Monday, January 5, 2004

2003 Woman of the Year

Previous Winners: 1992: H. Ross Perot, 1993: St. Francis of Assisi, 1994: Newt Gingrich, 1995: Cal Ripken Jr., 1996: The Bob Dole Campaign, 1997: Dolly the Sheep, 1998: El Nino, 1999: Belinda Jensen, 2000: The Taco Bell Chihuahua, 2001: Randy Moss, 2002: The Cheapo Newsletter

Being a small market newsletter with a stringent salary cap has meant that there has been a constant flux to the membership of the Newsletter Woman of the Year Selection Committee (NWOTYSC). This year the committee lost both its setup person and closer to larger market committees. It's tough to see people that you've worked with and next to over the years leave but it's the little things that have the biggest impact. Take for instant the time Agnes bought the wrong sized coffee filters meaning the committee had to for a month make due with too small filters taking extreme care to place the filter in the holder so as the grounds didn't end up in the brew. Yup, it was a rough month. So if this year's committee banquet seemed a tad low key, there is a reason. Still all in all there were plenty of wonderful candidates to sort through and this year's winner is as good as any of those who previously took home the hardware. So without further ado, here are the chosen who made the final cut:

5) The Dixie Chicks: We live in a land and a time where somehow questioning the decision of the nation's leader to go to war was more harshly criticized than that same leader's lies used to justify the war. Go figure. Yes Natalie, the committee members shared your shame.

4) Steve Bartman and the Wiener Girl: Committee members have long debated whether its better to be a participant or a spectator. This year the world of sports provided conflicting answers. First there was an incident in Milwaukee where the most exciting part of every Brewer game is where a group of adults dresses up in wiener costumes and races around the warning track. Milwaukeans sure can get worked up over dashing foam costumed bratwursts. Thus during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates when the race was on and then Pirate Randall Simon clubbed a young woman dressed in a wiener costume on the noggin with his bat causing her to tumble like she'd been hit by Mike Tyson, it provided a weird photo op only topped by poor Steve Bartman the fan who got his hand on a foul popup causing Cub leftfielder Moises Alou to miss the ball and giving long suffering Cubs fans a goat to why the franchise once again for the 58th straight year, failed to make it to the World Series. Mr. Bartman had to be escorted by security out of the park for fear that Cubs fans would pelt him to death with their half eaten wieners. Ouch. He arrived at the ballpark expecting to cheer his team to history. He left the park a broken fan as if he had clubbed himself on top of the head with an unforgiving baseball bat.

3) Jayson Blair: It isn't often that committee members are in total agreement but the example Mr. Blair set caused everyone to shake their heads in amazement. Who would have thought that instead of dragging one's self out of bed each and every frickin work day that one could instead just phone it in? Working for one of the country's most prestigious newspapers, the New York Times, Mr. Blair decided that instead of doing the reporter's thing of actually going to a location and interviewing people he would instead just make stuff up. If only all of our jobs could be that easy and convenient.

2) Uma Thurman's Roman Toe: There is an ultra icky and disturbing moment in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill where Uma's character wakes from a coma to discover that she had been violated and taken advantage of (in addition to being shot and left for dead). Being sold for sex in a hospital in a comatose state gives Uma's character yet another reason for a vengeful killing streak. But first she has to gain use of her legs again. And with the ultimate determination she wills herself to move (forward). It all begins with the wiggling of her toes. And what makes the scene work is that Uma has Roman Toes- meaning her second toe is longer than her first toe. Hers is a quirky beauty and to be in the club of those who have the Roman Toe affliction is one of the reasons the committee could root for Uma even as she is severing the limbs and heads of those she feels has done her wrong.

1) Sports fans in Minnesota take for granted how lucky we are. We have been fortunate to watch some of the most incredible athletes and call them our own. Currently Minnesota fans are blessed with being able to watch Kevin Garnett play the game of basketball at a level never before seen while marveling at Randy Moss doing amazing things on a football field. And during the summer there isn't anything more beautiful than watching Torii Hunter chase down a flyball. Sadly Minnesota sports fans have to soon say goodbye to the thrills another athlete has provided over the past four years. This basketball player has such a keen court sense that she constantly amazes. She is as fun an athlete to watch as any this town has seen. That she has a gritty determination and cockiness to her game only adds to the fun. Congratulations Lindsay Whalen, a most deserving Newsletter Woman of the Year for your moxie and spunk.

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