The 2014 Coyote Awards
Yes, it’s awards season again, as we celebrate the best (and worst) of a year that looks better in the rear-view mirror. Over the next few months we’ll be subjected to the Tonys, the Grammys, the Oscars, the Obies, the Clios, and oh yeah, the Golden Globes. Oh, and the People’s Choice Awards. So why not one more? We proudly present the 2014 Coyotes. Black tie and gown is optional.
We begin with the Ass Whuppin’ of the year, received by the Democrats in the November midterms. Man, that’s gonna leave a mark. The last time liberals were beaten this badly was by the Chicago police in 1968. The lesson: Don’t act like moderate Republicans.
Best Road Trip — Hitchbot, built by a couple of professors at Ryerson University in Toronto, thumbed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, B.C. last August. It did it all by itself, too, and somehow escaped being a pile of scrap metal behind some tree in Manitoba.
The Understatement of the Year — President Obama, during a press conference from the White House on Aug 1st was addressing the CIA torture program: “We tortured some folks.” He went on to elaborate how this was contrary to our values, but neglected to admit that he’d also blown up some folks with robots, and some of those folks were U.S. citizens who received no charge, trial, or access to legal counsel.
The Trailer Trash Award — This goes to the Palin family, who on September 6th were involved in a drunken brawl at an Anchorage night club. Except for Trigg, the youngest, all were involved in shouting, rassling, or fisticuffs, with Ms. Palin herself yelling, “Do you know who I am? Do you know who I am?” Yes, Sarah, we know. Please drink responsibly.
The Figures Can’t Lie But Liars Can Figure Award goes to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is trying to resell some old snake oil called Reaganomics. It’s the delusion that if you cut taxes on the rich, somehow it will increase government tax revenues. After thirty-five years it still hasn’t worked, but he’s dressing it up in a new cheap suit called “Dynamic Scoring.” So when you hear that term from someone, give ‘em the old Bronx Cheer.
The Who Would Jesus Torture Award — This was no contest. It goes to Brian Fisher of the American Family Association (who earlier this year said that all of Islam is like ebola, and the rainbow flag is the Mark of the Beast). I actually heard him say this on the radio. See if you can follow this tortuous (not torturous) logic: Enhanced interrogation techniques are legal and got information that saved people’s lives. Jesus saved lives and also believed in the rule of law, so he would have supported it. He added, “It’s the Christian thing to do.” He could be right, as a Pew Research poll last fall showed that 69& of white evangelicals were in favor of what the CIA did.
The Faulty Brain-to-Mouth Connection Award — This goes to the best gaffe on live TV. The runner-up was a blonde bimbette on some cable news show, reporting on the Kurdish militia, known as the peshmerga. But instead she said Depeche Mode. But the award goes to a different blond bimbette at the conclusion of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game. With the crowd aroar and as the confetti fell, she excitedly announced: “The U Conn Huskies are the 2014 NAACP Champions!”
Best Sports Moment — The Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, tipping a last-second pass from 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick into Malcolm Smith’s waiting arms, to seal the NFC Championship game. The Super Bowl was terrific too, but anticlimactic.
Plague of the Year Award — You thought it would be ebola, didn’t you? It was a strong contender, to be sure, having killed over 7000 so far. But once again, the winner is the Republicans. A Harvard School of Medicine study last year estimated that 17,000 Americans will die each year, because they live in one of the Republican-controlled states that (for political reasons) refused the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
Best Student Input — A professor at a Canadian university was lecturing his class, and said to them: “When Alexander the Great was your age, he’d already conquered the world.” A student in back replied: “Alexander had Aristotle as his teacher. All we have is you.”
The Great Dashed Expectations Award goes to the Brazilian soccer fans, the only sports fans in the world even more obnoxious than Dallas Cowboy fans. Brazil hosted soccer’s World Cup last summer, and while Brazil has fallen from dominance, their fans just assumed they’d win it. Reality set in early as Germany, the eventual Cup winner, stormed out to a 5-0 lead in just the first half. Cameras began zooming in on the fans, wide-eyed with shock and disbelief. I was thinking as I watched, now they know how Poland felt in September, 1939. What, still too soon?
The Funniest Line — This was early summer, when Cliven Bundy, a redneck deadbeat who hadn’t paid his federal grazing fees for a year, was holding forth with some other gun-totin’Bubbas. Just weeks before, Fred Phelps died. He’d co-founded the Westboro Baptist Church, those “Christians” who protested against gays at soldiers’ funerals. Liz Winstead, who founded “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” really tickled my ivories with this one: “When God closes a Fred Phelps, he opens a Cliven Bundy.”
How you folks doing? Can I refresh your drink? Maybe some espresso? Tiramisu? We always save the big awards for the end of the evening. Hope you enjoy the show.
Most Under-reported Story of the Year — That would be James Risen’s column in the New York Times on June 29, 2014, titled: “Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning From Blackwater.” Remember when those Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007? Just weeks before, the State Department was doing an investigation into the private contractor’s shady business practices. Risen: “But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: that he could kill the government’s chief investigator and no one could or would do anything” because it was in Iraq. I’d say that’s pretty chilling, but I didn’t hear any major media mention it, did you?
The What Were They Thinking Award — There were a flotilla of contenders for this award for worst idea of the year; Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew, a burger with a mac and cheese bun, a two-legged chair, a drive-thru funeral chapel in Saginaw, MI, and a sewage treatment plant near Seattle which for $2000 can be rented out for weddings. Nothing beats Yoshihiro Kawaoke of the University of Wisconsin, though. He genetically manipulated a common flue virus to evade the human immune system. Every year 30,000 Americans die of common flu, and this guy wants to make it 300 million, I guess.
Person of the Year — This is no contest, it’s Pope Francis I. Did you know he was a nightclub bouncer before entering the priesthood? Rather than the Popemobile, he’d rather drive an old beater one of his friends gave him. He chooses to live in a modest apartment rather than the papal estate, and just gave a bunch of high-ranking prelates a dressing down for being greedy hypocrites. Early last year when asked about gay people, he said if someone lives a good life and prays to God, who is he to judge? He may be the first authentically pastoral Pope, and I love the guy. He’s a real mensch.
The Grand Irony Award goes to Bill O’Reilly of Fox (alleged) News. He was referring to the liberal slant of some MSNBC story, and actually said: “When you hear something on a partisan program, don’t believe it!” You got it, Bill, and thanks for that tip.
The Ignoramus Rex Award — This one is for the most ridiculous, gob-stompingly ignorant drivel to spill from the pie hole of an idiot, and as always, had a multitude of contenders. Heck, Brian Fisher (see above) had two nominations in this category. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said dozens of stupid things, as he always does. The runner-up was Sarah Palin, who was addressing an NRA rally last April. She said if she were President, “Waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists!” The winner, though, and still champion, is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who blathered: “Net neutrality is Obamacare for the internet.” Huh? At the risk of my sanity I shall attempt to translate. To ideologues like him, Obamacare is phrased as government running your health care, taking it over. So I guess he thinks the government wants to run the internet. At least I think that’s what he means, but who the hell knows? Wait — he may be right! Just as Obamacare protects us from our health insurer dropping us when we get sick, or refusing us for a pre-existing condition, net neutrality protects us from Comcast establishing fast lanes for the moneyed, while the rest of us get slow high-speed internet (something I already have). Alright then, I retroactively nominate Senator Cruz for the Inadvertently Telling the Truth Award.
Well, that’s our show for this year, and have a great 2015. Oh, and be sure and tip the wait staff and valets.