Gary Harmon Column January 01, 2009

The envelope, please. And the winners are ...

2008. It’s finally, finally gone.

But not so far gone as to be forgotten.

It’s time to give out a few awards for the last year, which pretty obviously ended with a bang, not a whimper.

The This Woman Needs A Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle Award — previous recipients include Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, whose tenure as lieutenant governor was cut short prematurely by voters unimpressed with her patron, Bob Beauprey (OK, it’s not spelled that way, but that pretty much sums him up.)  This year, it’s Sarah Palin, who was plucked from relative obscurity in the hinterlands of Alaska by John McCain, who somehow has forgotten all about her. Next up for 2009, Caroline Schlossberg, er, Kennedy, who thought she could be installed in the Senate by an otherwise forgettable guy. Maybe she thought the third time would be the charm.

The Fawkes Award — to Bernie Buescher in recognition of his ability to crash and burn unexpectedly, then rise from the ashes when the spirit of Albus Denvermore is summoned.

The Harry Potter Award — to Laura Bradford, who on Nov. 4 finagled an invite to the Hogwarts School of Really Weird Stuff. She’ll take Interstate 70 3/4 to get there.

The Emiliano Zapata Award — to Muntather al-Zaidi, the guy who flung footwear at President Bush in Baghdad. The incident makes clear that the “W” stands for “wingtips.”

Accepting for al-Zaidi is Joe the Plumber, who has shown he’ll latch onto just about anyone for another hit from the klieg lights.

The Al Gore Award— to Bernie Madoff, pronounced “Made Off,” for perpetrating a fraud amounting to billions of dollars on faulty, politically correct bullsmarm made of garbage scintillatingly depicted with amazing graphics.

The Bernie Madoff Award— to Al Gore for perpetrating a fraud amounting to billions of dollars on faulty, politically correct bullsmarm made of garbage scintillatingly depicted with amazing graphics. Interestingly, the voters in this category are exactly the same as in the previous one.

The Up Piceance Creek Award Without a Paddle, also known as the Bitter Rill Award — to Bill Ritter, for making more political money off the Roan Plateau than is now being generated from its natural gas reserves.

The Wayne Allard Award — to the western Colorado politico who has done the most to boost the western Colorado economy by encouraging development of unconventional fuels, such as oil shale: U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.

The Other Wayne Allard Award — to the Colorado politico who does the most to limit federal spending, in recognition of Allard’s returning money from his congressional office accounts to the federal treasury:  U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, for opposing the automatic $4,700 pay raise heading into congressional paychecks this month for still unexplained reasons.

The Just Another Working Stiff Looking For a Job in Hard Times Award — to Mike Shanahan, who was single-handedly staving off the recession in the construction trades in Denver with the construction of a $20 million ShanaMansion until Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen asked him about the team’s lousy record, and Shanahan answered he had no defense. “Mastermind, you’re absolutely right,” Bowlen responded.

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