2 JAN 11: For the Win
To borrow from an Atlanta television station, we've made it to "'11 Alive." One Columbus radio station is preaching nearly all of us will get out of this year dead - but you probably didn't come here for that sort of message....
So what did you do to mark the start of 2011? I was in bed trying to sleep when fireworks went off at midnight. Only one blast seemed to come from my apartment complex this year - and compared with 2009, I think this means my neighbors are growing disenchanted with President Obama.
Because 1 January fell on a Saturday this year, I put the Sabbath ahead of big parties and TV specials. But one thought came to mind Friday, as I heard about the preparations in New York. Why is considered thrilling and wonderful to "drop the ball" on 31 December, when it's considered wrong the rest of the year?
Before 2010 becomes a distant memory, we continue an annual tradition here - the first awards show of the new year. Yes, it's BURKARD AWARDS time again! I could put a "blog exclusive" label on this special event, but that seems a little like overkill to me....
The Burkard Awards pay tribute to the best worst, strangest and most curious items of the year -- and we invited blog reader input with one of them. Of course, that's the "big reveal" coming later -- but let's hand out other awards first, with congratulations (well, where appropriate) to all the winners:
+ Bully of the year: Teresa Tomlinson. Zeph Baker would tell you that - so Police Chief Ricky Boren might want to consider deploying the incoming mayor along Cusseta Road on some Friday nights.
+ Political candidate most in denial: Wayne Anthony. Two months after he finished third in the mayoral election, his campaign banners still hang from a building on Wynnton Road.
+ Incumbent facing the most re-election trouble: District Attorney Julia Slater. People are asking me why her office can't get murder convictions - as if humor bloggers cover murder trials.
+ Best political feud: Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara versus Councilor Jimmy Wetzel. It's a good thing these are only "virtual awards," or they'd be comparing sizes.
+ Top political flip-flop: Alabama State Rep. Lesley Vance. Not only did he change to the Republican Party after being re-elected as a Democrat, he even admitted he did it to keep some clout in Montgomery.
+ Sneakiest media flip-flop: WLTZ. Did you notice the "Alabama First News" logo changed from Crimson Tide red and white to Auburn blue and orange, after the Tigers won the Southeastern Conference football title?
+ Ugliest media flip-flop: WRCG AM-FM. It went from talk radio to "True Oldies" to classic rock "The Ride" - and I think the only option left for 2011 would involve buying the music library of the old "Viva 1460."
+ Hottest TV reporter: WLTZ's Olivia LaBorde. I assume she's also already been featured as a "Courier Cutie."
+ TV reporter most in need of an e-mail address change: WRBL's Sarah Panko. Who knows how many single guys get a laugh out of "Spanko" at WRBL.com ?
+ Longest e-mails: C.A. "Brother Love" Hardmon of the Grassroots Unity Movement for Change. The latest one has me wondering if I'm allowed to edit them or not anymore.
+ Most interesting new Internet media option: The River City Report. Perhaps I'm biased, because I helped Robbie Watson set it up - and perhaps it's now biased, because I've heard reports The Courier considers it racist.
+ Coach of the year: Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik. I never thought of him this way, but his record this past year made him a "perfect '10."
+ Coach whose job is most in trouble: Georgia Tech men's basketball coach Paul Hewitt. Losing on the road at Kennesaw State looked bad -- but now we see Kennesaw State's record is 2-10.
+ Strangest unsolved mystery: No, not Carlton Gary's DNA sample - it's the identity of the blogger who wrote "The Truth About Teresa."
+ Strangest traffic move: An unknown driver I spotted at Fourth and Veterans Parkway Thursday afternoon. While east-west traffic waited at a red light, he drove into the left-turn lane - then turned right in front of three lanes of cars. And not a single police officer was pursuing him.
+ Dumbest criminal (alleged): Jerome Fields. He's the man Auburn Police say was captured in a kitchen, while cooking ground beef -- perhaps the first person ever to consider the "Ham-Burglar" an inspiration.
+ Smartest change by a supermarket: Save-A-Lot cashiers actually bagging groceries in plastic bags. They must have grown tired of my walking in with Wal-Mart and Publix bags.
+ Restaurant chain which would be easiest to bring to Columbus: Bob Evans. Two empty Shoney's buildings are waiting, and the menus wouldn't be very different.
+ Fast-food chain that's most lost its way: Krystal. "Game Time Wings" at a hamburger restaurant? Basket dinners starting at $4.69, featuring sandwiches less meaty than a Big Mac? I really don't think anyone asked for a small-scale sports bar.
+ Beggar of the year: The count dropped from nine to seven in 2010, and we award this to the man we passed at a bus stop on Fifth Street. What started as a request for change turned into a question about whether my pastor would help pay his rent. (My pastor tells me the answer is no.)
+ Local celebrity with the biggest smile while changing his alarm clock: Calvin Floyd this weekend.
+ Joke of the year, as selected by blog readers: Georgia State Rep. Mike Cheokas of Americus announced he's switching parties, and becoming a Republican. I'm starting to think Republicans should change their animal symbol from the elephant to the dolphin - you know, as in Flipper. [21 Dec 10]
Final 2010 score: more than 54,700 unique visitors to The Blog of Columbus! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.
BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 728 (- 33, 4.3%)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.
© 2003-11 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.