In Holiday Guide

Remember all of this? (PHOTO: Team USA and Flickr/Michael Paul)

The year that was 2018

Before the bells chime and the ball drops, let's take one final look at just a handful of the good, the bad and the ugly events that made up the past 365 days.

January

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers are dating

After weeks of speculation, Aaron Rodgers and accomplished race car driver Danica Patrick finally announced that they were an item. In other early year Packers news, GM Ted Thompson was fired transitioned to senior advisor to football operations. And as we all know, that fixed everything!

Oprah's big Golden Globes speech

As the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, Oprah Winfrey delivered a speech about #MeToo, the need for truth and journalism, and representation across all industries. It was massive, powerful and moving – and we're not just saying that because it began with a shoutout to Milwaukee.

Chief Flynn retires

After ten years at the position, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn announced his retirement from the MPD in early January.

Jason Kidd fired

While Giannis Antetokounmpo was flying high, scoring the most player votes for the All-Star game and earning starter status for the second straight year, the Bucks were all-too-grounded, barely staying afloat over .500. So it was time for head coach Jason Kidd to go after four seasons. No team has hired him as head coach since. His water-spilling antics have been missed.

Racing sausages link ink new sponsor

Talk about meat sweats. Brewers fans suddenly found themselves nervous their marathoning meats were cooked after the Brewers nixed its relationship with Klement's. But fears were quickly cooled as the Brewers quickly explained the speedy sausages weren't going anywhere – and, the next day, officially replacing its longtime link sponsor with Johnsonville. Meanwhile, Klement's didn't lick its wounds, instead joining forces with the new Bucks arena as its official and exclusive sausage, as well as teaming with Summerfest for a new stage.

Brewers deal for Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain

Not content to save all its big offseason moves to its racing meats, the Milwaukee Brewers make back-to-back massive deals, trading with the mid-firesale Miami Marlins for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain from the Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, the Cubs signed starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

Huh.

Tide Pods

For reasons unknowable to the human brain, youths started eating Tide Pods. Maybe they saw the suicide-inducing monsters from "Bird Box." Thankfully, in a rarity for 2018, logic and self-preservation won out, and this "viral trend" quickly disappeared. At least we got some brightly decorated doughnuts out of the whole bizarre ordeal.

People we lost

  • Dolores O'Riordan, Cranberries lead singer

February

The Patriots lose the Super Bowl

It turns out we'd sent the wrong flock of birds to defeat the Patriots over the years, as the Eagles did what the Seahawks and Falcons couldn't: finish the job against the New England, beating Tom Brady and company, 41-33. With the help of backup quarterback Nick Foles and a trick play immediately enshrined in sports history as "the Philly Special," Philadelphia conquered the NFL's most intolerable dynasty – and then conquered its greased-up light poles.

"The Cloverfield Paradox" premieres; everyone wishes it hadn't

Netflix shocked the world when it not only revealed that it had bought the much-anticipated sci-fi movie "God Particle" from Paramount, but that it was a "Cloverfield" film – and that it would premiere right after the Super Bowl. Then everyone watched it and realized why Paramount sold the movie away: It sucked.

Justin Timberlake gets upstaged at the Super Bowl

Pop star and Packers fan Justin Timberlake took the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show, delivering a bunch of hits and thankfully not delivering a Prince hologram. (There was, however, a briefly Prince interlude.) But the most memorable part of the show ended up being not the star but a spectator: a teenager snagging a selfie with JT, then snagging meme-oriety.

"This Is Us" kills Jack

What better way to celebrate all the joy of the Patriots losing the Super Bowl than by watching a beloved family patriarch die! Yeah, NBC's hit family drama used its time in the postgame spotlight to officially – and very depressingly – show how Jack Pearson died. (Spoiler: Never take a crockpot and never get a Snickers bar.) The episode itself wasn't great, but it finally helped put to bed a shadow that had haunted the show for a bit too long. Plus, Jack hasn't actually gone anywhere, having an extensive new Vietnam plot line for its return in the fall.

Giannis dunk demolish Knicks player

Tim Hardaway, Jr. seemed to have such a promising career. Then Giannis dunked his soul out of his body and he had no choice but to retire from the game. He works at a Home Depot now. (Editor's note: No, he doesn't, but frankly that'd be a better fate than having to keep playing for the current Knicks squad.)

"Fifty Shades" fails to go out on a bang

The least-sexy sexy movie franchise (which is saying something considering there aren't many) reached its limp climax with "Fifty Shades Freed," somehow concluding with Anastasia Steele hunting down kidnappers who stole Rita Ora. Thankfully audiences' punishment is finally over, and Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are the ones truly freed.

"Black Panther" blows up the box office

Everybody knew "Infinity War" would be a massive hit, but here's a fun fact: "Black Panther" on its own made more money, becoming the third highest-grossing movie of all time (not including inflation) while scoring deservedly glowing reviews that will likely drive it to a well-earned Best Picture nomination to start 2019. So maybe we can FINALLY put the Hollywood "common knowledge" that black-led films don't sell to bed forever?

Winter Olympics slide into South Korea

All eyes were on Korea as the Winter Olympics kicked off in PyeongChang, making stars out of snowboarder Chloe Kim, ice skaters Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu, Sconnie curlers Becca and Matt Hamilton, the return of the super-shiny flag bearer from Tonga and Elizabeth Swaney, who completed this very impressive halfpipe run.

People who died

  • Reg E. Cathey, character actor from "The Wire," "House of Cards" and more

March

"The Shape of Water" makes a splash at the Oscars

Yet again, a science fiction movie about a woman doing it with a fish monster scored big at the Academy Awards. Yawn. Guillermo del Toro's darkly romantic aquatic fantasy won four trophies, while Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for "Get Out" and Armie Hammer launched hot dogs into an audience waiting for "A Wrinkle in Time" – which wasn't close to the craziest thing Armie Hammer did this year.

Wolf Peach/c. 1880 close

The Milwaukee food scene took two shocking hits in March as Wolf Peach and c. 1880 both closed its doors in March. The lesson, as always: If you love a restaurant, go to it – or it might just go away.

Underdogs dominate March Madness

Sure, Villanova won its second national championship, but nobody remembers that from 2018's edition of March Madness. They remember Loyola Chicago's miracle run to the Final Four as an 11 seed, as well as the first time a 16 seed beat a top seed with UMBC suffocating Virginia for the upset. No one even bothered to complain about blown-up brackets because, when a 16 seed wins, everyone's bracket loses.

People who died

  • Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and genius

April

Bucks battle to a Game 7 with the Boston Celtics

In a season of drastic highs and lows, the Bucks season fittingly came to a mixed conclusion: The fairly dysfunctional Bucks struggled to a puttered to a seven seed (boo!) but got to play an injury-ravaged Boston Celtics team (yay!) only to lose in seven games (boo!) but still play an impressive team, one that reached the Eastern Conference Finals, tight all the way to the finish. (Yay!) People expected more from the Bucks in 2017-18 – a first-round series victory, mostly – but at least the end showed a team still on the rise, with clear places for easy improvement, not on the way down.

Giannis can't get a seat at BelAir Cantina

Remember this dumb thing? Thanks to one silly and innocuous tweet, BelAir Cantina having a busy night and not having space for Giannis after a playoff win turned into a national outrage. It was the ideal 21st century controversy, which is to say it wasn't a controversy, but it gave anyone fuel to dislike whatever part of the story – BelAir, social media, "entitled overpaid athletes" – they already disliked. People could see whatever they wanted ... until it became clear that there was nothing to see here.

"Avengers: Infinity War" delivers on years of buildup

It came. It saw. It conquered. It made Spider-Man – and money – vanish from your pocket.

Yodel Boy warbles into America's heart

You can find just about anything in a Walmart: food, clothes, electronics, a young boy in a bowtie making yodeling hip for a hot second with a sweet country ode in the middle of the home goods aisle. Of course, 11-year-old Mason Ramsey went on to officially release a song. Not so of course? It's not that bad!

People who died

  • Davey Nelson, beloved baseball player and Brewers TV analyst
  • Milos Forman, director of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus"
  • R. Lee Ermey, "Full Metal Jacket" actor
  • Avicii, DJ and musician
  • Verne Troyer, famed "Mini Me" actor

May

My god, IKEA is open

Rejoice! The gates of Swedish furniture heaven opened in Oak Creek during May. Grönkullas and Dagstorps for everyone!

Trinity church suffers a devastating fire

The historic Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, home to Milwaukee's oldest Lutheran congregation, falls victim to a massive fire breaking out while workers were repairing the roof. Thankfully no one was hurt in the blaze, and there are surviving pieces of the former structure that can be used to rebuild the iconic space.

Bucks hire Mike Budenholzer as head coach

After months of searching, the Bucks landed on former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer as their new man at the helm. In his first season, the Bucks have looked much more coherent on both ends of the court, currently hold the best record in the NBA, positioned Giannis as a true MVP candidate and have even seen productive minutes from DJ Wilson. What a world!

"This is America"

Right before his gig both serving as host and musical guest, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino releases a new song, "This Is America," with a loaded, incendiary, horrifying and hypnotic music video violently dancing its way around a warehouse slowly falling into mesmerizing madness.

Yanny versus Laurel was a thing

I remember The Dress – and Yanny versus Laurel, you are no The Dress. It's a shame my grandmother is no longer with us; she would've crushed it during this era of Mishearing Things Is News.

Meghan Markle married Prince Harry

I'm mixed on this 2018 news story. On one hand, "Suits" actress Meghan Markle's wedding into royalty was as storybook and gorgeous as one might imagine, and she's taken to her influential role very well, preaching positive messages. On the other hand, we've had to hear far too much from her disgruntled half-sister and father. Media, do me a favor and stop ruining a lovely story by indulging these spotlight hunters.

People who died

  • Margot Kidder, Lois Lane in the original "Superman" films
  • Philip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

June

The Golden State Warriors win the NBA Finals yet again

But who cares about that. All that matters is that J.R. Smith forgot the score in the closing minutes of Game 1, making LeBron lose his hair even faster and turning him into a gloriously frustrated meme. James may hate him, but J.R. provided the one unpredictable part of a Finals otherwise preordained before the season began.

IHOP "changes" "its" "name" to IHOB

In a shocking turn of events, the International House of Pancakes announced that it would change its name to IHOB. And in an entirely predictable turn of events, it turns out the whole gambit was just glorified marketing for its new line of burgers, and the name change lasted about a month. Waffle House wouldn't play with your heart like that.

World Cup fever strikes even without the U.S.

Even with the United States ingloriously failing to qualify and even overseen by Vladimir Putin, the World Cup in Russia was a worldwide delight, providing plenty of thrills as France took the championship from underdog Croatia while England made a fierce run at the cup and Argentinean legend Diego Maradona threw up a hammered double bird. Something for everybody! (Except for U.S. Soccer.)

Summerfest throws another great party

In the first year of the new U.S Cellular Connection Stage and the final year of the American Family Insurance Amphitheater (aka the Am Fam Amp), the Big Gig threw a big party featuring Arcade Fire, Dave Matthews Band, Imagine Dragons – don't worry; Summerfest was fine this time – and OnMilwaukee's own Molly Snyder spending a whole very hot, very humid day on the Skyglider.

Bird scooters invade Milwaukee

A modernized Alfred Hitchcock remake invaded Milwaukee this summer as hundreds of bird (scooters) roosted uninvited in Brew City. True, the scooters were fun and cheap. Also true: They showed up without any permits or asking anyone. After weeks of debate, the Common Council made the bird scooters flock elsewhere – but surely they'll return for a sequel.

People who died

  • Anthony Bourdain, famed chef, food television show host and culinary ambassador
  • Kate Spade, iconic fashion designer and businesswoman

July

Brewers send five to the All-Star game

As one of the best teams in the league, the Milwaukee Brewers sent four players (Christian Yelich, Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader and Lorenzo Cain) to the All-Star Game in Washington D.C. – plus a fifth when the fan vote #BelievedInJesus, sending the hot-hitting first baseman to the big game.

The new Bucks arena finally gets a name

After months of speculation and naming, then renaming, every possible local brand, the new Bucks arena finally got a name: Fiserv Forum. A solid name, as it's no Smoothie King Center or KFC Yum! Arena – though there's still time to call it the Art Smart's Dart Mart and Juggling Emporium Auditorium.

August

After a month closed, the Oriental Theatre reopens

Milwaukee Film put on quite the show for the city this year – and we're not just talking about the annual film festival. This summer, the organization took the reins of the legendary East Side movie palace, and after a month of preparing and repairing, the theater gloriously reopened with Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" and the fashion doc "McQueen." And the best is sure yet to come.

The Academy creates (then immediately kills) its Best Popular Movie Award

The Academy worked hard to improve its signature show this year. Placing the Oscars earlier in the schedule? Makes sense. Making a shorter show? About time. Axing technical categories. Oh ... not like that. Maybe we kill off the standup routines and Armie Hammer hotdog launcher bits before we murder the WHOLE REASON WE'RE THERE. But the true ire went to the Best Popular Movie award, to which America responded by quoting Don Draper:

The new award was quickly taken out back and shot.

The holiday parade is canceled

Christmas came early – if you're the Grinch, maybe, as construction projects affecting the route, a lack of funding and other issues halted the Milwaukee Holiday Parade, which was 92 years old. And unless solutions are found, it may be canceled for years to come.

People who died

  • Neil Simon, playwright extraordinaire
  • Robin Leach, chronicler of the lifestyles of the rich and famous
  • Aretha Franklin, one of the great voices in music history
  • John McCain, war hero and politician

September

Fiserv Forum opens

Now that it finally got a name, it was time to open the damn thing, as a bright and shiny Fiserv Forum hosted its first event: a Killers concert, complete with the Violent Femmes for a special hometown flavor. Several months later, walking through Fiserv Forum still feels like walking in a different city, still learning its quirks and corners, but we can't wait to make it feel more and more like home.

Zendaya is Meechee

The ads may have been for the animated adventure "Smallfoot," but this is the movie that will be remembered. Sorry, Channing and pals.

The world meets Gritty; the world is never the same

In case it wasn't enough to gift the nation a New England Patriots defeat, Philadelphia's hockey team brought a saint into the world: Gritty, the Flyers' googly-eyed, bright orange new mascot (who, I'm just saying, has never been seen in the same room as Ed Sheeran or Dodgers star Justin Turner). Gritty is not the hero we deserve, but he's the hero we need.

Brewers defeat the Cubs in Game 163

One more time.

The Cubs would go on to lose to the Colorado Rockies in the one-game Wild Card game. Wave the flag!

People who died

  • Burt Reynolds, beloved star of "Smokey and the Bandit"
  • Mac Miller, famous rapper

October

"A Star is Born"

Audiences stopped to take another look at Bradley Cooper's update of the iconic Hollywood melodrama, starring Lady Gaga in a role guaranteed to nab her an Oscar nomination (and probably the win) come 2019. The locked-in Best Picture candidate also scored more than $200 million at the box office – so thank the heavens for that Best Popular Movie idea, right?

"Making a Murderer" season two debuts

Just in time for Halloween, Netflix dropped season two of "Making a Murderer" – and while the show still seemed to score viewers and numbers, it definitely didn't create the explosion of the original. Probably because, if somebody really wanted to watch season two, they just had to keep an eye on the news over the past three years. Damn reality, always spoiling my documentaries.

Brewers make an impressive postseason run

#Brewlief was pouring in full force this fall, as the Brewers rode a ridiculous hot streak into the playoffs, defeating the Cubs in Game 163 to take the NL Central, then dispatching the Colorado Rockies in a clean sweep. Sadly, their miraculous run came to a close in the NLCS, losing Game 7 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. But in the end, Milwaukee still won – because we got free George Webb burgers!

Wisconsin sports history

The Brewers may not have made history by winning the World Series, the Bucks barely got started in 2018 and any history the Packers made is best left forgotten. But together, on Oct. 7, all three teams made the Wisconsin sports record books as it was the first time all three played on the same day. Sure, the Bucks game was just a preseason spat, but if we can't have a World Series, at least give us this.

November

Everyone goes to The Hop

After decades of debate, the Milwaukee streetcar – properly named The Hop – finally took to the street, driving loads of people (75,000 to be exact) in its first month. And many more to come.

Christian Yelich wins MVP

The Brewers' stellar outfielder won the National League MVP in a race that was only close at the end for those who didn't bother to watch Milwaukee. Cubs infielder Javy Baez landed in second – just like his entire team finished second to the Brewers in the division!

The definitely not live-action "Lion King" debuts a trailer

For those who love "The Lion King" but wish it didn't have all that bright animation and those bold colors? Wish their faces weren't expressive? Well, does Disney have a film for you! OK, so the voice cast is great and – hot take coming through – the original film does have places for improvement, so let's not make any judgments now. Well, one judgment: I will judge anyone who calls this a live-action remake. No expert here, but unless Disney actually trained a baboon to hoist an actual lion cup in front of actual zebras bowing in unison, pretty confident it's still animation.

People who died

  • Stephen Hillenburg, created of "SpongeBob Squarepants"
  • Ricky Jay, the kind of magician who mesmerized other magicians
  • Stan Lee, creator of heroes on the page and inspiration to heroes in reality
  • George H.W. Bush, former president

December

Packers fire head coach Mike McCarthy

After losing to the miserable Arizona Cardinals at home, while still in the middle of a playoff hunt, the Green Bay Packers fired Mike McCarthy. Over 13 seasons as head coach of the team, McCarthy compiled a 125-77-2 record while going 10-8 in the postseason and winning a Super Bowl in the 2010 season.

Kevin Hart is the new Oscars host ... then isn't

In what seemed like a solid get at the time, The Academy named comedian and actor Kevin Hart its host. Then some Bad Old Tweets showed up, and instead of apologizing, Hart got defensive. Well, he EVENTUALLY apologized ... after he was taken off the gig. So the solution is obvious now: no host, and spend the time usually spent on comedy bits on – gasp! – showcasing movies.

People who died

  • Penny Marshall, star of "Laverne & Shirley" and director of "Big" and "A League of Their Own"

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