Hot! This Just In – The Wurst of 2015

Looking back at 2015, it was another good year for sports, and Vegas

Looking back at 2015, it was another good year for sports, and Vegas

Just when you thought I’d forget to post a blog covering the last 12 months, I finally figured out this site had been hacked, and, after thousands of dollars later, have it back up and running. So here we go with a look back at 2015, at least from what I can remember.

The Packers blew it.

The Packers blew it.

January – Everyone was winning in Wisconsin in January; the Bucks were winning, Barry Alvarez and his football team won a bowl game in overtime against Auburn, the Badger basketball team was cruising, and the Packers were poised for another trip to the Super Bowl. (Okay, I’ll take some of that that back, the Badger hockey team was not winning, and they never did).  However, as I was saying, the Packers had the Seagulls all but beaten to a pulp when the unimaginable transpired.  Green Bay became unhinged at the Link in Seattle. Point as many fingers as you want at Brian Bostick, Ron Zook, Julius Peppers, Mike McCarthy or even a gimpy Aaron Rodgers, but it was flat out one of the greatest chokes of all time that sent the Tiger  Woods of football, Russell Wilson, and his teammates into Super Bowl 49. Fortunately for Packers fans, Wilson delivered an inexplicable interception at the worst possible moment to let good ‘ol Bill Belichick and Tom Brady parade around with another Lombardi trophy.

February – The guy that hired me 17 years ago, David Armstrong, retires, I took his management position, and the rest they say, is history. Or, the rest, as it is, is 60 hour work weeks and less time for blogging.  Anyway, February came and went without much fanfare, unless, of course, you count Valentine’s Day as a holiday. I don’t. The Badger basketball team pushed its record to 22-2. As is tradition, I attended the 2015 Musky Expo with 2 guys that know a lot about fishing. I spent hundreds of dollars once again on lures and, once again, none of them worked.

March – Wisconsin’s Basketball team wins the BIG10 tournament with a thrilling 80-69 overtime win against Michigan State, setting the stage for an improbable back-to-back Final Four run.  Frank Kaminsky is named the National Player Of The Year. Yes, Frank Kaminsky. The Badgers deliver on all their promises, beating Arizona in the West Regional Final to set up a mammoth game with undefeated Kentucky. Wisconsin’ record is a mind numbing 35-3.

The Badgers blew it to cap off March Madness

The Badgers blew it to cap off March Madness

April – The Badgers upset Kentucky, 71-64, then lose on April 6th to Grayson Allen and five other Duke players. After leading by nine points with 13 minutes to play, Bo Ryan is out coached by Coach K and the Badgers fall, 68-63.  It is at this moment Ryan, realizing five of his players are off to the NBA and Europe, contemplates retiring.

They say hope springs eternal with the return of Major League baseball, however, in the case of the forlorn Milwaukee Brewers, the opposite happens. In their 46th season, the Brew-Ha’s get out the gate by starting 5-17 in April, thus ending the season.  Millions of fans continue to flock to Miller Park however, apparently content to pay top dollar to tailgate on asphalt for a day rather than witness the travesty going on inside the ball park.


Old guys watching bad baseball

Old guys watching bad baseball

May –  My wife, Cyndi, runs a half marathon in Door County on May 1st. It’s a beautiful part of the state, especially at that time of year, when most of the Illinois residents are still slumbering in the flatlands.  American Pharaoh wins the Kentucky Derby that Saturday, foreshadowing the Triple Crown victory that happens later in the year.  Floyd Mayweather Wins the Nyquil boxing title with a 12 round snoozer over Filipno congressman Manny Pacquiao on the same day, foreshadowing the end of boring boxing, when Money May says he’ll retire soon.

The Wig ran a half marathon, but first she had some carbs.

The Wig ran a half marathon, but first she had some carbs.

June – A warm, wet Spring has accelerated the grass growing season, and my 28 year old mower. Old Red, is showing signs of being overworked. I chalk it up as just another sign of old age, and continue to run him ragged.  The Brewers continue to set new records of ineptitude, (now 31-48), Brat Fest comes and goes without much fanfare, and I lose another 40″ plus musky.

Old Red passed away at age 28

Old Red makes an emergency trip to the Middleton Power Center


July – The highlight of 2015 happens when a human cannonball is shot into Lake Monona during the Shake The Lake festival held at Monona Terrace. This is, perhaps, the greatest promotional stunt of all time. Late in July,I’m subjected to another evening of Concerts On The Square (hopefully my last), but with a trip to Vegas just weeks away, there is light at the end of my cannon, er, tunnel.

On July 23rd, we begin attending a string of Classic Rock concerts that were worth every dollar; Elvis Costello and The Imposters (Overture Center 7/23), Steely Dan (Ravinia, Chicago, 7/24) and Aerosmith, (MGM Grand Garden Arena, Vegas, 8/1). Costello plays for nearly three hours and delivers the best performance all three.

The highlight of 2015 - a human cannonball into Lake Monona

The highlight of 2015 – a human cannonball into Lake Monona

August –   I get a chance to see the Packers practice up close and personal on August 17th, courtesy of the Packer Radio Network. They look great in a preseason workout under stormy skies but the practice is cut short by a torrential downpour.  It’s a sign of things to come, the preseason NFC Super Bowl favorites lose Jordy Nelson the next week to a knee injury, and their formally high powered offense never recovers. Cyndi and I return from 7 nights in Vegas, proving that, yes, even in our 50’s we can survive in 110 temps without too many hangovers. Perhaps a retirement destination?

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino held up in 110 degree heat and humidity

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino held up in 110 degree heat and humidity

September –  The Badger football team opened the season with a trip to Jerry’s Palace In Arlington, Texas where new head coach Paul Chryst discovered what it’s like to coach in the NFL – against a professional football team.  The Tide rolled, 35-17, no surprise, and none of our party got kicked out of the palatial stadium.

The Packers opened their season with a convincing 27-17 win over Seattle at home, and who knows, as of this writing, they may meet again in 2 weeks.

The Brewers forgettable season comes an unceremonious close, finishing with a paltry 68-94 record, setting the stage for four more years of “rebuilding” under their new general manager, 14 year old David Stearns.

Beloved Old Red, my 28 year Toro mower, dies unexpectedly on September 7th. Authorities are still investigating the cause of death.

Classic Rock ruled - Elvis Costello, Steely Dan and Aerosmith - in 10 days.

Classic Rock ruled – Elvis Costello, Steely Dan and Aerosmith – in 10 days.

Wisconsin - Alabama at Jerry's Palace

Wisconsin – Alabama at Jerry’s Palace

October – The Badger football team rattles off a 4-1 record in October, the only blemish coming at home in an embarrassing loss to arch rival Iowa, 10-6.  The Cubs advance to the NLCS only to get punked by a guy named Murphy, proving once again that no matter how talented a team they can assemble in Chicago, they are forever doomed from advancing to or winning a World Series.

Meanwhile, back in the neighborhood, we serve 157 Trick or Treaters, setting a new Apprentice Lane record.  None of the children live in our neighborhood.

Halloween - cats dig it

Halloween – cats dig it


November –  Cyndi drags me to New Orleans for my birthday. It proves to be a great idea; we tour the World War II Museum, visit the Garden District, hang at the Gumbo Fest and watch the Packers inexplicably lose to the Lions, at Lambeau, at Deuce McAllister’s sports bar . We survive the dilapidated streets of the French Quarter without any sprained ankles, and set a record for laps on the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone.

(On a sad note, David Armstrong, the man who I replaced at work, passes away suddenly on November 30th, after a long battle with a rare lung disease).

New Orleans has never looked better

New Orleans has never looked better

December –  It’s time for the annual December adventure to Vegas, and I’ve enlisted my good friend Tim Oesterle to placate my need for another trip to the desert.  The weekend starts with a shot of Ass Nog at the Double Down Saloon and ends with a phenomenal steak dinner at the Golden Steer on the anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday.  In between we play 60 hours of video poker, watch Marquette humble the Badgers, and the Packers dump the Cowboys.  Speaking of Cowboys, it was the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) week in Vegas, and Tim wins the friendly over wager on 150 cowboy hat sightings.

Everything came up Aces during a December weekend in Vegas

Everything came up Aces during a December weekend in Vegas

The Badger football team capped a great first season (10-3) under Paul Chryst with a 23-21 victory over USC in the Holiday Bowl on December 30th ( the game ended early on NY Eve).

On the flip side, Bo Ryan called it quits after a sloppy victory over Texas A & M Corpus Christi, leaving interim head coach Greg Gard with a 7-4 team featuring 8 freshmen.  All sorts of interesting rumors are still  floating around concerning Ryan’s decision to retire, but you can bet the program will not finish 4th or better in the BIG10 this season, in fact, they will probably miss the NCAA tournament altogether.

On that winning note, I’ll still admit that 2015 was light years ahead of a disastrous 2014.

As my mentor at iHeartMedia, Tim Etes, likes to say, you control what you can control. With that in mind, I’ll continue to concentrate on the positive and stay as focused as I can in 2016.

And, for Heaven’s sake, Go Pack Go!

And For What

(Rest In Peace David Armstrong, who passed away on November 30th. Heaven is a much cooler place now with “Army” and his corvette around).




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