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Who’s the band…

Who’s the band…

Last Thursday, at my wife’s urging (Happy Birthday!), we saw Josh Ritter perform at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Although I didn’t know any of Josh Ritter’s songs (not really my style) going into the evening…I must admit, I had a really great time at the show and enjoyed seeing a concert in a smaller venue like the Fillmore (capacity is only 1,150 people).

The Fillmore has TONS of history behind it, but one of the aspects that I found rather interesting (and that my wife pointed out) was that the Fillmore is also well known for its concert posters by artists. Copies of the night’s poster are given to fans free of charge as they exit shows (for some reason, I didn’t take a Josh Ritter poster on my way out of the show…and my wife let me hear all about it).

A collection of all these posters (thousands) is also on display in the auditorium today…we tried to view the collection after the show, but to no avail (this will be a must on our next trip). Other quirky traditions that are carried on at the Fillmore is a large tub of free apples for concert goers positioned near the entrance along with a greeter who welcomes each guest as they enter…Welcome to the Fillmore!

While waiting for Josh Ritter to go on stage, my mind started to race. The following picture that I captured reminded me of something…

Who's the band?

Who’s the band?

Back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, Miller Genuine Draft had a Blind Date promotion going on in which bands that typically played in large stadiums would now perform for small audiences in intimate club settings (Large Bands – Small Clubs – Big Mystery…was the slogan). These Blind Date promotions took place in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. While MGD ran an exhaustive slate of national TV, print, and radio ads, as well as tie-ins with bars and restaurants…I can’t for the life of me (or the Internet, which I find hard to believe) find any of these ads. But the quote…who’s the band?…I remember being all over radio and television (mainly because I wanted to be one of those lucky people).

On our drive home, I got to thinking (again, scary)…was the Fillmore used for this MGD Blind Date promotion? Well, look what I found here (this time, the Internet does win)…

The Foo Fighters!

The Foo Fighters!

Yes, the Foo Fighters (relative new comers at the time) performed at the Fillmore as part of the MGD Blind Date promotion…and of course, here’s the poster from that July 18th, 1997 evening (it was a Friday). That had to be one of the coolest moments in any concert goers overall music experience (the lucky few that actually saw it)…but, as always, there is someone that is tough to please…and in this case, a Dave Matthews fan strikes again!

Other MGD Blind Date gigs that I could find (through exhaustive research) included: Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Creed (come on, really?!), David Bowie (RIP), Incubus, Third Eye Blind, and Stone Temple Pilots (also RIP).

Please, Miller Genuine Draft, bring this promotion back! And an MGD sounds like the beverage of choice this evening. Cheers!

 

 

Now what…

Now what…

On Saturday night, as Larry Fitzgerald walked into the end zone for the game’s winning score, a sick feeling passed through my entire body (and no, it wasn’t my alcohol consumption). This feeling, was the same feeling I had a almost a year ago, to the day, when the Packers lost a different type of heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship. This is a pain…that takes longer and longer to recover from with each passing season (and also, probably the reason why I am finally getting around to this post today).

As a Packers fan, I invest A LOT into a season (some would say too much), but the Green Bay Packers are a part of me…always have, and always will be (I am an owner). To me, the Packers (and all sports for that matter) are the greatest dose of reality that this world has to offer (it’s also a great escape from the daily grind going on around us). Going into this season, it felt like destiny for the Packers (and me) as Super Bowl L (ahem, 50) would be held in (kind of nearby…depending of traffic, of course) Santa Clara, California, but as things would have it…it just wasn’t meant to be. And while the season had many ups and downs along the way, there was always a part of me that continued to believe (although things were very bleak at times)…that the Packers would make their way to the Super Bowl.

Now that the season is over (and I try to recover), let’s look back at some of the pictures that helped define the 2015 Green Bay Packers.

I think everyone knew the Packers were in trouble when Jordy went down, but I don't think ANYONE believed they would struggle so much on offense without him. Here's hoping the Jordy of old returns next season.

I think everyone knew the Packers were in trouble when Jordy Nelson went down, but I don’t think ANYONE believed they would struggle so much on offense without him. Here’s hoping the Jordy of old returns next season.

 

6-0...it felt so great! While there were signs of struggles on offense, the winning definitely hid some of those issues. Going into the bye week at 6-0, everything seemed to be falling into place for a spot in Super Bowl L.

6-0…it felt so great! While there were signs of struggles on offense, the winning definitely hid some of those issues. Going into the bye week at 6-0, everything seemed to be falling into place for a spot in Super Bowl L.

 

Three straight losses and a home loss to, of all teams, the Lions. At this stage, the offensive struggles were real...evidence shown as Davante Adams couldn't catch a cold.

Three straight losses and a home loss to (of all teams) the lowly Lions (it was Detroit’s first win at Lambeau since 1991). At this stage, the offensive struggles were real…evidence shown as Davante Adams couldn’t catch a cold in this game despite 21 targets.

 

Losing at home, on Thanksgiving night, to the Bears, during Brett Favre's #4 retirement, with Bart Starr in the house...I still don't know how this happened.

Losing at home, on Thanksgiving night, to the Bears, during Brett Favre’s #4 retirement, with Bart Starr in attendance…I still don’t know how this happened.

 

The Packers were a complete dumpster fire in the early part of this game, but this Hail Mary had us forget all about it...and made us believe once again. This play is the definition of sports fandom.

The Packers were a complete dumpster fire in the early part of this game, but this Hail Mary on the last play of the game had us forget all about that…and made us believe, once again, that the Packers weren’t dead yet. This play, truly is, the definition of sports fandom.

 

After a brutal start, the offense came alive over the final three quarters to win on Wild Card Weekend and had us starting to believe again.

After a brutal 1st quarter, the offense came alive over the final three quarters to win on Wild Card Weekend, and gave us hope in their rematch with Arizona.

 

Another Hail Mary...and this time, to Jeff Janis (the People's Champion). It felt like destiny was on our side...until just moments later.

Another Hail Mary (INSANE as Al Michaels called it)…and this time, to Jeff Janis (the People’s Champion). It felt like destiny was on our side…until just moments later, and two separate plays by Fitzgerald.

 

Another wasted season?

Another wasted season…is the prime of Rodgers career flashing before our eyes?

 

So…now what? Where do the Green Bay Packers go from here. While I think (actually, I know) we all have opinions on a number of different decisions…we can probably expect (and wholeheartedly disagree) that the Packers will stick to their plan of course. As for us, the fans, the recovery process after a season like this (heck, just the Divisional game alone), will take some time. Unfortunately, this year, we don’t have the Wisconsin Badgers to take our minds of this loss…and the Milwaukee Bucks, while playing better lately, are still a long ways back from the 8th seed…and the Milwaukee Brewers, it will be a LONG time before they are even competitive again.

So, Green Bay Packers, while this offseason is sure to be long (for all of us)…here’s hoping that we are not in this exact same position AGAIN come next season. GET IT RIGHT!!!

Do-over…

Do-over…

According to Merriam-Webster, a do-over is…a new attempt or opportunity to do something after a previous attempt has been unsuccessful or unsatisfactory. The following organizations are getting an opportunity for a do-over or surely would like the chance at one…and badly.

The Green Bay Packers: Green Bay plays at Arizona in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Saturday night. In week 16, the Packers lost at Arizona 38-8…and the game really wasn’t even that close. So, can the Packers (7 point underdogs) pull off the upset…I highly doubt it (my expectations are still very low), BUT if Arizona’s Carson Palmer becomes Carson Hoyer (the Stave of the NFL), the Packers do have a legitimate chance. Palmer, in only 1+ career playoff games (he tore his ACL in the first quarter of his first career playoff start) has these playoff numbers…19 for 37 (51.35%), 212 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, and a passer rating of 66.5. Not exactly numbers that should strike fear in the Green Bay Packers, but Palmer just completed an MVP type season…342 for 537 (63.7%), 4671 yards, 35 TD/11 INT, and a passer rating of 104.6…so which Palmer will show up on Saturday night and can the Packers continue their offensive rhythm from last week…this is the suspense that is making this week SO long.

The Los Angeles Rams: The Rams are moving back to Los Angeles, and in my opinion, that is where they belong. The St. Louis Rams (in the NFC West) just didn’t make sense…besides, St. Louis is a baseball town with a little bit of hockey sprinkled in. Growing up, I enjoyed watching the LA Rams (Ram It!)…they were an exciting team to watch with the likes of Eric Dickerson, Jim (don’t call me Chris) Everett, Henry Ellard, Flipper Anderson, and Kevin Greene. Now that the Rams are going to call Los Angeles home again, I hope they go back to their old color scheme as well…a chance at a double do-over!

CLASSIC!

I love the classic look!

I also enjoyed this piece on the @LaraMS Twitter handle…sometimes you really can’t make this stuff up.

The WIAA: Oh boy, where do I even begin here. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the WIAA is getting absolutely pummeled in the PR department (it is the second time this week, where I was asked in California, what is wrong with Wisconsin…the other, Making a Murderer, of course). The WIAA’s fun started way back on December 22nd with a sportsmanship email to schools (Seasons Greetings¡). Then on January 4th, April Gehl took to the Twitterverse to express her opinion about said email…

IMG_3696

Last Friday (January 8th) a five-game suspension was handed down to Gehl and the WIAA hasn’t been the same ever since. Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) continues to pile on and Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) is going to have his take (One Big Thing) on SportsCenter tomorrow night (be sure to tune in).

While SO MUCH has already been discussed on this topic (ad nauseam), here is my final take (I hope)…

To the WIAA…lay off the Twitter (and all social media) for a LONG while…every time you have posted something in the past few days, you have been lambasted (and rightfully so)…as NO ONE is taking you seriously right now. Give this till at least March or April…by then, people will have already forgotten about this fiasco (or moved onto something else).

To Hilbert High School…you may want to look at your code of conduct. A five-game suspension for a tweet seems kind of harsh (is this the norm…what do other schools in your area have in place). Also, I hope you are having a good and thorough discussion with your entire student body on what is appropriate for social media. Kids will be kids…but let’s try to be more proactive in the future.

To April Gehl…your 15 minutes of fame are long passed. DELETE the tweet and move on with your high school career. Do you really want to be known as this girl for the rest of your life? We all make mistakes (especially as teenagers), but showing a little remorse may have gotten you less of a suspension (and a follow-up apology tweet is long overdue).

 

 

 

Blind QB Resume…

Blind QB Resume…

It’s time for America’s favorite game…Blind Quarterback Resume! The following 8 quarterbacks will be competing in this weekend’s Wild Card games. See if you can figure out who each quarterback is…as the numbers are based off the 2nd half of the season (8 games).

 

              Cmp/Att         Cmp%          Yards         TD/Int        Rating

QB 1:     173/235          73.62            2,212          19/2            126.1

QB 2:     168/249          67.47            2,146          25/2            124.3

QB 3:     137/202          67.82            1,517          11/4             99.8

QB 4:     79/119            66.39             854             6/2              97.1

QB 5:     143/215          66.51            1,561           8/3              94.4

QB 6:     224/335          66.87            2,764          16/11           94.4

QB 7:     95/154            61.69            1,025           6/4              83.4

QB 8:     184/320          57.50            1,884          12/5             80.5

 

And the answers are….

 

 

 

QB 1 – Kirk Cousins (ranked 1st in the league over the final 8 games), QB 2 – Russell Wilson (ranked 2nd), QB 3 – Alex Smith (ranked 6th), QB 4 – A.J. McCarron (ranked 8th), QB 5 – Teddy Bridgewater (ranked 12th), QB 6 – Ben Roethlisberger (ranked 13th), QB 7 – Brian Hoyer (ranked 26th), and QB 8 is…Aaron Rodgers (the 27th ranked quarterback over the final eight games of the season).

And if you want to dig even deeper…Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a quarterback rating in the 100’s since week 6 versus San Diego (107.7). But hey, according to Aaron…he’s still confident…and proud that they kept it together and didn’t create any distractions. Talk about cryptic…

Anyways, I would like to have the Sun back (as Steve “The Homer” True has dubbed Rodgers)…

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.55.52 PM

And also…THE REAL SUN!

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 3.49.38 PM

Winter in California has officially gotten old…

But as Puddy, I mean Mike McCarthy (follow @McPackersBot) would say…it’s time to showcase who the hell we are. So, please sunS…start showcasing! Because I need some Good Day Sunshine!

 

Christmas Catalogs…

Christmas Catalogs…

As Clara and I watched Home Alone last night (in an effort to get into the Christmas spirit), I started to think about all the different toys and games from the 80’s and 90’s. With those thoughts, my mind quickly raced to…the JCPenney Christmas Catalog.

The JCPenney Christmas Catalog used to be the way everyone picked out what they wanted for Christmas. You would simply open the catalog up and start circling or checking items that peaked your interest. I really wish that I could get my hands on one of those catalogs from the 80’s and 90’s.

Well, thanks to the Internet…they are still available for you to peruse. So go ahead, take the next couple of minutes (or hours) reminiscing about Christmas past. Enjoy!

1987 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

1990 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

1991 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

1994 JCPenney Christmas Catalog

While I don’t remember using the Sears Christmas Catalog (The Great American Wish Book) as much, here is also a look back at some of their catalogs.

1986 Sears Christmas Catalog

1989 Sears Christmas Catalog

1991 Sears Christmas Catalog

Oh, how times and styles (thankfully) have changed…but there still is a part of me that wishes I could fire up the Sega Master System or Nintendo Entertainment System one final time.

Sega Master System

Sega Master System

Nintendo Entertainment System (I don't know of anyone that had the Robot)

Nintendo Entertainment System (I don’t know of anyone that had the Robot)

And I didn’t forget…HAPPY FESTIVUS!!!

A Festivus for the rest of us!

A Festivus for the rest of us!

 

 

The Oakland Double…

The Oakland Double…

One of the neat things about living in California is that your hometown teams (the teams you grew up rooting for…and still avidly follow and cheer for) come and visit once in awhile. This past weekend, it worked out to perfection…the Bucks played the Warriors on Friday night and the Packers played the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. We now have officially checked off the “Oakland Double” on the list of things to do in the Bay Area.

To put into perspective...Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum are neighbors that share parking lots.

To put into perspective…Oracle Arena (right) and O.co Coliseum are neighbors that share parking lots.

Bucks vs Warriors

Not a bad seat in the house.

Not a bad seat in the house.

We took BART to the game, and due to the rain, we went straight into the game instead of checking out nearby bars for our pregame. Oracle Arena opened at 6pm and we got the opportunity to explore everything the arena had to offer…as the game was still 90 minutes from tip-off. We witnessed something, that if you ever get the chance, you absolutely must do…watch Steph Curry’s pregame warm-up. I’m not sure what Michael Jordan’s warm-up included back in the day, but Curry’s is simply amazing and fun to watch…including this shot.

As for the game itself, it was quite possibly the best regular season NBA game I have ever attended. Watching a game at Oracle is fabulous…as the arena reminds me a little bit of The Kohl Center in terms of layout. The fans are super into the game and the arena gets really loud (something you don’t often experience at the Bradley Center)…and you get to stand up A LOT (something I love). The Bucks played their hearts out (please play like this all the time), but fell short in the 4th quarter, when none other than Steph Curry, took control of things. Clara and I were two of just a handful of Bucks fans at the game, but we represented, and we’re treated very cordially by the Warrior fans. As for Draymond Green, he’s still the same whiny little bitch that he was at Michigan State…grow up!

Final: Bucks 112, Warriors 121

2-0 vs the Warriors would have been amazing.

2-0 vs the Warriors would have been amazing…but the Bucks are still the only blemish on Golden State’s record.

Packers vs Raiders

Great seats...I could watch all Packer games like this.

Great seats…I could watch all Packer games like this (home and road).

Thank you Grant for the tickets! Who would have thought that Mike Tice (yes, him) would one day be our connection to getting Packers tickets (in Oakland). Well, thank you sir! With our tickets in hand, we set out early to enjoy the full Wisconsin tailgate experience…cheese, brats, and cold Miller Lite. Of course, it started to rain during the tailgate and into most of the game…as I’m now 0 for 2 in terms of nice weather for Packer games (I’ve attended) this season.

As for the game, it was nice to see lots of Green and Gold (Lambeau West?)…and the GO PACK GO chant late in the game, made me smile. Our seats were wonderful (players section), and we even had another Packer fan next to us (they’re everywhere). The Packers once again struggled offensively and at times it was really hard to watch the futility of the offense, but it was nice to see another win…and it was nice to leave O.co Coliseum in one piece (thankfully we weren’t anywhere near The Black Hole). This was my second time at O.co as I took in an A’s vs Dodgers game there last summer…and it truly makes you appreciate Lambeau Field even more when you attend a game at an out-dated facility like O.co.

Grant dressed like a Raiders fan, but didn't hold back when the Go Pack Go chants started.

Grant dressed like a Raiders fan, but didn’t hold back when the GO PACK GO chants started.

Final: Packers 30, Raiders 20

All in all, a very successful Oakland Double…a sweep would have been awesome (and almost un-thinkable as the Bucks were 19.5 underdogs), but the Packers probably needed to win the most. I can’t wait to do it again sometime…and I’m still holding out hope for Super Bowl L (because you never know) as the Packers are officially in the playoffs.

 

 

 

Christmas Vacation…

Christmas Vacation…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of my all-time favorite movies! I cannot wait to sit down some day next week (I am off ALL week) and watch it over and over (traditionally Clara and I do this on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but we’ll see what Theune has in store for us).

Christmas Vacation is my go-to movie to get me in the Christmas spirit…and not to mention, all of the Christmas music I have been playing each day during PE (the kids love it, as they are super-hyper this time of year).

While there are SO MANY good scenes in Christmas Vacation…one of my favorites is the light scene. While I have seen many impressive light displays over the years in Wisconsin…none of them, can compare to the one we have here…right in Livermore, California. (On a side note, I’ve been equally impressed by many of the light displays in and around Livermore…people sure like their yard inflatables…they are everywhere!)

Deacon Dave’s Christmas Lights makes Clark Griswold’s light display look like the work of a child (even with the drumroll). When my dad mentioned something about a light display in Livermore that was on the news back in Wisconsin, I did a little bit of research and found out that Casa del Pomba – House of the Dove was located less than two miles from our place. So we followed the glow of the lights and let’s just say…

It. Did. Not. Disappoint.

Panoramic shot...it doesn't do justice how amazing it is.

Panoramic shot…it doesn’t do justice how amazing the display really is in person.

I can't even imagine have this house as a neighbor...CA blocks are a lot tighter than WI.

I can’t even imagine having this house as a neighbor…CA city blocks are a lot more compact than WI.

Year 33...where are the lights stored?

Year 33…where are all the lights stored?

Proposal 59 happened earlier in the evening.

Proposal 59 happened earlier in the evening, before we arrived.

Only 470,890 more lights than Clark Griswold!

Only 470,890 more twinkle lights than Clark Griswold!

Merry Christmas!!! #nofilter

Merry Christmas!!! #nofilter

 

Charlie Wills Award…

Charlie Wills Award…

Otherwise known as…the least favorite Badger. Going back to my college days, Wisconsin has always had a player on their roster (that played major minutes) that my friends and I really did not like. The first such player that my friends and I absolutely despised was none other than Charlie Wills (hence the award’s name).

Charlie Wills was the type of player that just didn’t look like he belonged playing college basketball (especially at the Division I level)…and Wills played during an era where Wisconsin basketball was just starting to make a name for itself. The early 2000’s were not like the 1980’s and 1990’s where Wills would have been just another guy on a really bad team. Charlie Wills actually played 19 freaking minutes in the Final Four as a sophomore (finishing with 2 points and 1 rebound). That fact…still amazes me to this day!

So, this year’s least favorite Badger is…Vitto Brown. So why is Vitto Bad (I mean Brown) this year’s selection? Case in point…during Wednesday night’s home loss to UWM (simply inexcusable), the 6-8 forward pulls down a rebound and decides to awkwardly (key word) dribble three quarters of the court with the basketball (there’s little over a minute left in the game, mind you), only to pick-up (you guessed it) a CHARGE! Not smart, and just one, of many reasons (Vitto was also 1 for 9 from the field vs UWM) why Brown is the recipient of this year’s Charlie Wills Award…and a heavy favorite to repeat next year (he wouldn’t be the first).

Here is a look back at past winners of the Charlie Wills Award during the Bo Ryan era…

2015-16: Vitto Brown
2014-15: Traevon Jackson
2013-14: Traevon Jackson
2012-13: Ryan Evans
2011-12: Ryan Evans
2010-11: Tim Jarmusz
2009-10: Tim Jarmusz
2008-09: Jordan Taylor
2007-08: Greg Stiemsma
2006-07: Jason Chappell
2005-06: Jason Chappell
2004-05: Andreas Helmigk
2003-04: Dave Mader
2002-03: Dave Mader
2001-02: Charlie Wills

As you can see, there have been many repeat winners, and only two players…Jordan Taylor (who later became a 2nd team All-American) and Greg Stiemsma (who is currently in his fourth year in the NBA) were able to recover from winning the Wills Award. Today, Charlie is doing just fine, and the good news for Vitto…at least he can sing.

Go Badgers! #BeatMarquette

Must See TV…

Must See TV…

Tonight is the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, airing on CBS. This show is quite possibly CBS’s finest hour of programming all year long…outside of sports, of course. I look forward to this show every-single-year…and I won’t even attempt to describe what this show is really all about…because there are simply – no words!

In the meantime…take a moment and browse the list of all-time Victoria’s Secret models and try to pick out your top 3 (I dare you)…it’s not that easy.

My top 3 are as follows…

#3.

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum

#2.

Gisele Bunchen...otherwise known as Mrs. Brady.

Gisele Bundchen (Mrs. Tom Brady)

#1.

Marisa Miller

Marisa Miller

I guess you can call me a little old school. Well, enjoy tonight’s show…and don’t forget to set your DVR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Accomplished…

Mission Accomplished…

During the wee hours of the morning on January 1st (when all good ideas are usually concocted…thanks Mike and Pat), while drinking a Jigger Ale (beer #1) at The Horse & Plow, I decided I would use the Untappd app (drink socially) to track ALL the beers I would drink in 2015 (I was curious what the number might be).

As the beers were going down quite easily/quickly during the month of January (what else is there to do during that month in Wisconsin), I set a goal (thanks Jimmy V)…to drink 1,000 beers during 2015. And thanks to the Packers and Badgers successes, I was well over 100 beers for the month of January alone…a pace I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up…but with that, I knew, 1,000 could be attainable…as long as I remembered to check-in each beer. By July 1st…I was still ahead of the pace.

Well…yesterday, at The Trappist, I rolled 1,000 over on my beer odometer. I enjoyed a St. Bernardus Abt 12 for beer #1,000…it was delicious!

Beer #1,000 in all its glory.

Beer #1,000…in all its glory.

The official check-in.

The official check-in.

With all that being said…here are the “stats” on my 1,000 beers. I just love stats!

  • Different (distinct) beers: 402
  • Drinking badges earned: 233
  • Highest check-in: Miller Lite (285)…next was Spotted Cow (22)
  • Highest rated: 5 stars – Pliny the Elder and St. Bernardus Abt 12
  • Lowest rated: 2 stars – Hopsburger (Grumpy Troll), Coffee & Cigarettes (Cellarmaker), and Star Baby IPA (Brenner)
  • Beers per day (based on 339 days): 2.95 beers
  • Beers per month (based on 11.16 months): 89.60 beers
  • Hangovers: I’d rather not say…
The official numbers.

The official numbers.

Now, the question is…how many more beers can I drink before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st…only time will tell (I also have been challenged), but I will definitely keep you posted.

And, please remember…always drink responsibly! Cheers!

Don’t Give Up…

Don’t Give Up…

Don’t Ever Give Up!

The 9th annual Jimmy V Week, for cancer research, kicks off today (December 2, 2015). This weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs features special content to help raise funds for cancer research. (Editors note: Clara…save the date).

For those of you that don’t know who Jimmy Valvano is…you can read all about his life here. There was also a great ESPN Films 30 for 30 (imagine that) about Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack team that won the 1983 NCAA National Championship titled…Survive and Advance.

Valvano is probably known to most for the courageous speech that he gave at the 1993 ESPY Awards while accepting the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage Award (let’s just not talk about the 2015 winner at this time). It was during that speech, that Valvano announced the creation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. I used to show Valvano’s speech to my freshman health students when we talked about setting goals (it was actually quite moving to most 14 and 15 year olds…that think they know all there is to know about life).

So today, with the tragedy taking place in San Bernardino, CA (when is this nonsense going to stop)…take the time to watch Jimmy V’s speech and if you have some extra time…check out Stuart Scott’s speech from when he accepted the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award. Easily, two of the greatest speeches ever and great examples of how we all should lead our lives…because you never know when your time will be up.

 

Happy Thanksgiving…

Happy Thanksgiving…

Or should I say…Happy Th4nksgiving! May your day be filled with lots of family, food, football, and Favre…lots and lots of Favre! Like John Madden slobbering levels of Favre…one has to wonder if Madden (or Frank Caliendo) will be at the retirement ceremony and in the booth…please make this happen NBC.

Gobble, gobble, gobble...

Gobble, gobble, gobble…

Here’s hoping the Packers pull out the win (they better…as they’re playing against, arguably, the 4th greatest QB in Packers history) and all can finally be 4given with Brett…as it is time to put the past in the past (and make Favre 4ever). I really can’t wait to see Bart Starr back at Lambeau Field either…it is bound to be a special evening and I wish I could be there to witness this in person (I want pictures, Rau). Instead, my DVR is all set to record the three greatest quarterbacks in Packers history, on the same field, one final time.

GO PACK GO!!!

Hoodie Power…

Hoodie Power…

Who knew all it would take to break a 3-game losing streak was a simple hoodie. While James Jones’ hoodie look may have reminded me of a JV football player standing on the sidelines watching the Varsity play on a Friday night (a look I have seen all to often over the years)…his six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown was just the type of performance the Packers needed to get back on track and takeover the NFC North lead. Heck, the hoodie is so popular now it even has its own Twitter account.

Speaking of hoodies, Clara and I (coincidentally) both wore hoodies to watch the Packers game yesterday at our home away from home…The Good Time Tavern.

Official Packers bar in Livermore, CA

Official Packers bar in downtown Livermore, CA

Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to watch all the Packer games from home (stupid 49ers and Raiders), I went to Packers Everywhere to find a nearby bar that would show all the Packers games each week. We found The Good Time Tavern in downtown Livermore and pre-scouted it on the Friday night before the Packers vs Chargers game…and the second we walked in, we knew that this was our place to watch Packers games. The Good Time Tavern is a classic Wisconsin dive bar…and with that description, it needs no further explanation.

Robert is a great host and a life-long Packers fan.

Robert is a great host each week and a life-long Packers fan. He also loves to talk Fantasy Football.

$3 Miller Lites in the Steinie bottle...you can't go wrong!

The GTT even has $3 Miller Lites…and in the new Steinie bottle…you simply can’t go wrong (especially in CA)!

SNOW…Thanks to all my friends and family that sent pictures of Friday night’s/Saturday morning’s snowfall. California wins! I don’t miss that crap one bit…especially when it is snowing days before Thanksgiving…that is just wrong! While I must admit, it really doesn’t feel like late November around here (as people are already putting up Christmas lights), I think I’ll be able to adjust to the Christmas season without snow rather nicely (although it is strange seeing commercials with snow). As for El Nino…let’s just hope that doesn’t happen (for the sake of my job…if I’m not on strike).

I must admit...I did chuckle when I saw this pic Saturday morning.

I must admit…I did chuckle when I saw this pic Saturday morning.

BAN REPLAY…After Saturday’s debacle in Madison, I’ve officially had it with instant replay! It is time to finally get rid of it altogether. Replay is doing nothing but extending games and destroying pace of play…and (too often), replay STILL doesn’t get the call correct after the review! Look, if we can live with pass interference calls being decided on the field…we can live with ALL calls being decided on the field. If football (and all sports for that matter) don’t want to ban replay, then rules and interpretations need to be simplified…because week after week, the officials are merely choking when it comes to making decisions and replay is not doing its job to avoid Monday apologies…or in the Big Ten’s case, standing up for unacceptable officiating because they don’t want to look bad.

I have no idea what a catch is anymore in football...and this, was ruled a catch on the field!

I have no idea what a catch is anymore in football…and this, was ruled a catch on the field!

So to sum up…I guess not all hoods were created equal.

SI…

SI…

As a kid, Wednesday was one of the best days of the week. Wednesday meant that the new Sports Illustrated would be arriving in the mail later that afternoon. Back then, Sports Illustrated had the coolest sports photos (that we usually ripped out of the school library’s magazine because we didn’t want to ruin our own) and provided instant reading material for the entire week (I’d bring my SI with me everywhere all school day long…hoping to sneak a read in during study hall or when the teacher wasn’t looking…this was before the days of SSR).

During the late 1980’s is when I started to fall in love with sports and I remember reading my uncle’s Sports Illustrated magazines whenever I visited my grandparents’ house…sometimes I was even given older issues to take home and read…and I instantly became a fan of SI. As a result, I still remember getting my first Sports Illustrated subscription as a kid…my first ever issue was in January of 1989 and Tony Rice of Notre Dame was on the cover.

During this pre-Internet/social media era, Sports Illustrated was THE source for sports news and knowledge. In fact, I used to treat my SI’s as if they were gold…I wouldn’t throw any of them away…often looking back at old issues for articles and pictures from time to time. One year, during my college winter break, I spent almost an entire day sorting through over 10 years of Sports Illustrated magazines…I was like a hoarder when it came to them…as they were such a part of my childhood. I still remember certain childhood events by the SI cover of that week…call me (sports) crazy!

Obviously, times have changed. Eventually I let my subscription run out…as Sports Illustrated soon became a shell of itself due to the world wide web. But, just recently, I decided to subscribe to SI again (getting a free subscription helped). It is, however, way different now…my issues no longer come on Wednesday (thanks California¡) and I now read them on my iPad. And while I no longer read them cover to cover, like in the past…my favorite section now is the Digital Bonus section…A Look Back – This Week in SI’s Cover History. This section takes a look back at issues from that same week…5, 10, 20, and 40 years ago. Of course, I enjoy the 20-year look backs the best…as it brings me back to my childhood and when following sports (and everything else for that matter) was much simpler.

Who remembers this one from 20 years ago this week…

Elvis Grbac and Russell Maryland...the Niners and Cowboys would like to turn back the clock as well...

Russell Maryland and Elvis Grbac…I’m sure the Cowboys and 49ers would like to turn back the clock as well.

Shout-out: SPORT magazine was a pretty epic magazine as well…a once a month magazine that had (at times) even better photos than Sports Illustrated…and a year subscription was only like 10 bucks. And don’t forget about Sports Illustrated for Kids…while the articles were geared for kids…the posters and trading cards were must gets from the school library. And who can forget the Sports Illustrated posters…they are still hanging up in my old room at my parents’ house.

Last add…I don’t watch a lot of sitcoms anymore (none really), but I really enjoy Wednesday nights on ABC…if I can’t find any good sports to watch. The following three shows…The Middle, The Goldbergs, and Modern Family really crack me up. It must be all the nostalgia…I guess.

 

 

 

TNF…

TNF…

Thursday Night Football…why do I keep watching this crap?!?! (By the way…what happened to that intro?). Seriously…I need a life! Or maybe…I need to find a Thursday night bowling league to distract me from these games (it definitely worked in the past)…words I never thought I’d say last year at this time…I actually miss bowling (at least the camaraderie).

It seems like each Thursday night, the product on the field gets even worse than the previous week…coincidence? The NFL preaches player safety, but yet it continues to allow teams to play on three days rest…I just don’t get it.

Here’s a closer look at this year’s Thursday night clunkers (er, games) so far…

Week 2 – Broncos 31 at Chiefs 24…good finish (FUMBLE!)

Week 3 – at Giants 32 Redskins 21…two crap teams in this year’s crap division

Week 4 – Ravens 23 at Steelers 20 (OT)…probably, the best of this bunch

Week 5 – Colts 27 at Texans 20…see Week 3

Week 6 – at Saints 31 Falcons 21…same old Falcons in primetime

Week 7 – Seahawks 20 at 49ers 3…GROSS!

Week 8 – at Patriots 36 Dolphins 7…Aqua Stave

Week 9 – at Bengals 31 Browns 10…classic Johnny Rebab…I mean Football

*Note…I did not include Week 1 – Steelers 21 at Patriots 28…due to each team coming off the preseason schedule and being fully rested.

Not exactly instant classics…basically yawners, blowouts, with lots of ugliness mixed in…and the crazy part is that these games are all DIVISIONAL MATCHUPS! These are the opponents that should know each other better than any others…yet, you wouldn’t know it, watching most of these games.

And the NFL is officially trying too hard when they revealed their “Color Rush” uniforms to us tonight (Ditka plug). Guess what NFL…you are not college football! If you want to be like college football…give them their Thursday night football back…all to themselves!

I think this tweet sums up tonight’s uniforms the best…

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 6.40.41 PM

Hey, Christmas is only 42 days away…I’ll take some Packers attire (dammit…I’m feeding the beast).

Thank You…

Thank You…

I’m often asked, where do you come up with the material for your blog? Most days, it comes to me rather easy…and today, it came to me even easier than most. Today’s post is simply…THANK YOU! No rant about the Green Bay Packers struggles, the silliness of the College Football Playoff rankings, or the legalities of FanDuel and DraftKings is that important today. Today is about thanking ALL who have and will continue to fight for, protect, and sacrifice for our freedom. While I won’t be able to attend the usual Veterans Day program like in past school years (there is no school in California today), I will make the most of this beautiful California day…hitting some golf balls and logging some miles on my bicycle. Thank you Veterans…for making this possible!

More…the SC Featured: Going Home says it the best…kudos ESPN!

We’re still doing that…

We’re still doing that…

In case you haven’t noticed, the Milwaukee Brewers have already started releasing their 2016 All-Fan Giveaway schedule…and they’re using this whole week to do it¡ Isn’t the suspense just killing you…I can hardly wait to see what new and innovative ideas they have in store for this year¡

As you may have guessed, the all-fan giveaway line-up is littered with bobbleheads. Now, to preface, I have a rather large collection of bobbleheads myself (and I never pass up the opportunity to grab a free one from my sister or friends)…but another Hank the Dog bobblehead (this one barks¡)…REALLY?!?! I love animals, and the Hank story was really great (AT THE TIME!), but I don’t understand why the Brewers are continuing to honor this stray dog…AGAIN! This is year THREE of this mutt (sorry, I’m calling him a mutt, because he has brought ZERO on-field success to the Milwaukee Brewers organization). It is time to cut the cord (er, leash) on this experiment.

A quick check of eBay reveals that there have already been THREE Hank the Dog bobbleheads done by the Brewers alone (and don’t forget the Hank towel) plus another Hank bobblehead done by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (the Brewers Single A ballclub). Hank bobbleheads have become like The Voice episode on Seinfeld. To quote Elaine and Kramer (skip to 2:30 mark)…”still?!” and “played…SO played!” Hank, you are the voice hello…it is time to go, LA, LA, LA!!!

Tidbits…If you are not listening to the Tauscher and Kuhn show (and Greg) on 620 WTMJ, you are missing out. Check it out, Tuesdays at 6pm…it is really good. Last night’s 30 for 30, The Gospel According to Mac, was once again…FANTASTIC! Every one of these films are SO well done. My wife tells me I don’t watch enough movies…well, if they were as good as EVERY 30 for 30…I’d definitely watch more. Lastly, Steph Curry is amazing! Golden State basketball is so fun to watch. The Warriors may win 70 games this year and could threaten Chicago’s 72 wins in a season…they are that good!

Rutgers and Jerrysota…

Rutgers and Jerrysota…

Rutgers SUCKS!!! I think we all knew that, but after the Scarlet Knights pitiful performance against the Badgers yesterday, my friends and I are boycotting ALL future Wisconsin vs Rutgers football matchups. If the Scarlet Knights are on the Badgers home slate…we will not be attending Camp Randall that day (I know, easy for me to say…as I currently live in California, but I am still a season ticket holder). It just really annoys me that Rutgers (and Maryland) are even in the Big Ten to begin with. They just don’t belong…especially their football teams! I guarantee Rutgers (and Maryland) WILL NOT win one Big Ten title in my lifetime. In my best George Zimmer voice…I guarantee it!

As I watched yesterday’s game, I wondered aloud…how does Rutgers even have three wins? Then I checked the Scarlet Knights schedule…they beat Norfolk State (a FCS school with only two wins) in their season opener and a game that Rutgers only led 21-13 at half. They beat a winless Kansas team at home (yawn), and their third victory came against Indiana…a 55-52 win (maybe Rutgers belongs in the Big 12). So, not exactly the most impressive resume. I know Rutgers was without their best receiving target in Leonte Carroo yesterday, but outside of a pick six (Stave¡) in the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights did absolutely nothing (offensively and defensively)…and this year’s Wisconsin team is, by no means, a world beater…although it was nice to finally have Corey Clement back (so this is what a real running back looks like).

Last add on the Wisconsin/Rutgers game…I saw the Badgers tweet out that the attendance was 74,575 for the game…it sure didn’t look like that on television. Then again, I had to watch the game in standard definition because XFINITY doesn’t carry the Big Ten Network in HD. It’s almost 2016…why isn’t everything available in HD?!

More…the Minnesota Golden Gophers will now be referred to as the Jerrysota Golden Gophers moving forward. I feel for Jerry Kill and I’m sure he is a great man, but when you have flags saying Jerrysota…you aren’t really honoring a guy…you are simply providing EASY material for your opponent and rivals (That’s Gold, Jerry! Gold!)…because your product on the field is basically Rutgers-ish. And of course, Jerrysota lost to Michigan last night by mismanaging the clock in the final minute and getting stuffed at the one yard line as the game clock expired. Classic Jerrysota!

The Jerrysota Golden Gophers!

The Jerrysota Golden Gophers!

Jerry¡ Jerry¡ Jerry¡

Jerry¡ Jerry¡ Jerry¡

 

Who’s gonna win it…

Who’s gonna win it…

The Bucks! The Bucks! I am SO excited for the 2015-16 Milwaukee Bucks basketball season. Although I am always excited about Bucks basketball, this is probably the most excitement I have had since that 2000-01 season (and we all know that the Eastern Conference Finals were fixed that year). I really wish I could attend tonight’s season opener in person (Pat, I want a towel). It feels like yesterday that I attended last season’s home opener on Halloween night…the energy that night in the BC was amazing! The bars afterward in MKE…let’s just say never go as Jordy Nelson for Halloween.

Here are a few things that I am looking forward to this Bucks season…

  • New uniforms (it was about time…the Christmas colors had grown stale)…plus alternate black uniforms (I would liked to have seen throwback uniforms of some kind, but maybe in time…the new owners seem to know what they’re doing).
  • New court design (while I liked the last design, the new design is even better and fresher)…plus the NBA’s first alternate court to be used during the four alternate jersey dates. Very cool idea!
  • New players…Greg Monroe, Greivis Vasquez, Chris Copeland, and the Rook…Rashad Vaughn (I can’t wait to see these four in action).
  • New announcers…GUS (need I say more) and Marques Johnson. While I wish Paschke and McGlocklin were completely out of the picture…this is a good start (at least Moncrief is gone).
  • New arena…while a shovel hasn’t hit the ground yet and it likely won’t be ready until the 2018-19 season…this is definitely something to look forward to. Hopefully the Bucks will be at their peak when the new arena opens.

I am really going to miss attending Bucks games this year (remember, I saw 26 games (it really was amazing) during the worst season in franchise history in 2013-14…and I saw 9 of the 15 overall wins). I will now have to wait until December 18th to check out the Bucks in person. On that date, the Bucks travel to Oakland to take on the World Champion, Golden State Warriors (a team I won’t mind being forced to watch in the Bay Area…they are so fun to watch). Also, if things work out, I would like to head to Sacramento in February to see the Bucks take on the Kings. And hopefully, the Bucks will live up to expectations, and I will be able to take in a couple of key games in March when I am back in Wisconsin for…Spring Break. Either way, I’ll be watching the Bucks all season long thanks to the Fox Sports GO app…it will be my lifesaver (special shoutout to my parents for letting me steal their TWC password).

Obviously with this new season, there are new expectations. The Bucks will not sneak up on anyone this season…they will be the hunted at times. With that being said, I am predicting a 4-6 seed in the Eastern Conference (44-48 wins) and the Bucks WILL win a playoff series for the first time since 2001. I still believe the Bucks are a season or two (maybe three) away from really contending in the East. Remember, the Bucks are still Green and Growing!

So…#FearTheDeer and #OwnTheFuture

As for my NBA Finals prediction (I know you all care)…I am going to go out on a limb and predict Cleveland over Golden State. Come on LeBron, do it for Cleveland…end the championship drought for the city of Cleveland (50+ years has been long enough).

Bart…

Bart…

Houston…HELLO! Well, do we have a quarterback controversy in Madtown brewing? Bart Houston, who filled in for a concussed Joel Stave, led the Badgers to a 24-13 victory over Illinois yesterday by completing 22 of 33 passes for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns…but did throw 2 Staves (I mean, interceptions) in the redzone.

Houston, a Dublin, CA native (hey, that’s my neck of the woods)…came into yesterday’s game having only completed 2 of 4 passes for 14 yards and a touchdown for his career! But thanks to Gary Andersen (by the way, how are things working out at Oregon State), Houston did punt in four games for the Badgers last season…his punts ranged from 19 (yes, 19) to 52 yards. Thankfully the Houston punting experiment came to an end as soon as Andersen bolted to Corvallis…good riddance!

I’m sure Stave will need to go through the concussion protocol this week…but maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see Houston for one more week (who knows, Houston could be the starter next season…especially with D.J. Gillins now on offense and special teams). I’m not saying Houston is the answer, but what if he lights things up against Rutgers (I know, Rutgers) next week…things could be pretty, pretty, pretty interesting in Madison.

In the end, I’m sure it really doesn’t matter…losing to Iowa really hurt Wisconsin’s chances of making the Big Ten Championship game. The Badgers did become bowl eligible (for the 14th straight season) yesterday…it will be interesting to see which bowl they end up in because the Badgers have ZERO good wins and their schedule is incredibly SOFT! But hey, a bowl is a bowl…I’m sure the Arkansas and Oregon State fanbases would love to have such a streak.

#StartBart