Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"Inside" Columbia's "Best" of Poll

After a day on the road, I sat down to catch up on my social networking. I found a message from Sparky's (COMO's finest ice cream joint) encouraging fans to vote on Inside Columbia's Best of 2009 poll. So, in order to show my support, I looked up IC's website.

To my horror, I found what has to be the most out-of-touch survey in the history of city-best-of history. Not only did they not provide the best choices in several categories, but the folks at "Inside" Columbia often included non-local choices or those most fancied by frat boys.

Let me share some of the highlights...

Columbia's best band category may have been the most egregious offense. Among the choices was a metal band, a funk band, a band called "The Bubbas", a wedding band (who also happens to be the defending-champ), and a hippie jam band. Never mind that local bands like The Foundry Field Recordings and Bald Eagle have both received national recognition or that a band like Jerusalem and the Starbaskets is incredibly more compelling than any band on IC's list. Apparently, the folks at Inside Columbia hate music.

Another category close to my heart, best blogger, was weak as well. David Kurtz runs the rather accomplished Talking Points Memo, but he's more of an editor than he is an actual blogger. Two of the "bloggers" (Jason Rosenbaum and Pete Bland) are actually professional journalists, not citizen journalists. Sure, Rosenbaum and Bland write good columns, but bloggers they are not. Then there's Mike Martin, maybe the only true blogger of the bunch. Of course, his blog, The Columbia Heartbeat, is really just a glorified newsletter published on Blogger. I don't think my blog is the best in town, but the best can't possibly be in this group.

Five categories are dedicated to local TV personalities. Really.

The restaurant categories are wrought with problems. The favorite restaurant category was larger than most but was absent the best restaurant: Wine and Cheese Bistro. The best chocolate treat category failed to mention the best chocolate here or anywhere comes from the folks at Patric. While national chains are all over the lists, no other choice is as obscene as Olive Garden for best Italian. Speaking of "ethnic foods", IC somehow rounded up six choices for best Chinese food. (If you've ever been to COMO, you understand why that's ridiculous.) I have indigestion just thinking about some of the choices.

Of course, the worst list of choices for me was the one for best beer selection. Flat Branch Brewery makes sense. If the Blue Fugue didn't turn a blind eye to all the smoking, they would be legitimate as well. The other choices are crummy sports or undergrad bars. The two best beer selections in town didn't even make the list: The Ragtag and Sycamore.

The choices don't get much better after that. There are loads of corporate chains mixed in with both good and lame local joints. Maybe my biggest problem with the survey is that it's so long - 122 items long. You can vote for everything from best plumber to best teacher to best boss. Narrowing the best of COMO list to a manageable twenty would have been preferable, but whatever.

I actually did not cast my votes. I maybe voted for 10% of the items until I finally ran out of gas. Eventually, I'll post my own list, possibly without Survey Monkey's help.

BTW-I would have voted for Joel Sager (artist), Craig Cyr (chef), Booche's (bang for the buck, best burger, best bar food), Sparky's (frozen treat, ice cream), Flat Branch (outdoor dining), and True/False Film Festival (local festival).


scotty said...

You do know you can ignore 117 categories and just vote in the 5 you care about, right?

...I just don't think you'll want to miss that chance to support Big O Tires.

comoprozac said...

That's a good point. I just got tired of searching through the ridiculous number of choices. I'll be sure to go back and cast a vote or five.

Anonymous said...

Wal*Mart for best locally owned business!!! Woo hoo!

I guess the Trat is still a victim of angry drug vengance. There were rumors it would reopen.

comoprozac said...

Don't even get me started on Wal Mart.

Yes, Trat fell to the trap of wild after hours parties. Apparently the rumors of their comeback were greatly exagerated.

Anonymous said...

I could have also sworn that Suttons Bar-B-Que was out of business within a few months back in '06. I might be thinking of another joint.

Unless there has been a change, I thought Diner was only latenight early morning, not 24 hours? Did it change? And kids? They didn't even like the adult customers they had, how could they take some snot-nosed squalling pre-schooler?

I could go on and on about this list... they could only find 3 healthy food places?

Isn't a magazine like Inside Columbia just shooting itself in the foot by allowing national food chains to represent the "best of?" They found enough about CoMO to start a goddamned magazine, can't they find it again to make a best of list?

I'm excited about this Patric Chocolate place, when I'm blasting through the midwest on Santa's Sleigh I'll try to pick some up. I'm really starting to love the "Craft Chocolate" movement.

Stevi said...

Just FYI, Inside Columbia didn't pick the nominees, according to the website "The nominees on this final ballot received the most nominations during a month-long, open nomination process in November 2008." So you have your fellow citizens to blame for the crappy choices (which I agree are pathetic in most categories), not the magazine. Just proves my theory that most people in Como have no taste.

comoprozac said...

Stevi, I think what it really says is that the readers of Inside Columbia have bad taste.