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There's a whole bunch of new and unusual Packers gifts for Green Bay fans.
There's a whole bunch of new and unusual Packers gifts for Green Bay fans. (Photo: Packers Pro Shop)

Badgers, Brett, bikinis fill bits and pieces of Wisconsin sports world

There is always a lot of sports news that comes across the desk that doesn’t really deserve a full blown article but nevertheless should be noted by sports fans.

Here’s a sample of some of the latest news items.

  • The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, one of the most highly regarded oddsmakers, has put the odds of Wisconsin being the national college basketball champion next year at 50-1. Maryland, North Carolina and Kentucky are the favorites at 7-1. Big 10 teams ahead of the Badgers include Maryland, Michigan State at 30-1 and Indiana at 40-1. The Badgers are tied with Butler, Cal, Notre Dame and Texas. Let’s all hope our memory of this year remains intact.

  • Rumors, rumors, rumors – the lifeblood of being a sports fan. Rumors continue to swirl about the next head to fall in Wisconsin. The Packers seem safe. But there is a rumor about who will get the axe first, Doug Melvin of the Brewers or John Hammond of the Bucks. Melvin obviously has a good relationship with Brewer’ owner Mark Attanasio, but if the decision is made to have a fire sale and begin to rebuild, a new GM may be in store. With the Bucks, it’s no secret that coach Jason Kidd wanted to run all the basketball operations with the Nets. The speculation is that he wants the same power in Milwaukee which would most likely force Hammond out.  Wonder who readers think will be the first one to go.

  • He’s been vilified and gone for quite awhile, but Brett Favre is coming back into the consciousness  of Wisconsin sports fans. He’s having his number retired and Lambeau Field is already sold out for that event. He is also going to play football again – flag football in Camp Randall in July. He will face a team headed by former Eagles’ quarterback, Donovan McNabb. Favre’s team will include Frank Winters, Mark Chmura, Javon Walker, Andre Rison and former UW star Ron Dayne. Proceeds will benefit Favre’s foundation. Favre is 45 years old.

  • Speaking of the Packers, the new lineup has …
And it's not even printed on green paper!
And it's not even printed on green paper!

Green Sheet's return seems a desperate cry from the newspaper

The debate about whether to kill the Green Sheet from the pages of the Milwaukee Journal lasted more than a decade.

I was working there in 1982 when I first heard about the discussion and will forever remember a crusty editor named Tom Lubenow standing in the middle of the newsroom.

"Only stupid people read this crap (he didn’t use the word crap; I'm paraphrasing)," he shouted. "Let’s dump this thing."

Lubenow was probably motivated by the fact that he had only so much newsprint available every day and hated the idea that four pages had to be devoted to this sheet that featured an advice column by Ione Quinby Griggs. Mrs. Griggs was ancient when I was there.

She always wore a hat, a frilly white blouse and a dark skirt. She’d hold her purse in front of her as she minced across the newsroom to her desk. She never said anything to anyone, as far as I could tell.

But now, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, "It’s baaaack!"

I have no idea why. The only people who might possibly be interested in this thing are closer to dying than they are to working. People wonder why the paper would do this.

Actually, I do know why.

They have given up trying to get the people under 60 to read the paper. Nobody I know needs the paper to see what’s on TV or to find out what movies are playing or even to play a crossword puzzle. All of that is available in easier and more complete formats online.

The paper is saying "We give up."

Most people I know under 60 have long maintained that the newspaper is drastically out of touch and is totally lost on the information highway. They've got a ponderous and hard to use website and a smaller and smaller staff to generate unique copy.

I also think it’s interesting that the day the Green Sheet premiered is also the day I cancelled my subscription to the print edition of the paper.

I love a newspaper. I read it. I like the way the ink stains my hands and the way it smells. But even I, as old and crotchety as I am, realize that I…

Authentic pho is a great treat at Buddha Lounge on North Avenue.
Authentic pho is a great treat at Buddha Lounge on North Avenue.
Buddha Lounge has dishes from Vietnam, China, Thailand and Japan.
Buddha Lounge has dishes from Vietnam, China, Thailand and Japan.

New Buddha Lounge offers a great, authentic pho

The first time I had Vietnamese pho, the famed noodle and broth dish eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, was in Nha Trang, a coastal city in what used to be South Vietnam, in either 1966 or 1967.

I loved the dish then and while it’s not a staple of my diet, I love it every now and then. Pho is a definitely staple in Vietnam, however, eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s sold in fine restaurants and as street food in many cities.

I was very please to find a new Milwaukee restaurant with the kind of pho I had in Vietnam.

Buddha Lounge, 1504 W. North Ave., a few blocks west of Oakland, has a great version of what it calls "Authentic Pho." I think the authenticity comes from the presence of tendon meat, which is served along with brisket and meatballs. The tendon is chewier than other meats and provides a fuller beef flavor to the dish and is not part of every version you can find in Milwaukee (though others certainly do include it). American tastes are not normally fond of things like tendon and, say, tripe.

This version has brisket, tendon and meatballs along with rice noodles and a garnish of scallions and cilantro. A dish of peppers, limes and bean sprouts comes alongside.

The broth of the pho is as flavorful as any I’ve ever eaten. You can get it with chicken or beef and the beef was light on the salt and heavy on beefiness. There was a smattering of onion and ginger in the broth, which is the key to the pho.

Kitchen manager Kain Nett has written a wide and varied menu with food from Vietnam, China, Thailand and Japan, including a decent selection of sushi dishes. I'm also a big fan of Buddha's banh mi.

But it’s the authentic pho that will bring me back for more.

The Buddha Lounge menu and online ordering options is available here.

Only three Green Bay Packers made the list of all-time NFL greats.
Only three Green Bay Packers made the list of all-time NFL greats. (Photo: Green Bay Packers)

Lots of Packers ignored on the latest all-time best NFL players list

Milwaukee loves lists, especially when someone else does one where we show up as a positive and praiseworthy place to live.

Great bars, best lake, finest craft beers – you know it and we love lists and usually trumpet them loudly.

Well, there’s a new list out and if it doesn’t get your dander up and make you swear, then your credentials as a real Wisconsinite may be revoked. They will at least be suspect.

This list comes from Rant is a media company, founded in Illinois and now doing web sites that range from sports to chic fashion to pets and politics.

Well rantsports is now out with a list of the 50 greatest National Football League players of all-time. You can see the list and who was the best of all-time here.

It’s not a bad list, but there are only three Green Bay Packers on the list – Forrest Gregg, No. 42;Brett Favre, No. 11;  Reggie White, No. 8.

To say this casts suspicion on the entire selection process is like saying the whole Kardashian family is nuts.

For example, there are five Dallas Cowboys and five Pittsburgh Steelers on the list. The Colts have four as do the Rams and the Bears. Green Bay is tied with Oakland with three each.

Let’s take a look at what may well be the most glaring error in the creation of this list.

Lance Alworth, a wide receiver for the San Diego Padres during the days of Air Coryell was No. 30.

A pretty good argument could be made that the Packers have had at least two wide receivers who were better than Alworth.

Don Hutson revolutionized pro football with his pass catching. At various times he held virtually every receiving record in the books.

And James Lofton was widely regarded as about the best receiver of his time, even though he played on chronically bad teams under Bart Starr the coach.

Starr the quarterback doesn’t even get a mention on this list despite being the field general for what may well have been the greatest teams in the history of the league.

Most of the players on t…