We’ve been reflecting on 2016 on the Rusty Satellite Show and EatDrinkTalk podcasts. I love all those end-0f-the-year lists, which I use to fill my Amazon Watchlist queue and take note of worthy books for future reading. And now that I’ve got a new friend, named Alexa, that plays my musical choices whenever I ask, I can easily remember what made news is 2016.
However, I’m really tired of hearing people complain about the year, expressing joy for its demise, and dread about 2017. Yes, I’m aware that famous people passed away in 2016 – a list headed by Muhammad Ali and including Prince, David Bowie and recently, Carrie Fisher. I lost two friends with whom I shared time on the racquetball court and bowling alley, and both were taken much too early.
Of course, it was a year dominated by an election that rocked our worlds — after spending so much of the year making fun of Donald Trump and his supporters, it turned out there were enough of them out there to get him elected over much-despised Hillary Clinton. So I’m dreading the Trump era, but he did make it a profound year for comedy, and absurdity. And with a mini-Trump now in control in Kentucky, with his own party in power, it could be a long 2017.
Never has there been more news about the University of Louisville than in 2016, and the controversies weren’t limited to sports. Sure, the basketball team has a stripper scandal cloud hanging over it, which caused a good team to miss a chance to compete in the NCAA Tournament. And the football team, despite going 9-3, being ranked much of the season in the Top 5 and having the Heisman Trophy winner, may be remembered more for how it obtained a Wake Forest playbook, or had 2 players shot at a party, than for its Citrus Bowl outcome with LSU.
No, the real news at U of L started at the top — as the greedy Jim Ramsey did his best to hide his actions from the media, engaged in a public fight with the board and was eventually, reluctantly, kicked out of his office. The school continued paying outrageous salaries and rewarding those leaving with hefty compensation. Finally, Gov. Bevin tried to intervene by firing the Board, a possibly-illegal action which resulted in an ongoing lawsuit with his predecessor’s son that may keep the school from replacing Ramsey for the foreseeable future. And then the interim president left for Cincinnati.
But 2016’s lasting legacy may be that it was the year that the Ohio River Bridges Project was finally completed, and tolling became a real thing around here. Traveling through Spaghetti Junction became much easier, and out in the East End you can now get to Utica, Ind. without going downtown.
I talked about all this with Bill Brymer and Jackie Bentley on the final Rusty Satellite Show of 2016. The podcast’s highlight, for me, included talking with John Ramsey the week of Muhammad Ali’s funeral. Bill noted memorable interviews with musicians Harry Pickens and Hickory Vaught, and I went to Woodford County to talk with Kentucky’s first female master distiller at Castle & Key.
More than 100 entertainers, politicians, entrepreneurs, artists, promoters, athletes, motivators, writers, business leaders and yes, even a pumpkin carver, were part of Rusty’s 2016. Listen in as we talk about the most interesting people of 2016 with Bill and Jackie.
Of course, every year in the restaurant business is newsworthy, as an industry filled with interesting personalities, openings and closings and events like chef’s tables, beer festivals and soft openings that kept me and Steve Coomes busy at EatDrinkTalk. There were so many distillery and brewery openings to cover that we barely kept up!
We launched in May, and have been going strong ever since at EatDrinkTalk.net. Tune in as Steve and I review all that went on in local food and drink in 2016.
So here we are at New Year’s Eve — and there’s plenty to do. From Lou Year’s Eve on Main Street to the festivities at Fourth Street Live! to the great independent restaurants around here to your neighborhood haunt, go out and celebrate the arrival of 2017 with style.