2004 Public Eye Editor's Picks

September 22, 2004

BEST IDOL OVERKILL

The Church of Damon

Since we have trouble considering Troy from The Apprentice as an actual idol, the easy answer is "Any time Bruce Willis or Val Kilmer has coffee or works out downtown." John Kerry hurtling down Baldy on a snowboard in the New York Times is another, even though we're still pretty amused by that one. Top of this year's heap, though, must be the fateful July night when 5-foot, 10-inch pocket-sized Matt Damon walked tall at an Egyptian movie premiere. You'd think Jebus himself had been born again to look at the lines; turns out it was just Bourne again.

BEST PLACE THAT NEVER WAS

Harris Ranch

Somewhere east of never-never land, just west of Valhalla sits a burg in a little river valley that promised old-fashioned living without the complications of un-like-minded common folk. People from all walks of a particularly mobile tax bracket bought remarkably similar starter castles, dramatically close to one another. Surely, this was living! But wait, just outside the walls of this fairy tale fiefdom loomed a slew of government bureaucracies hell bent on keeping these nouveau lords from living leisurely. Asphalt would not be poured, bridges would not be opened, and the fine people who'd up and moved into their overly trendy gingerbread houses knew they'd been cursed.

BEST EFFORT BY A CRUSADING STATE LEGISLATOR TO FURTHER BORE FOURTH-GRADERS TO TEARS WHEN THEY GO ON FIELD TRIPS TO THE CAPITOL BUILDING

Rep. Gerry Sweet's Sisyphean attempt to roll a 10-C monument up the State House steps into the rotunda before a court decision makes it roll back down.

BEST REASON TO NOT PUT A TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT BACK IN JULIA DAVIS PARK

The U.S. Constitution

BEST REASON TO PUT A TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT BACK IN JULIA DAVIS PARK

To once and for all get Brandi Swindell's sanctimonious mug the hell off the local news.

BEST ECO-SYSTEM DENIAL

The City of Trees

Guess what? Boise may be the city of trees, but move a quarter mile away from the river and you'll find that we live in a desert. Maples and Birches give way to Sagebrush and lava rock. You may not want to hear this (or maybe you can't hear it over the cht-cht-cht of your backyard sprinkler), but all the greenery in Boise is about as native as a Meridian homeowner.

bEST INCENTIVE TO HOOK CERTAIN FRIENDS OF THE GOVERNOR, STARTING WITH PHIL REBERGER AND ROY EIGUREN, UP WITH 24-HOUR-A-DAY WEBCAMS SO'S WE CAN CONSTANTLY CHECK IN ON WHAT THEY'RE UP TO

The University Place fiasco

BEST NEW REASON TO SPEND A PLEASANT LATE JUNE WEEKEND ENJOYING DOWNTOWN BOISE

Because the River Festival went tits up

BEST INDICATION THE HONEYMOON IS DEFINITELY OVER FOR MAYOR BIETER

That in response to everything he does, says or thinks, there is at least a dozen Demo-phobes out in Meridian or Kuna who are willing and eager to kick off a recall drive. Believe me, the 2007 campaign against Davey began that November night in 2003 when he took the Wind out of Chuck ****er.

BEST SHOW OF GUTS BY A MUNICIPAL LEADER IN THE FACE OF RAMPANT RELIGIOUS POSTURING

Councilman Alan Shealy, one of those rarest of breeds-a thoughtful Republican-who initiated the process that eventually put the contentious 10-C slab on church grounds where it belonged all along.

BEST PEDESTRIAN EXTREME SPORT

Crossing Front and Myrtle streets

It's an urban jungle out there. Hungry SUVs with chest-high grills cruise the pathways, lurk along side streets, waiting to pounce on unwary walkers. With few crosswalks and five lanes of traffic, these rapid asphalt rivers can challenge even the most quick and nimble biped. Hunkered together like prey, the most ambitious travel en masse for safety's sake. But it only takes one lagger, one risky jaywalker, to turn these streets into a life-and-death sized version of Frogger.

BEST SHOW OF STEADY NERVES BY BOISE MUNICIPAL WORKERS

The work crew who loaded up the 10-C monument in J.D. Park and moved it to St. Michael's, despite threats that they would be swarmed by noisy, attention-grabbing, self-righteous naggites should they do so.

BEST OUTCOME FOR ANY ADA COUNTY ELECTION HELD SO FAR IN 2004

The May primary defeat of Eagle representative Henry Kulczyk, who as you may remember, pissed away the 2004 legislative session trying to get an anti-gay marriage amendment into the state constitution, then further enhanced his credentials as a pious pest by participating in a theatrical arrest at the Julia Davis 10-C site. Oh, Henry ... I have an idea: maybe you can get a job running donuts to Dennis Mansfield.

BEST SNEAKY POLITICAL GAMBIT USED TO PROMOTE GOODWILL AND DECENCY

Retiring state Senator Sheila Sorenson's refusal to let Kulczyk's gay-hating proposal go beyond the committee she chaired, calling it divisive and unnecessary, thereby killing the bill ... at least until the next pandering worm crawls out of a sump somewhere to try it again.

BEST SNEAKY POLITICAL GAMBIT USED TO PROMOTE BAD WILL AND INDECENCY

The Republican lawmakers' steadfast refusal to open the doors on their party caucus cloisters when the legislature is in session and let the people know what they're up to. Hopefully, the Idaho Press Club's pending lawsuit will shed some much-needed sunlight on that rat's nest.

BEST CARROT ON A STICK

BoDo née 8th Street Marketplace

For well over a decade they have been telling us they will build it so we can come First S-16 (as in Simplot's 16 grandchildren-how witty is that?) lured us with words like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble ... but the historic area disintegrated into a ghost town. Then BoDo (short for Boise Downtown-how witty is that?) rode into town proclaiming upscale chain stores and movie theaters aplenty. We are still waiting, with wary anticipation to see if BoDo can accomplish what S-16 could not.

BEST INDICATION THE LOCAL POLITICAL MONOPOLY IS CRUMBLING UNDER ITS OWN DUMB WEIGHT

Democrats should be pleased over how the rightest-wingers on the Idaho Republican bird are trying to purge those members of their own party who don't subscribe to the entire theocratic totalitarianism thing. Today, it's calling people like ex-Guv Batt and Councilman Alan Shealy "RINOs," (for "Republicans In Name Only"). Tomorrow? ... it could well be weighting down poor Phil with stones and throwing him into ParkCenter pond to test his affiliations with God.

BEST JOB OF BEING HARDLY EVER SEEN OR HEARD FROM, EVEN THOUGH HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE SUCH A BIG, IMPORTANT HOT SHOT IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

Senator Larry Craig

BEST SIGNS THAT IDAHO MAY BE CAUTIOUSLY ENTERING THE 21ST CENTURY

There is a healthy population of Canis lupus back in our wilds, Boise burg employees are seriously considering unionizing themselves and our first openly gay political candidate (Nicole LeFavour) is running for the Legislature. Hey, Modern World, here we come!!!

BEST SIGNS THAT IDAHO IS CLINGING ONTO THE 19TH CENTURY LIKE A BLOATED TICK

There is zero population of Ursa horribilis in our wilds, Wal-Mart still practices their peon-producing employment practices and if it were up to knuckleheads like Gerry Sweet and Henry Kulczyk, Nicole LeFavour would be home baking gingersnaps to raise money for her kid's home-schooling club. Hey, Modern World, give us a few more decades.

BEST JOB OF GETTING OUT OF PRISON WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A FRIENDLY "HOW YA' DOIN'?" TO KBCI REPORTERS

Ex-Coles chief-of-staff and all-around bad boy, Gary Lyman, upon finishing his stint in the Big House and heading off Utah way.

BEST CORPORATE SELLOUT

Taco Bell Arena

Money aside, what has been gained by either party through this ridiculous maneuver is beyond us. Just don't be surprised when Boise State adds the following changes: Art is renamed "The Aesthetics of Condiment Arrangement," Philosophy is dubbed "Taco Bell Employee Training" and the Freshman 15 swells to "The Taco Bell Freshman 35." And have you ever smelt a Bronco after a few deep-fried chalupas? Here's a tip: don't.

BEST USE OF A LEGAL LOOPHOLE TO COLLECT SOME 50 G'S IN CAMPAIGN CASH BEFORE HE WAS DISCOVERED AND HAD TO CLOSE THE LOOPHOLE

Dirk "The Accountability Shirk" Kempthorne

BEST CAUSE OF NICOTINE WITHDRAWAL

Smoking Ban

July 1 is a day that will live in infamy for approximately 20.5 percent of Boiseans. It was the day they could see their food at the Stagecoach Inn for the very first time. It was the day that Big Government smacked the butts from their collective mouth like an enraged parent catching little Jimmy puffing behind the church. Sure, our city's collective complexion will clear up by several degrees as a result, but a rift has been jammed into Ada County culture from which it won't soon recover. Second-hand smoke be damned-we're just afraid that smokers won't brake for us anymore.

BEST SOLUTION TO SMOKING BAN

Private Smoking Clubs

No, Virginia, the Sav-On Café isn't on fire. On the contrary, the smoke billowing out of its door signifies that the owners are utilizing an idea perfected long ago by the many Utahans cursed by 3.8 beer. Namely, one can get around most of the whimsical moral impositions of state government simply by charging a buck at the door and calling one's dive a "private club." As once-smoldering morning hangouts begin to feel the butt-pinch, expect plenty more to follow suit.

BEST BOBBLE-HEAD DOLL WE'D LIKE TO SEE

Governor Dirk Kempthorne

We say preserve the real-life bobble-head that is Dirk Kempthorne for generations to come by immortalizing him as one of those classy bobble-head dolls, accompanied by Spuddy Buddy of course.

BEST TIRADE AGAINST A MOVIE BY PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE THE INTELLECTUAL GUTS TO GO SEE THE MOVIE BEFORE THEY OPEN THEIR BIG MOUTHS ABOUT IT

All those big mouths who adamantly refuse to see Fahrenheit 9/11, but have an opinion on it, anyway.

BEST NEWS FROM NORTHERN IDAHO SINCE THE ARYAN NATIONs COMPOUND IN HAYDEN LAKE WAS LOST IN A LAWSUIT

Richard Butler's latest change of address

BEST IDAHO TRIVIA QUESTION TO STUMP YOUR FRIENDS

"Name the two greatest baseball players born and raised in Idaho."

We're assuming a sporting element amongst your associates for this one, or at least a familiarity with Arthur Hart's excellent diamond-history book Boise Baseball: The First 125 Years. Baseball has been the Treasure Valley's pastime much longer than it has been associated with the Hawks, and many greats have passed through and moved on like so many post-game hangovers. But the only two homeboys in the Hall of Fame: Weiser wonder Walter "Big Train" Johnson and Magic Valley madman Harmon "Please Harmon, don't harm 'em" Killebrew.

BEST EXPLOITATION OF DESPERATELY POOR, HARDWORKING, UNDERPAID, ILLEGAL MENIAL LABORERS AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR THE PURPOSE OF LAUNCHING ONE'S SELF ONTO THE POLITICAL MAIN STAGE

Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez.

BEST FUNERAL FOR AN EX-REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR FROM THE DAYS BEFORE RIGHT-WING CANNIBALS TURNED ON GOOD, DECENT MEN LIKE GOVERNOR ROBERT SMYLIE WHO EVEN DEMOCRATS COULD RESPECT AND ADMIRE

Governor Robert Smylie's

BEST IDEA FOR THE BOISE TOWER PIT

World's largest fondue pot

Let's face it: while fondue-fever may have ravaged the few available downtown storefronts, the goo is mainly a rich man's game. Perhaps the time has come for Boise to show its progressiveness by converting our city's most prominent pockmark into a Turkish-style bath where Atkins devotees of all backgrounds can indulge their melted fantasies side by sticky side. Lord knows after a hard-fought deadline there's nothing the BW editorial staff would like better than to slip into a steaming tub of Gruyere. Mmm ... melty.

BEST EXAMPLE OF NARCISSISM ON WHEELS

Vanity Plates

WEH8U

BEST REASON ALL CCDC BOARD MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES SHOULD TAKE A REAL ESTATE 101 CLASS

Boise Tower Project

BEST CARNAGE THAT NEVER HAPPENED

Wolves devouring humans

We thought for sure by now the death toll would be staggering-children dragged from bus stops, hikers disemboweled on the trail, hunters' heads ripped off. What happened doomsayers and misinformed miscreants? Where are the killing fields you predicted? Wolves were reintroduced into Idaho's wildlands a decade ago and nary one helpless biped has turned up dead.

BEST WAY TO BYPASS THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS

Closed-door legislative sessions

Leave it to those wily varmints-our state legislators-to figure out a way to shut Idahoans out of the democratic process. They thumb their noses at laws we the people created, gather in incestuous huddles and plot and connive against the very people who elected them. But listen to those varmints keen and wail when someone threatens to impinge their rights.

BEST LOCAL CONSPIRACY THEORY

The Prefab Revolutionaries

"Boise State to rename Pavilion 'Taco Bell Arena'" would have won hands down, if only it weren't so disturbingly true. Instead, BW's ear to the ground has detected some strange reports from the far side of Ada about a bond forming between the once harmless but now flourishing suburbs of Meridian, Eagle and Nampa. The three fastest-growing communities in the state are said to be on the verge of uniting into a prefab utopian megalopolis of Brave New World proportions. The community, to be named Shady Open-Meadow Acres (SOMA), already has plans to challenge Boise's claim of state capital by 2007-by force if necessary. If you see construction beginning on what appears to be a new capital building made of champagne-colored vinyl siding and drywall ... run!

BEST EXAMPLE OF HOMELAND SECURITY GONE HORRIBLY AWRY

Boise Airport Passenger Pickup

This anti-merry-go-round of Patriot Act paranoia makes almost no sense. Apparently, the difference between safety and catastrophe falls somewhere between 0 and 15 miles per hour. Parked = deadly potential; creeping around and around the gridlocked airport = complete impregnability. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

BEST HUMILIATION JUST AROUND THE BEND

Idaho Legislature: The Movie

Frederick Wiseman, legendary documentary filmmaker and pioneer of the American version of "cinema verité," logged 130 hours of footage of Idaho's state legislature during February and March of this year. By the end of 2005, look for at least four of those 130 hours to appear on PBS stations worldwide as Wiseman's latest masterpiece. Gulp. We're not saying that we're nervous about appearing as a bunch of trigger happy Neanderthals, but check this out: BW whipping boy Nicholas Collias snuck into a private shooting party south of Boise this March, where state reps Gerry Sweet and Henry Kulczyk conducted a full-auto shooting spree in order to show the filmmakers "what Idaho is really like." Double gulp.

BEST SOLUTION FOR THE COIN CHALLENGED

BOISE CITY PARK CARDS

Pre-paid and rechargeable parking meter cards. Genius! Sheer genius! Simply go to City Hall, plop down $10, $20, $30 and get a nifty plastic card (available in four different styles) to insert into downtown parking meters and presto! no digging for change, no parking tickets ... life is so good.

BEST NEWSCASTER TOO YOUNG TO VOTE

Adam Atchison/KTVB Channel 7

Don't child labor laws extend to the media? How is it that this little scamp gets his homework done in time to make it on the 10 o'clock news? Can he work on late-breaking stories after curfew? We hope Adam has an adult in the seat next to him when he drives out on location. We also hope Maggie O'Mara will go to the prom with him and that Mark Johnson will let him borrow his car.

BEST EXAMPLE OF PAVING PARADISE TO PUT up A PARKING LOT

Blimpie on University

If only someone had enough foresight and fill dirt to build a garage over the Boise Tower crater, they would have the award hands down. Instead, it goes to the ghost of Blimpie on the corner of Capitol and University. The women-in-leather-pants barbershop is thriving across the street, so we assumed that the cool, retro-looking subshop would as well. Most girlfriends, we figured, would only allow their boys to attend the former after consuming a vinegar- and onion-draped six incher from the latter. Looks like we were wrong. Cappacola, we hardly knew ye.

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