And the Winner Is Hands-Down

Loose Leaves, 1st run Tuesday 25 January 2000 in The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas

By Ben S. Pollock

Copyright 2000 Donrey Media Group

Welcome to the Ben’s Academy of Pooh-bah Arts and Sciences Awards Show. Coming to you live from the old Royal typewriter in beautiful downstairs Burbank, we present the Best of the Morning.

Here’s your host, Pooh-bah Ben.

Hello, everyone.

This is not the Golden Globe Awards. As you know, the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys have rigorous standards: Their members vote to select nominees and then winners, subject to audit. That still doesn’t mean their standards are our standards.

Golden Globes come from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. How American are the Foreign Press standards?

The Pooh-bah Best of the Morning Awards have one judge, me, which makes them unambiguously subjective. Isn’t that better?

There are only a few reasons any of these shows are watched.

First, beautiful women in slinky gowns (applause). Second, the off-hand remarks comprise some of the best humor on TV (laughter).

Lastly, there is the horse-race aspect: We do want to know whether the music we enjoyed on the stereo won and whether the movies that we remembered days after we saw them won (cheers).

Once we acknowledge that the purpose of the awards is to persuade us to buy tickets, rent videos and purchase albums, then we can just sit back and watch the parade of sequels, I mean, sequins.

The only award contest that measures quality accurately is a presidential election (guffaws).

So now, on with the show.

Our first award in the Pooh-bah Best of the Morning contest is for best garbage bag. Our nominees include the Zippy bag, the house-brand liner from the neighborhood supermarket and the magenta, city-of-Fayetteville, 30-gallon bag, which was introduced just before deadline.

And the winner is — the Fayetteville trash sack!

“I want to thank the Member of the Academy, and I want to thank the mayor and City Council, because my implementation was an administrative decision that they had little to do with. To bring this up short, the Department of Water, Sanitation, Recycling, Storm Runoff and Potability has my undying gratitude.

“Don’t bring up the music yet. I’m not deflated yet. I cannot leave the stage without thanking the Pollock household for putting sharp objects in the recycling box, not in me, so I don’t rip before my time.”

Get that bag off the curb; it’s an eyesore! Now then. The nominees for best writing implement are pencil, fountain pen, smudgy disposable ball pen and computer.

And the winner is — the pencil!

“I don’t know why the Member of the Academy picked me. Everything in my field is a winner. To me, they all get high marks — well, maybe not the computer, hah-hah. The press is going to say this is like the best-supporting actor prize, going to the has-been at death’s door, but let me assure everyone that I have never felt sharper. Thanks, everyone.”

The nominees for best toilet article are toothbrush, safety razor and cup. And the winner is — the razor!

“What a surprise. First I have to thank the cartridges the Face bought. Each lasts 2 1/2 weeks, and that was before the Face started his goatee and mustache, where I now shave only half the skin that I used to.

“I too want to thank the Fayetteville water works. I agree with the magenta city garbage bag. Without the high pressure of the water works, not to mention the hot water provided by the Sears tank in the closet next to beautiful downstairs Burbank, the Face’s whiskers never would be completely rinsed from between my twin blades.

“Whew, am I strapped for time! But, if lather and nubbins were not rinsed off, I wouldn’t be standing here. One thing you can say about me, however, is that I am not dull.”

But that speech sure was. That was the expected wry quip from the quick-thinking host.

The nominations for best part of the day are breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime and nap time.

And the best part of the day is — breakfast, a team award!

“Corn flakes here. I just want to thank the skim milk. Without milk, I’m cardboard. With milk, I turn to mush.”

“Hi, I’m a tea bag. I’d like to thank the technicians at Industrial Light and Magic for digitizing the flow-through concept.”

Sorry, the rest of you can give your thanks in the press room.

The last category is most interesting reading for the most important time of the day. The nominees are the local newspapers and the corn flakes box.

And the winner is — corn flakes! This is Corn Flakes’ second win tonight and third for his career. The corn stalks on which he was grown had won best of show at the Iowa State Fair.

“I want to thank Farmer Jones, the folks at Battle Creek, Michigan, my Teamsters driver and the supermarket where I didn’t sit on the shelf too long at all. You know, an overnight success sometimes takes weeks!

There goes the music. You’ve been a lovely audience. Well, that’s our show. Now, it’s time for a nap.

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