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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).

 

 

 

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

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

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

J.J. WATT…

J.J. WATT…

Say it with me, in your best Mike Mahnke voice…J.J. WATT!!! It rolls off the tongue SO nicely…very similar to RON DAYNE!!! (skip to the 1:40 mark). In case you missed it last night, ESPN ran the E:60 piece Never Given about J.J. Watt. E:60 has turned into one of my all-time favorite sports shows. For me, it has moved ahead of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in terms of investigative sports journalism…mainly because E:60 doesn’t constantly recycle old stories. E:60 is the only show on the World Wide Leader that is worth watching…I repeat, the only show that is worth watching (Pardon the Interruption jumped the shark years ago…mainly because Tony Kornheiser started phoning it in). If you are not watching live sports on the four-letter network than you may as well turn it off…because everything else is strictly…FLUFF!

Back to…(Mahnke voice) J.J. WATT…last night’s E:60 piece was very well done. J.J. Watt is the epitome of Wisconsin, and while most Wisconsinites (some better than others) know Watt’s story, the rest of the nation is still learning…hopefully last night’s piece (along with last summer’s Hard Knocks series) gets them up to speed. One can only hope that Watt is able to cap his career by reaching the game’s biggest stage…the Super Bowl. While that doesn’t appear likely in Houston (not with Brian or Ryan Stave at quarterback)…maybe (just maybe) Watt could finish out his career wearing the the Green and Gold…and follow in the footsteps of his childhood idol…Reggie White (and win the Super Bowl). Now that would be quite the story…and I’m sure E:60 and Real Sports would be all over that…and maybe even Hollywood.

As Watt tweeted out last night…”It will never stop being crazy to me. From where we came to where we are.” I’m sure playing in Green Bay would be mind blowing!

These guys are good…

These guys are good…

If you saw the commercials put together by the PGA Tour a couple of years back, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Yesterday, Clara and I went to the Fry’s.com Open at Silverado CC (North Course) in Napa to be reminded (again) just how good these guys are. Let’s just say…they didn’t disappoint.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy watching live golf…especially when it is at a smaller venue with way less people. I’ve often said, I’d rather watch golf at (the former) U.S. Bank Championship at Brown Deer Park versus the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching a Major Championship in person, but there is something to be said about the intimacy at the smaller tournaments that you don’t often get at a Major venue (unless you’re the shotgun microphone guy…more on that later). Also, having played the North Course a few times (it pays to have connections), I know my way around just enough to avoid the crowds and see some of the best shot making on the course.

Today, is the final round of the Jackass Open at Whistling Straits (Irish Course) with my friends back home. Obviously, I won’t be able to make it (as tee times are in less than an hour), but it was nice to golf with (okay, watch) one of the best players on the planet yesterday…Rory McIlroy. It kind of made up for missing the JAO…just a bit. While McIlroy wasn’t on top of his game yesterday, it was very cool to see the world’s former #1 (depends on the week these days) play…up close and personal. We almost saw a hole-in-one too…by his playing partner, Adam Hadwin…he almost had one¡ Somehow, that shot didn’t make the third round highlights package or this one…nice work PGA (I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it).

The best part of the day, was the hook-up we got from our friend Erin…18th hole skybox passes! With these passes, we had all the food and drink you could imagine…for free! Oh, and great views of the 18th green, of course.

Rory and his caddie on 18 from the skybox.

Rory and his caddie on 18 from the skybox.

Rory striking his pose of the day on 18.

Rory striking his pose of the day on 18.

Rory eyeing up another missed putt.

Rory eyeing up another missed putt.

Rory on 11 waiting to tee off.

Rory on 11 waiting to tee off.

It truly was a great day of golf! I can’t wait to go check out Pebble Beach in February for the AT&T Pro-Am (talk about a checklist item). Now, can someone please tell me how I can get this job…

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Sorry, not the greatest picture.

It seriously looks like the best job on the course. If you know, please drop me a line. Thanks!

FORE!!!

Missing education…

Missing education…

After 13+ plus years of teaching, I came across two situations today that I never learned about back at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. One would think, having spent SIX YEARS of my life at UW-0, I would have learned everything there is to know about teaching. Well, think again…

Situation #1

Politically…things are not going so well in the district that I am currently teaching in. The teachers union (yes, California still has teachers unions) has just declared an impasse. From what I’ve read…bargaining began in earnest last March. Since May, the district has made NO improvements on issues such as salaries, benefits, or class sizes. So today, before school, we had an informational picket just off the school grounds. Next Tuesday, there will be a community rally to show support for the teachers when the school board meets (some kind of fireworks are expected). Hopefully, some progress will be made in the near future because the word STRIKE (yikes!) has been thrown around rather loosely. This type of situation was never discussed while I sat in classes in Clow, Halsey, or Nursing/Education.

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My picket sign I held in support of my fellow teachers. Festive…or a little CG?

Situation #2

Today was the Great California ShakeOut. Yes, we had earthquake drill practice. Drop! Cover! Hold On! More than 10 million Californians (is that a word?) participated…event organizers said it was the largest earthquake drill ever this morning (can I put this on my resume?). The Great California ShakeOut was held at 10:15 AM, as people throughout the state participated in simultaneous earthquake drills…practicing safety and learning ways to prepare in the event of a major earthquake. Thankfully, my class already meets outside (as Mike McCarthy would say…pawsitive) so we didn’t have much to do. While I have yet to feel an actual earthquake here in California…I don’t need my first to be like this. Again, Oshkosh, did you expect all of us to teach in just Wisconsin?

Just like Florence + The Machine...Shake It Out¡

Just like Florence + The Machine…Shake It Out¡

It’s a good thing I have off tomorrow, because after today’s unique events, I’m gonna need the extra day to recover. And Oshkosh, I want some of my money back…NO ONE mentioned strikes or earthquakes during those six glorious years…but if you’re looking for a guest speaker, I think I could help you out (for the right price, of course).

U-W-O! U-W-O! U-W-O! (hey, it’s Homecoming week).

Guys Weekend 12…

Guys Weekend 12…

Was a major SUCCESS (dare I say it was the best ever, but then again…I’m biased)! Thank you to all my friends and family for helping me pull off the greatest Wisconsin football weekend (plus golf!). This was the first time in my life that I was able to attend a Badgers and Packers game on the same weekend (the Monday night game really helped with this…Sunday would have been tough AND rough). It just won’t be the same watching the Badgers and Packers from afar for the rest of the football season…so I’ll just keep that February 7th date open here in California for all you Packer fans (book now!).

Here’s a quick recap of the Badgers and Packers games and festivities.

Saturday…We golfed at Ironwood thanks to Greg’s connections…I shot your everyday 50 on the front nine and 39 (best ever) on the back nine (by the way Greg, I’m not sure we did all SIX shots for your birdies that day). Drove to Madison for lunch/dinner (linner?) at Blue Moon. Pregame CaptainS at Bucks(inghams)…no lip gloss (I’m disappointed)! Regent Street Liquor (hopefully someday Camp Randall will sell beer and this stop won’t be necessary). Jump Around! Badgers win 28-0 (thanks again for the seats Mike)! Postgame celebrations at Mondays (really?) and Whiskey Jacks. And who could forget, Greg’s $98 Uber to McDonalds (why did La Bambas have to be closed).

Monday…Tailgated on Potts Avenue (otherwise known as Puddy Pass…I mean McCarthy Way) in the rain (Brian Gotter really blew that forecast…and twice he tried to crash our weekend). Outdoor club seats on the 50-yard line (thanks again Greg). Halftime on the rooftop. Unfortunately, we couldn’t celebrate the Packers win (38-28) due to work and flights the next day…but Ryan did crack the code (no more waiting in traffic after Packer games…we’ve found the secret route).

Go Pack Go!

Go Pack Go!

Best seat in the house

Best seat in the house

Again, just a tremendous weekend…I got to see family and friends and I was able enjoy all the things I miss most about Wisconsin. Thank you all for making this happen and we’ll see everyone again in 2016…unless any of you are planning any trips out West (come on, you know you want to).

Okay California, the ball is now in your court. What do you got?

 

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y…

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y…

NIGHT! Camp Randall. Guys Weekend 12. The first night game since Utah State in 2012 (#unbielemable). I wish there was more on the line (really, Hawaii?)…like this memorable game versus #1 Ohio State in 2010…possibly the earliest we have ever been into a Badger game (we just knew Ohio State was going down that night). Either way, I can’t wait to see the Badgers under the lights, a little Jump Around, and then a whole lot of State Street. Throw in the Packers game (thanks Greg) on Monday night and it is a gonna be the most epic Wisconsin sports weekend. I can’t wait to take it all in! I’ve got goosebumps.

On Wisconsin!

Go Pack Go!

Pwned…

Pwned…

Over the last couple of days, I have taken a great liking to the following burns…let’s just say, some of the people involved…truly had it coming (you’ve been pwned)!

1. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury telling Bret Bielema what he really thought about the Arkansas Razorbacks football program. The truth hurts…but of course, “Big Game Bret,” wouldn’t let it go the next day…when Kingsbury had CLEARLY moved on from his previous days’ comments. I (along with every Wisconsin football fan) CAN’T WAIT for the day that Bielema is canned at Arkansas…and it is likely to be (very) soon. #unbielemable (I wish I still had those stickers).

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Uncanny resemblance

 

2. Aaron Rodgers crediting God for Sunday night’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks. What’s that Russell Wilson…do you still believe that God cares about who wins football games?! To refresh everyone’s memory, here is my real take on Russell Wilson. #phony

3. Thank you Deadspin, for truly summing up Scott Walker…I don’t like to EVER talk politics (especially in this blog), but this was too good to pass up. I’ll let you read the excerpt because I couldn’t have said it any better myself. #dropout

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Now fix that bald spot!

 

4. I am not an Oakland Raiders fan by any means (as a matter of fact, I like them even less – if that’s possible – since our move to California), but this response to Super Bowl L (ahem, 50)…is just too perfect. #thisleague

Does anyone else hear the Bloodhound Gang playing in the background…or as George Costanza would say, flame on! (skip to 3:11 mark) #priceless