We’re knee-deep in awards season right now, but as everyone knows awards are utterly useless indicators of value or quality. In reality, the only practical use for awards lists is as a springboard for debate. Which winners deserve to bask in their accolades? Which winners were wrongly rewarded? Our only competition as local taste makers, Morgantown Magazine, has just released its 3rd annual Best of Morgantown awards, and our own aggressively opinionated townies, Aaron and Sam, are chiming in with an additional and far more accurate two cents. Today’s Topic: Personalities.
Local Chef - Simon Poulin - Sargasso
Aaron: Sure, if you want small overpriced portions meant to dazzle you from the plate. Seriously though, Sargasso barely counts as eating. It’s all presentation. Much better meals to be had in this town much, much, cheaper. This whole Best of Morgantown thing seems like it’s only out to strengthen their reputation. I wonder if they advertise in the Magazine?
Sam: I know Chris McDonald cooks at Stefano’s. We went to school together. He’s one of the funniest people that I knew growing up. I’ve never eaten there – and I continue to believe that is a ridiculous location for a restaurant – but I’m biased toward him. I’ve also worked at Cafe of India before it was Mother of India. I tend to think that they can cook down there. I think there’s an automatic bias that plays into the idea that the cook making $40 dinners is a better cook than the one making $20 dinners. I don’t buy into that even a little bit. That’s not knocking Poulin; I’m sure he’s great. But his restaurant isn’t the first, second, or third place I’d think to eat, and I think that matters here greatly.
Local Bartender - Grace Hutchens - Apothecary Ale House & Cafe
A: The greatest local bartender is Lucy from Gene’s. We all know that. In fact, it’s one of the least disputed statements one could make about Morgantown. Grace does a great job… but I’d bet she agrees with me.
S: Yep. It’s Lucy. But is part of the issue here that she doesn’t make cocktails? Because I don’t care. It’s still Lucy.
Local Media Personality - Geoff Coyle
A: Is there a thinner category out there? I think Morgantown suffers from small market syndrome on this one. If you’re making your mark as a media figure in Morgantown…. are you really making your mark?
S: I generally don’t pay attention to our local media, so I’m not really in a position to knock Coyle’s victory here, except that I don’t know who he is, I’ve never heard of him, and I wouldn’t think to myself, “What’s Coyle thinking here?” And that’s not knocking Coyle. I’m just not familiar. But how does Tony Caridi not win? Or Kevin Connoley? Aren’t they bigger names with a broader reach?
Local Twitter Feed - Geoff Coyle
S: Nope. Not even a little bit. Coyle’s feed is overwhelmingly tweets about WVU sports. It’s like the ticker at the bottom of Sportscenter. That’s not what Twitter is for. Nobody’s following the game on Twitter (I hope). We’re all on there to snark about the games. And there’s more to Morgantown than WVU sports, no matter how shocking a thought that is to consider. Coyle is a very anodyne pick in this regard.
I’m trying to think who’d I’d pick and one thought is @ddryan. He stays up on local events, he cracks jokes, he doesn’t take Twitter very seriously (mostly), it’s easy enough to ignore the arcane passions (like Dr. Who). His is a broadly relevant Twitter account that tackles multiple subjects. I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting.
And obviously, some people are assuming we’d pick ourselves for this category, but this was an amateur competition. Our professional status precluded us from competing. To keep things fair you see. Arrogance!
Local Politician - Barbara Fleischauer
S: Sure. Whatever. There’s no such thing as a best-local politician. Maybe a least-worst. But I don’t suppose Least Worst Of Morgantown is nearly as appealing a headline/competition.
A: Barbara’s the best, and I don’t mind saying so. It’s rough out there for a liberal in this state. Glad Barbara’s fighting the good fight. I always thought she should try to step up to the State Senate or Congress, but I can’t imagine why she’d want too.
Local Hairstylist - Audra Mayhew
S: John Cavalier.
A: I, clearly, am not allowed to have an opinion on personal grooming.
S: To be fair, it’s pretty ludicrous that I’d have an opinion here either.
Local Artist - David R. Merrill
S: * shrugs violently *
A: I have no idea who that is. There are some great local artists out there, Brian Pickens, Erica Lindsey, Meg Juckett, Malissa Goff come immediately to mind, but I’m sure this guy is deserving. I guess. Does anyone know what his M.O. is?
S: Just figured out who David Merrill is and…uhh…no.
Coach & Local Person You’d Want to Have A Beer With - Bob Huggins
A: Well, winning “Best Coach” was easy if your only real competition is Dana Holgorsen, and nobodies voting him anything more than a train ticket out of town. The other award seems fitting too. Fun fact: I’ve only met Bob Huggins once. Where? In a bar, of course.
S: Coach and Local Person? Was this really a category? Also, for obvious reasons, I’m out on this one. And less obvious ones too. I get that he isn’t changing for anybody, but how do you enjoy anything with Huggins without being extremely worried about his health and well-being?
A: Again, they combined them, since Bob Huggins is a juggernaut in this town. He’s our only god’s-honest “celebrity”! Sort of.