Happy 2010, d'Ears. Time to say a final adieu to 2009, a year best forgotten as quickly as possible as far as Ear is concerned. Time to send some of our special favorites into the black hole of history-no-one-cares-about with a Soapy Smith Award -- a citation for dubious achievement, named in honor of Skagway's Gold Rush con man and all-around scoundrel.
BAIT AND SWITCH AWARD . . . To Levi Johnston, who promised to pose naked for Playgirl magazine, then backed out at the last minute, opting for fig leaves -- well, hockey gloves, to be precise. Levi worried no doubt about the Palins posting giant color reproductions in the courtroom during the custody hearing.
WHOA DUDE AWARD . . . Or is it gee, dude? To the Iditarod race committee for announcing it will drug test mushers after three-time champ Lance Mackey said he used legal, medically approved marijuana while racing. (He's a cancer survivor.) So, pot helps dogs run faster how? Or are they worried about unseemly trail fights over the Nutter Butters and Skittles?
I'M THE DECIDER AWARD . . . To Assembly chair Debbie Ossiander, who was shocked, just shocked, when a majority of the body she allegedly headed voted her out. Let's see -- when you're the head of a political group and don't know most of them want you gone, are you really the head of the group?
PULL THE OTHER ONE AWARD . . . To She Who Was Governor, for her explanation about wearing an old campaign visor with John McCain's name blacked out. Ear still isn't exactly sure what she said. Something about it being the only hat available (in Hawaii?) and a black felt-tip marker being easier than going bare-headed?
DEFICIT? WHAT DEFICIT? AWARD . . . To Sen. Mark Begich, for neglecting to mention the huge budget hole facing the city when he left for Washington. Sen. Lisa Murkowski gets an honorable mention for twice putting out bragging press releases about money coming to Alaska from legislation she voted against.
PRODIGAL SON AWARD . . . To Scott Janke, former city manager in Seward and Cordova, for marrying a porn star, which led to him getting fired by his late employer, the Fort Myers, Fla., city council. That was in July. In November, the Sun Sentinel Web site reported Janke, 55, was a finalist for a "government" job in Petersburg, "a small southeast Alaska town."
LOOSE CHANGE AWARD . . . To Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, for buying 5,000 shares of TransCanada stock in response to complaints that owning 5,000 shares of BP stock influenced his opinion against AGIA.
LEMON TO LEMONADE AWARD . . . To Rep. Al Kookesh, D-Angoon, for turning a July charge of illegal fishing into a civil rights protest after the fact. It's subsistence, not fishing over the limit, he explained. Right.
AND . . . A tie for the top award this year: To Sarah, and the captain of the tanker-safety tugboat Pathfinder. She for the big lie about death panels being part of the proposed health insurance reform legislation. (She gets extra credit for how effective the lie was.) And he for managing to run aground in good weather on clearly marked Bligh Reef, the most famous marine hazard in North America.
A runner-up nod goes to Joshua Wade for secretly marrying a prosecution witness to keep her from testifying against him at his upcoming murder trial. He did it while in jail, over the phone, using proxies. A judge later declared it illegal, but we'll see.
So good riddance to 2009, darlings; 2010 -- we're going to call it twenty-ten -- has to be better. It does, doesn't it?