General

Wisch Lists are for New Year’s

2017From the Saturday, Dec. 31, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

The WISCH LIST

Wish lists are for Christmas.

But Wisch Lists? Well, just like every year, they’re for New Year’s.

Here as we sit on the edge of 2017, I’m looking back at a calendar year that was marked by global instability, a deeply bitter presidential election and the deaths of enough stars to fill a Hollywood sidewalk, if not an entire block.

But, at the same time, I’m looking back at a year that in which I got a new full-time job, embarked upon an epic 40th birthday adventure to Ireland and London with my lovely wife, and relished neither last nor least a Chicago Cubs World Series championship that was truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

In other words, 2016 was a mixed bag, just like every year. And as we step off that edge to New Year’s Eve, here’s what I hope is in the mix for 2017.

I Wisch that Muhammad Ali, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Alan Thicke, David Bowie, John Glenn, Jose Fernandez, Nancy Reagan, Arnold Palmer, Gordie Howe, Florence Henderson, Garry Shandling, Gene Wilder, Harper Lee, Garry Marshall, Merle Haggard, Craig Sager, John Saunders, Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin and several others could have stayed with us longer.

I Wisch that Fidel Castro could have left us sooner.

I Wisch for more patience from fans for University of Illinois football coach Lovie Smith, and less for basketball coach John Groce.

I Wisch that Illini hoops hadn’t sunk to the point where simply making the NCAA Tournament seems like an achievement. At Illinois, it isn’t. It’s a baseline.

I Wisch that 2017 could be as good to the Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks as 2016 was to the Cubs. (Sorry, White Sox, but I can’t Wisch that for you too.)

I Wisch to see the White Sox and Cubs in a future World Series, however.

I Wisch for the Cubs to party like it’s 1908 once again in 2017.

I Wisch to see less hypocrisy in politics, but even more so in political commentary. Every American is entitled to criticize, but at least criticize fairly – and evenly.

I Wisch for more civility and mutual respect among people of all ideological stripes. That applies to everyone from our president-elect to that friend’s Facebook thread you’re about to weigh in on.

I Wisch Twitter Editor was a post in Donald Trump’s cabinet.

I Wisch for an end to political fear mongering, nonstop outrage and crying wolf. If everything happening today is labeled a “disaster,” then nothing really is.

I Wisch to see Illinois without Michael Madigan in office.

I Wisch Joe Maddon could show a little humility.

I Wisch the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art hadn’t been treated like the Death Star by Chicago’s Friends of the Park(ing Lot).

I Wisch busybody campus groups would stop trying to foist an unwanted mascot on the University of Illinois.

I Wisch there was an easy answer to the violence that plagues Chicago’s South and West sides.

I Wisch that more people who claim to support tolerance showed more of it towards those who think differently than they do.

I Wisch our outgoing president heeded Mitt Romney’s warnings about Russia four years ago and that our incoming president heeded those same warnings today.

I Wisch to see ISIS – and its virulent influence – defeated.

I Wisch that Chicago and Illinois would stop losing population. But we need to fix our politics to stem that ebbing tide.

I Wisch that the bitterly cold snap we endured in December was both the first and last of the season, but I’m not holding my (visible) breath about that.

I Wisch pitchers and catchers reported yesterday.