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What we tend to do is look back at the things that we wished had gone differently, or not happened at all. Then we turn our attention to the new year and our hopes for what’s to come.
As the song says, "regrets, we’ve had a few."
My top 10 (or bottom 10) things and people that were on the wrong side of the ledger with me during 2013.
10. Still Bush League? Milwaukee is a big city with big ideas. But every now and then things happen that remind us of the days when people thought we were bush league. Two of them stick out in my mind. One is the almost unanimous refusal to allow a strip club to open in Downtown Milwaukee. I mean, come on. Nobody is going to not go to a Bucks game or a restaurant because there’s a strip club in the area. The other is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s panting coverage of the salary of Don Smiley, who runs Summerfest. First of all, it’s nobody’s business. And secondly, this obsession the paper has with the salaries of people who make a lot of money just looks like jealously and pettiness.
9. Those Crazy Ladies. I love women. I have lots of women in my life and I love every one of them. But there was a parade of ladies who gave womanhood a bad name during the year. Michelle Bachmann, the empty head still showed up on news channels with her wacko view of the world. Sarah Palin can’t seem to figure out that Alaskans should be neither seen nor heard as right wingers everywhere tried to find something for her to do. And Miley Cyrus reached new depths with a desperate grab for attention. She got it. But how about that word "shameless"?
8. Bump, Bump, Bump. This is a carryover from 2012 and will probably continue in 2014, but I continue to be amazed at the condition of the roads in this city. It seems no matter where you go the potholes make the roads seem like a mogul ski hill and just as that hurts your knees, these bumps can do real damage to your car.
7. Our Very Own Cowboy. It’s hard to pick just one Sheriff David Clarke thing that made me shake my head. From using tax dollars for radio ads urging citizens to arm themselves to appearing on Piers Morgan's show to advocate for weapon use, the sheriff seems unbalanced. Perhaps it says a lot about ourselves that we keep electing this guy.
6. Sex, Sex and Mo’ Sex. From the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition to any commercial for Victoria’s Secret it seems like we are getting almost numb to sexual innuendo. The motto "sex sells" may be going by the wayside. I mean, does anyone really think that buying a bra and pantie set at Victoria’s Secret is going to turn her into Candice Swanepoel. Then just when we think we can’t be shocked anymore, Anthony Weiner runs for mayor of New York before being banished forever after more photos social media of his junk show up. Holy crap!
5. Locally Sourced? Big Deal! This is one of my pet peeves. It seems like every restaurant in the world (except for Ma Fischer’s and George Webb's) proudly proclaims that its menu features locally sourced foods. Let me tell you, I don’t care if the steak comes from a cow in Jefferson County or from a factory farm in some other state. The important thing as far as I’m concerned is how well you can cook that steak. I love our local farms, but that’s not a huge selling point for me.
4. Ship of Fools. Ald. Bob Donovan, Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman John Boehner, County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic, State Sen. Glenn Grothman, that Wisconsin woman who’s the president of Yahoo! and posed for a magazine in a sultry position, Sen. Harry Reid (Wimp), the Tea Party, Sheriff David Clarke (again), the Tea Party, all the Republicans who think that just because a website didn’t work that means the whole Affordable Care Act must suck, every single Kardashian, no matter how old they are, who they married or whether or not they have a sex tape.
3. Where’s Johnny Cash When You Need Him? I love country music. I think it’s the truest form of American music. It tells stories. You can sing along and slow dance. But all the male country western singers now seem like they have been punched out of the same cookie cutter. Brad, Kenny, Jason, Dierks, Luke, Jake, Josh and (Holy Smoke) Keith Urban. How can you tell the difference? George Jones is dead but Willie and Merle are still kicking so maybe there is some hope.
2. Don’t Call Me Sicko. 2013 was a hell of a year. All told I spent 63 days in the hospital. It was an incredible adventure and the most disappointing thing about it is that I did it to myself. It wasn’t some disease that felled me, but things I either had or had not done in my life. I could certainly go through another year without anything like that happening again. Just one word to all my young friends. Take care of yourself now. Now!!
1. The Year of Pinocchio – The Liars. Two huge athletes with serious Wisconsin ties were exposed as cheaters, liars and shameless. One was right after the start of the year when Lance Armstrong, at one point the face of Trek Bicycles in Watertown, sat down with Oprah and came clean about his lengthy drug use. For years the speculation had run rampant, and finally the Lance Man gave up the truth. Once we breathed a sigh of relief that he had been exposed at long last, along came the face of the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun. It was a circular path of accusation, feverish denial, more accusations, no comment, finding of guilty and suspension and admission (kind of). I’m betting the Miller Park crowd will be forgiving and give Braun an ovation at the first game. And why not? Second chances are special. Just like 2014 is a second chance to do 2013 all over again.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.