August 23, 2012When I'm jamming with McCartney, don't bug me!
– E Street Band lead guitarist Stevie Van Zandt
Well, it's time for the second and final installment of this year's Yostie Awards, and I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath so let's get right to them …
The Bizarro Sister-City Yostie Television Award. For a few weeks earlier this year, after a dispute between Time Warner Cablevision and WXII, my Time Warner NBC affiliate was coming from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, wherever the heck that is. The programming was pretty much the same as WXII's for the most part – except that each night the local 6 o'clock news was all about Pennsylvania, instead of about here, and, also, all the commercial breaks on the channel were from Pennsylvania as well.
Which was fine except that I would catch myself watching a commercial, and then I would say to myself: "Wow, that cheeseburger on television really looks good – where can I get one?"
And then, at the end of the commercial, the location of the place would come up on screen and I'd realize that I would have to drive eight hours to get that cheeseburger if I wanted it.
Stupidest Criminals. Four druggies in Rowan County.
Kids, don't do drugs, OK? Drugs are bad. Drugs make you stupid. These four Rowan County geniuses were arrested around 4 a.m. recently after they made a string of phone calls to a number that they thought was the number of a drug dealer who had just shorted them on a drug deal.
Except they were calling the wrong number – one that happened to be the cell phone number of a deputy with the Rowan County Sheriff's Department.
The callers complained to the deputy about not getting enough drugs for their money in their previous buy, so the sympathetic officer said he would be glad to meet with them to discuss the matter.
Only, since he was a sheriff's deputy and not a drug dealer, instead of giving them more drugs, he arrested them and put them in jail.
So, kids, let that be a lesson to you: If you are going to do drugs despite my advice to the contrary, at least make sure you write your dealer's number down very carefully, and dial it carefully as well.
Other Dumbest Criminal Yostie Award. Michael Fuller, a 53-year-old Lexington man, was arrested in December for trying to pass off a counterfeit $1 million bill at a Lexington Wal-Mart.
Fuller attempted to buy a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and various other items with the large bill.
What was it that tipped off the sharp Wal-Mart cashier who caught the ruse? The cashier knew the $1 million bill was counterfeit because the largest US bills now in circulation are $100 bills. Also, presumably of help, was the fact that the US has never made a $1 million bill – not to mention the fact that no one who could afford to be walking around with a real $1 million bill would be caught dead in a Wal-Mart.
The Most Vacuous Sanctions Handed out by the NCAA this Year. Winner: The penalties for the academically impressive but athletically challenged California Institute of Technology. The NCAA famously came down like a sledgehammer on Penn State this year after the Jerry Sandusky trial, but it did less damage when it went after the Cal Tech Beavers, which had 30 ineligible athletes, including some players on the baseball and water polo teams. As part of their penalty, Cal Tech was placed on three-years' athletic probation and the school was stripped of its past wins in baseball and water polo.
As Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times pointed out, that meant the baseball team had to vacate all of its wins during a period in which it went 0-112.
And the Cal Tech Beavers' water polo team had to give up all the victories that team piled up while going 0-66.
The three-year probation also isn't expected to cause much pain for Cal Tech.
"Probation from what, exactly, we're not entirely sure," Plaschke wrote. "The Beavers aren't on TV, they don't give scholarships, they rarely qualify for postseason tournaments."
The "Thank You May I Have Another" Yostie Award. This year the award goes to Rockingham County's Rodney Dwayne Valentine. In March, Valentine, 37, was arrested for property damage. Four months later, in July, he was released from jail.
Upon his release, he asked jail staff to drive him to a local motel. The officers refused – no doubt saying they were law enforcement officials not taxi drivers. Valentine insisted, and, when the officers said no again, Valentine refused to leave – at which point he was arrested for trespassing and thrown right back into the slammer.
The Yostie for "Wait, Wait, It Will Happen Any Day Now." The new giant Guilford County jail in downtown Greensboro with no parking was going to open in December, then in March, then in May, and then in July for sure. Sheriff BJ Barnes says it will be any day now.
Runner Up. The Natural Science Center. Where in the world is the much-ballyhooed Greensboro penguin colony? Why is it taking so long to get penguins here? What kind of heartless, callous people announce that a penguin colony is on the way and then make you wait three years after the announcement?
Speaking of penguins, here's the Yostie for the Penguin-related Story of the Year. There's no question about this year's winner. Without a doubt, it involves the three men in Australia – ages 18, 20 and 21 – who, in the words of ABC news, "woke up to a displaced penguin, a bad hangover and serious legal troubles."
"The three drunk friends allegedly made a Queensland, Australia SeaWorld their personal playground, swimming with the dolphins, capturing their adventure on cell phone video and bragging about their exploits on Facebook."
Apparently, the police down under don't take lightly to penguin theft, Matey.
Yostie for the Very Best Party Decorations in the Last Year. The beautiful Jennifer Ferrell for her extraordinary decorations at Rocky Scarfone's "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party." There were life-sized polar bears and giant candy canes along with an amazingly elaborate Christmas tree and too much other cool stuff to name here.
Most Disturbing New Trend. Three-way tie. In the medical "profession," the winner is surgery-room texting by doctors and nurses. I'm not making that up. Google it if you don't believe me.
Amish beard-cutting attacks. Last year, the Amish community was terrorized by a wave of beard-cutting attacks in which nocturnal ne'er do wells cut Amish men's beards while they slept.
The Zombie Apocalypse. Ordinary bath salts that might be found in any Bath & Body Works store caused a Florida man to eat the face off of another man.
Sexiest Name of a Reporter Who Frequented and Occupied The Rhinoceros Times offices during the John Edwards Trial. Daily Beast writer Diane Dimond. We were honored to have the delightful Diane Dimond with us for the length of the trial, and that's an awful sexy name, one that could be straight out of a James Bond script.
Greensboro and Guilford County Road-Kill Award. The shoot first and ask questions later policy that's apparently in effect by the city and the county when it comes to animals that get in our way in the slightest.
The late innocent Airport Bear and the harmless I-40 Cow were simply two loveable animals whose only mistake in life was inadvertently impeding our air transportation or holding up our highway traffic.
May they rest in peace.
The Lucky to Make It Out of Town Alive Yostie Award. The Greensboro Bear. Unlike the Airport Bear, which showed its face and was gunned downed in cold blood that same morning, the Greensboro Bear came to town, put on a show for several weeks, including a cameo appearance in my editor's yard, and somehow managed to quietly get out of town alive before trigger-happy local authorities could fill it full of lead.
The "You've Pretty Much Seen the Last of Me" Fashion Statement Award. Olive jumpsuits. Olive jumpsuits lost their most ardent and prominent supporter last year when fashion-plate Korean leader Kim Jong-il died in December.
Sexiest Siri Response Yostie Award.
Question: "What are you wearing?"
Siri: "Aluminosilicate glass and stainless steel – nice, huh?"
Least Helpful Siri Response.
User: "Call me an Ambulance."
Siri: "From now on, I'll call you 'An Ambulance.' OK?"
The "I Thought They Stopped Making Those in 2007" Award. The final Zune rolled off the presses in 2011. Rest in peace, lame iPod knockoff.
Most Unsatisfying Court Victory. Samsung's win in court against Apple earlier this year. The lawsuit was over intellectual property and design – and the question was whether or not Samsung illegally copied Apple's iPad. Apple was suing to stop the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10, saying Samsung's pad was too similar to the iPad.
The judge ruled for Samsung, saying the Samsung tablets weren't like the iPad because, "They are not as cool."
Samsung was no doubt glad to get the legal victory but the ruling also had to hurt their feelings a little.
Best Still Alive Even Though I Thought He Would be Dead by Now for Sure Yostie. Charlie Sheen. I thought for certain he would be dead by now but he's back on a new sitcom as well as, duh, winning. I don't know how he made it this far – he must have tiger blood in his veins or something.
Most Surprising New Thing to Fear in Greensboro. Earthquakes. On Tuesday afternoon, August 23 of last year, an earthquake centered in Mineral, Virginia, shook everything, including people's nerves, in our beloved Greensboro. It was the largest earthquake in the area in over a century, and now we all have a big new thing to fear.
The "Hey You Kids, Get out of My Yard" Crabby Old Man Yostie Award. The winner of this award is to the person who made the noise complaint about the concert in London's Hyde Park when Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen were jamming together after McCartney made a surprise appearance at the show. The complaint got the concert shut down mid-song at 10:40 p.m. because the former Beatle and the current Boss were performing a few minutes past the park's 10:15 noise curfew. Before starting to jam with McCartney on stage, an excited Springsteen said, "I've gotta tell you, I've been trying to do this for 50 years."
The Terrorists Have Already Won Award. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Lenore Zimmerman incident. The TSA strip-searched the granny in a walker from Long Beach, New York, as she tried to board a plane. The frail, 85-year-old woman was yanked out of line by TSA officials and taken to a private screening area and ordered to remove her clothes.
"I walk with a walker — I really look like a terrorist," Zimmerman told The New York Daily News. "I'm tiny. I weigh 110 pounds, 107 without clothes, and I was strip-searched."
A TSA spokesperson said, "Proper procedures were followed."
Scariest Scientists Not Counting the Hadron Collider Scientists. The team of virologists headed up by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. This group intentionally developed a super virus that could kill half the people on the planet if it gets out. And then they tried to publish a scientific paper on exactly how they did it so that the terrorists would have a blueprint to make a super virus of their own.
Least Surprising Story of the Last 12 Months Other than the Anderson Cooper is Gay Story. Rapper Snoop Dogg was arrested in Texas for possession of marijuana after a drug-sniffing dog uncovered marijuana on his tour bus. Weed on Snoop Dogg's bus? What's this world coming to?
Best-run Greensboro Tournament. Wyndham Championship. Here's one example of how well run it is these days: It took me all of 15 seconds to get my press pass and paperwork this year. They had saved my picture from last year; they pulled it up right away and, in seconds, I was off to enjoy the excellent tournament. Also, the redone press headquarters, the new grass and everything else looks great.
Area Event that Most Needs a New Name. The Polar Plunge. Now, with global warming, it's about 80 degrees each year when people take the "Polar Plunge" for charity. The way it is these days, those people are just basically swimming for money.
Yostie for the Least Harmonic Convergence of the Year. Of course, it has to be Miami Beach Senior High School and the porn convention. The prom was held at the same place – the Miami Beach Convention Center – that there was a porn convention going on. Boom-chicka-boom-chicka. "Is that a bottle of vodka in your pants to spike the punch with or are you just ready for the next scene?"
And, to end on a positive note … The Thank Goodness the Wait is Finally Over Yostie Award and the Most Exciting Announcement of the Year.
The New York International Auto Show late last year, Terrafugia Inc. of Woburn, Massachusetts, unveiled the "Transition," which is … ta da … the world's first flying car.
It's described as "a two-seat aircraft with foldable wings." And, pending regulatory approvals, the company plans to sell the flying car anytime now at a price of $279,000 each.
So, finally, a flying car is just around the corner. Thank goodness; for a while there I thought the flying car people were just simply making promises they couldn't deliver on, but it turns out the flying car is finally almost here.