The Chaz Awards are given annually to those people, places, events and ideas that motivated me sufficiently to start writing down stuff like this.

Best act of revenge by the Baby Boomers:
The Beatles 1, the single digit intended as both title and chart position.
Best new TV series:
Carried on no fewer than eight channels in my area, Presidential Election 2000 was a stunning mixture of plot twists, often-indistinguishable heroes and villains, and a whole lot of extras who did their best to steal individual scenes. It ran for only six weeks, and it will be years before any sequel is aired, but I suspect it will be remembered at least as long as Seinfeld.
Best self-referential item of the year:
"Absence", a short story by Carol Shields, perhaps best known for her novel The Stone Diaries, is a tale about a woman who wishes to write, or at least type, a story, but the letter I on her keyboard seems to have failed. It took me two reads to notice that "Absence" itself lacks any use of the letter I.
Top-rated collector's item of 2000:
Sony's PlayStation 2, if you can get one before 2002.
Most elusive Christmas present:
See previous item.
Most surprising political development:
The state of Oklahoma, considered to be a hopelessly-backward cultural and technological backwater by most of your coastal elites, was revealed to have developed a statewide (all 77 counties), inexpensive, reliable election system that's impossible to second-guess — should a bad ballot be presented, the voter is given a new one on the spot. All the votes were in and counted by 11 pm on election day. Take that, Chad.
Most succinct movie review:
Jim Mullen, airily dismissing Gladiator in Entertainment Weekly: "Ben-Hur, done that."
Best career move:
It wasn't his idea, exactly, but Vice-President Al Gore seems to be going back to Tennessee.
Most unexpected recording reissue:
Rhino's Handmade division has issued a limited-edition two-CD set containing the entire recorded oeuvre of the comedy group The Conception Corporation. Complete Conception includes all three LPs they did for Atlantic's now-defunct Cotillion label (one of which was never released in the first place), plus a great deal of stuff that wasn't even considered for release. I actually own a copy of the one and only 45 by this troupe — "Rock and Roll High School" b/w "The Wholesome Prison Blues", Cotillion 44153, 1972 — and back then I figured them to be the one-est of one-shots; it's nice to see these bits of whimsy back in circulation.
Worst neologism:
"One-est", supra.
Strangest photo of 2000:
A ubiquitous ad for Hennessy cognac (I saw it first in Rolling Stone 849 in September), showing two lovely legs (with de rigueur strappy sandals), the barest hint of the fringe of a party dress, the label "tomboy", and the usual tag "mix accordingly". What this is supposed to mean, I'm not entirely sure, but it's probably a good thing (bad heart, you know) I have never actually met the model.
Most-welcome sign of sanity on Usenet:
The keepers of the FAQ for the various MP3 binary groups are trying to encourage people to upload no more than 75 mb of data a day, in the hope of keeping news servers from dropping the groups entirely because of space and/or bandwidth limitations.

Posted 17 December 2000

Join us next year, same time, same URL (probably), for the next edition of the Chaz Awards.


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