories from Heavy Metal magazine. Some fun notes about Heavy Metal, several animation production studios worked on the movie to speed up the process. And who is in Heavy Metal? Eugene Levy, John Candy, and Harold Ramis all lent their voices to the movie.

So what is the Dio connection? The soundtrack. The Heavy Metal soundtrack included cuts from Grand Funk Railroad, Devo, Blue Oyster Cut, Donald Fagan, Cheap Trick, Stevie Nicks, Journey and Black Sabbath. At the time of its production/release, Ronnie James Dio was the lead singer of Black Sabbath. Sabbath’s contribution was a track from their Mob Rules album. The Dio written track, The Mob Rules, was featured in the movie. Mob Ruleswas also Dio’s first album with Black Sabbath.

Here is a partial scene from the movie in which The Mob Rules.

Here is RJD and Heaven and Hell performing The Mob Rules.

On The 6th Day of Dio, Ronnie Gave To Me


Enuff said!


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