As the old saying goes, nothing in life is certain except for death, taxes and the Bobby Awards.
Why fight it? After 17 consecutive years, this runaway train can no longer be stopped. You might as well stay in your PJs, mix yourself a bourbon and eggnog for breakfast and cuddle up to the Bobbys 18.0.
As you should certainly know by now, the Bobby Awards honor the best and worst, the goofiest and the dumbest, the oddest and most embarrassing moments our area had to offer during the 12 months gone by.
Unlike those overhyped national awards — the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Tonys — the Bobbys are locally produced and commercial-free.
They also are biased, insensitive, slanted, sarcastic, one-sided and unfair.
And therein lies their beauty.
?BEST FAREWELL: The Columbus Dispatch printed an obituary that would warm the heart of any Northeast Ohio sports fan. The obit said the deceased man “respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pallbearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.”
?STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD: On Feb. 17, Copley police responded to an alarm at Arrowhead Elementary School. The officers discovered a broken window near the front door. The report concluded: “After investigating and finding footprints in the snow, it was determined the perpetrator was a male sheep, who rammed the window with its horns.” The sheep was given a five-day, in-school detention and also will be held baaaaaack a year.
?WORST CAMPAIGN AD: If Akron Municipal Judge Katarina Cook runs again, she might want to keep a closer eye on her campaign’s Facebook account. On the eve of the November election, her page read: “The Voting Poles will be open tomorrow from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.” Yes, the Voting Poles. Isn’t that a European rock band?
?WORST GRADUATION GIFT: All 348 of the handsome leather diploma covers read “Cayahoga Falls High School.” Inside each folder, a gold seal on the diploma featured another gem: “Cuyahuga Falls.” Variety may well be the spice of life, but not when it comes to spelling. The school has been in existence for 146 years. You’d think by now we could have reached a consensus on the proper arrangement of letters.
?BAD RAP AWARD: I honestly can’t understand how former Cleveland Indians pitcher Chris Perez was convicted of receiving marijuana in the mail. Clearly, the guy was framed. All of the testimony acknowledged that the package delivered to his house was addressed to his dog. You can’t expect somebody to be watching his pet 24/7. At some point, a pet simply must take responsibility for its own actions.
?WORST RETIREMENT PARTY: After a mere 35 years of serving as one of the station’s most prominent personalities, WNIR (100.1-FM) morning man Stan Piatt was treated like a one-week temp. His exact retirement date was seemingly undecided when the station’s owners suddenly booted him after a routine Tuesday show, giving Piatt no chance to say a public goodbye. What did they think he was going to do, firebomb the place where he spent 35 years of his life?
?POOR SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: According to the police blotter, a golfer at Prestwick Country Club in Green got into a quarrel with a 59-year-old man who eventually pulled a gun from his golf bag and pointed it at him. The gunman was charged with a 2-stroke penalty.
?CSI: HUDSON: Yet another heinous crime in the hellhole of Hudson. A correspondent reported that a resident called police because “someone moved snow in his front yard to make a ‘phallic shape.’?” This proved to be a tough crime to solve when a warm spell caused the evidence to shrink. Detectives were thrown for a loop, because, in most cases, shrinkage is caused by cold temperatures.
?PRIDE COMETH BEFORE A FALL: The state issued a new standard license plate called “Ohio Pride.” The design is excellent: clean, sharp and balanced. In the background, in faint gray, are names, phrases and slogans in which we presumably take pride. Look closely and you will see things like “Lake Erie” and “8 U.S. Presidents.” On the left center, Akron gets a shout-out — for the “Inventors Hall of Fame.” Um ... had the good folks in Columbus bothered to check, they would have discovered that our Inventors Hall went broke and moved to Alexandria, Va., in 2008. Not exactly bursting with pride over that one.
?MOST MYSTERIOUS HONOR: In September, the Sports section of my favorite newspaper mentioned an award with which I had not been familiar: “The Summit County Cross Country Coaches Association selected its annual runners of the week.”
?GRASS NEVER SLEEPS: You try to beautify your community and this is the thanks you get? A Cuyahoga Falls man was charged with disorderly conduct after he was found mowing his neighbor’s yard at 1 a.m.
?IRONY TROPHY: Kenmore High School named its football press box after alumnus and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. The next time Plusquellic says something nice about anyone in the press will be the first.
?BENEDICT ARNOLD AWARD: With publicists like this, who needs enemies? One of the reasons given by press secretary Rob Nichols for Gov. John Kasich’s refusal to allow reporters into an October speech in Fairlawn was that Kasich would just be giving “the same speech he always gives.”
?BEST VIDEO: In February, a puzzled North Hill taxpayer watched a city of Akron snowplow pass his house, blade down, scraping its way along a bone-dry street. On the driver’s return trip, the resident pulled out his cellphone and captured 26 seconds that turned into a local YouTube hit. “To be perfectly honest,” said the driver’s boss, Service Director John Moore, “we don’t know what the hell he was doing.” The worker earned a written reprimand and a permanent spot in the Big Blade Hall of Fame.
?CSI: MEDINA: A police report from ever-dangerous Medina Township said “a Stonington Drive resident called police Sept. 17 to complain of a suspicious tapping noise. Officers discovered the source of the noise was a neighbor making a plumbing repair.”
?GOOFIEST INVITE: A Cuyahoga Falls zoning official held an April get-together in his ward in hopes of assembling a group of volunteers to address a variety of community issues. A flier distributed to residents billed the event as “informative yet fun,” and said door prizes would include “spa treatments, dinners, pepper spray and outdoor flowers.” Nothing says “fun” and “informative” like pepper spray, eh?
?SYBIL AWARD: One local resident was seen driving around with two seemingly contradictory bumper stickers on the rear of the car. The first was a longtime favorite and the epitome of civility: the word “coexist” spelled out using symbols from different religions. The other bumper sticker read: “[Bleep] you. I’m from Akron.”
?MOTHER OF THE YEAR: A 40-year-old Akron woman was arrested after interfering with the arrest of her 19-year-old son, who was charged with robbing a man at a bus stop. As the son was being loaded into a cruiser, she started screaming at police and yelled to her offspring, “Don’t you talk to the [expletive] cops!” As a reader noted, “It’s heartwarming to see mom and son spending family time together.”
?JOHN CENA AWARD: Apparently hoping to set up a pay-per-view rematch, and perhaps land a contract for toy action figures, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Councilman Russel Neal Jr. decided to settle a dispute the old-fashioned way: by shoving each other around. Nice.
?RELIGIOUS TRASH-TALK TROPHY: Times have changed, and clearly Faith Lutheran Church in Fairlawn has changed with them. Big sign in front of the church in February: “Lent is coming. Get your ash in church.”
?LAST LAUGH AWARD: A couple of days after the Browns traded Trent Richardson for a first-round draft choice, ESPN analyst Mike Ditka said the trade “validates the stupidity of the Browns’ front office.” Hey, Mike — who looks stupid now?
?DUMBEST MOVE BY SOMEONE CONNECTED TO THE SUMMIT COUNTY ELECTIONS BOARD: Stiff competition in this category, as usual, but the clear winner is Andrew Wright, who handled campaign finance reports. He thought it would be a marvelous idea to use a county computer to post an anonymous comment on Ohio.com saying he hoped a local judge and prosecutor would be the next victims of an accused killer. Goodbye, $50,000-a-year job.
?EXPLORER OF THE YEAR AWARD: In April, a police sting in Cuyahoga Falls nailed five underage kids who bought liquor at convenience stores. One of the kids, 17, turned out to be a member of the Cuyahoga Falls Police Explorers program. He had flashed his cadet badge when the store clerk asked for identification.
?WORST NEW NAME: Summit County Children Services launched a program to assist families fighting substance abuse. They called it — take a breath — “the Summit County Collaborative on Trauma, Alcohol & Other Drug & Resiliency-Building Services for Children & Families.” Although Children Services refers to it merely as STARS, the real acronym is, of course, SCCTAODRBSCF. Now look, people: A name is not a mission statement. A name is just a name. A little restraint, if you please.
?TALL TALK AWARD: A few days after Turkish rogues hacked into Akron’s income-tax database — compromising critical information on 30,000 residents — my favorite newspaper reported that Mayor Don Plusquellic “has threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Turkey.” Akron immediately recalled its ambassador and organized an international blockade.
?READER OF THE YEAR: When the Turkish hacking story broke and taxpayers were in a frenzy, the city added extra workers to answer the phones on its 311 information line. A woman called our city hall reporter and asked, “How do I reach 311?”
?BEST COLUMNIST: Modesty forbids.
Messages for Bobby can be left at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. He would like to express his eternal gratitude to colleagues and friends who contributed Bobby nominations during the year: Kathy Antoniotti, Rick Armon, Mary Beth Breckenridge, Rich Desrosiers, Ed Meyer, Charlene Nevada, George Richard, Stephanie Warsmith and Matt Damon.