By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 22, 2012 at 5:05 AM Photography:

Thanksgiving is a time when most columnists write about all the things they are thankful for and what we should all be thankful for.

I am going to switch it up a bit this year and nominate people and institutions that ought to be thankful for me.

I know this may sound a bit like an out of control ego, but really it's not. I play a part in the lives of many people, and they really ought to thank me for it. This is their chance.

Fans of Mixed Martial Arts: I have made no secret of my utter contempt for this so-called sport. I think it's just a step removed from the days when we put gladiators in an arena and let tigers and lions loose while the crowd worked itself into a frenzy calling for blood. If it wasn't for me, who Milwaukee MMA fans hate? Glad to be of service, boys.

Brett Favre: I am probably the only columnist in the world who still holds Favre in a reverential place in our sports history. I still believe all the post-Packers shenanigans were not his doing, but were caused by other people. I still think he's the most magnetic football players I've ever seen. Everybody else seems to hate him. Brett ought to be giving thanks today that somebody is still on his side.

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: Because I keep pointing out how irrelevant and petty these people are, they can now unite in their defense of what they do. Without me, they would be torn by partisan bitterness. Because I'm around, they can act as one body. A ridiculous body, but a body nonetheless.

Ma Fischer's Restaurant: I've been going to this place since it was just a counter and three tables. I have probably eaten more here than any other place, with the possible exception of Solly's. It's not gourmet food, but they have about the best breakfast in town and the price is always right. Without me at least one waitress would be out of work and they likely wouldn't be open 24 hours a day. They'd have to drop to 22 or 23 hours a day.

My family: If it wasn't for me, they wouldn't have anyone to make fun of.

Sheriff David Clarke: I try to point out every time the sheriff shows up somewhere on a horse, wearing his cowboy hat and cowboy boots, with a gun on his hip and a shiny belt buckle the size of Bradford Beach. The sheriff is a real "shove it in your face" kind of guy. So if I didn't point that stuff out he would never be able to show up somewhere on a horse, wearing his cowboy hat and cowboy boots, with a gun on his hip and a shiny belt buckle the size of Bradford Beach.

The Tea Party: Maybe they shouldn't be thankful for me, but at least they should be thankful for people like me. I mean, who else would point out that the Tea Party and the Birthers could be locked up in an asylum somewhere and given powerful drugs to see if you could turn them from crazy people into civilized members of society who could actually live on their own.

Bus drivers: I don't ride the bus that often, but when do, every time we pass an intersection I ask, with feverish panic, "was that my stop?" It usually takes a driver about four blocks before he or she is ready to kick me out. They should be thankful I don't ride the bus that often.

Local television newscasts (except for Channel 12): They should be thankful I don't watch them very often. If I did I would have to write a column every day about something stupid they did. I'd have to get it off my chest and they would get really tired of me saying, "Did you see what Channel (fill in a number, except 12) did last night?

Golfers everywhere: As I got older, I got much more dangerous on a golf course. The concept of actually knowing where my ball was headed became more foreign each year. Players from all over learned to cover their heads and hide behind golf carts each time I stepped on a tee. Golf has become a much safer game since I've given it up.

Bullies everywhere: They should be thankful that I have put on temporary hold my plan to get five or six really tough guys to travel around with me kicking the crap out of every bully we can find.

My grandson Casey: Casey is just over 1 year old and if it weren't for me he would have no idea what the word "hate" means. readers: They should be thankful for me for giving them something, sometimes, interesting to read. But they should really be thankful for all the other people at OMC who work harder than I've ever seen anyone work to create a daily magazine that has won national recognition for its quality.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

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 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.