Superlatives of 2015

Most Shocking Hat Trick

(And no, we’re not talking U.S. Women’s World Cup here.) He was hair today, gone tomorrow, but the prize is still awarded to presidential candidate Donald Trump. Standing in 90-degree August heat at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Trump tipped his baseball cap, exposing his famous ‘do to Mobile’s humidity. The audience gasped at what appeared to be a wet blonde muskrat pleading for euthanasia. The sight, which was broadcast on national television, possibly cost Trump six states.

Best Doomed Dome

The Mobile Civic Center. Few people can boast receiving high school diplomas from the stage where Elvis Presley sang and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was filmed. But many Mobilians can. Sadly, Elvis died, the mother ship left and the auditorium isn’t far behind — unless $20 million is secured for restorations. Which will probably appear the day after Elvis makes a return in the mother ship. 

Biggest Riverfront Triumph

Carnival Cruise Lines is our winner! It last left
Mobile’s docks in October 2011 and will return November 2016. (Holy cow, what’s up with that Bermuda Triangle?) Most likely, the world will never know why Carnival left Mobile in the first place. (The prevailing theory is because it could not offset the cost of fuel, maritime regulations and frou-frou drinks in coconut shells.) Be that as it may, welcome back, Carnival.

Best Building that Looks Like a Ship but Isn’t 

The GulfQuest Maritime Museum. This massive Water Street vessel-like structure ended up costing over $40 million. But after several delays it opened September 26, 2015 to positive reviews, not counting the talk show regulars. Despite the hiccups, GulfQuest features state-of-the-art interactive displays and thoroughly depicts the maritime history of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Worth the wait? You be the judge.

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Best Waffle Not in a Pancake House

Congratulations to BayFest, Mobile’s festival of music on the move — literally. It was scheduled for Downtown Mobile, then the The Grounds in WeMo, back to Downtown, and finally, as of September, it exists only in our hearts. Yes, BayFest is kaput, cancelled, with all my hopes of ever seeing Marie Osmond crushed. But wait, thanks to Jake Peavy and some awesome Mobilians the new concert on the block, TenSixtyFive, was born in only 10 days time. Rock on!

Best Mistake Set to Poetry

Ode to the Fallen Oaks of Bienville Square: I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as that tree. But now where that tree used to be, stands nothing but stupidity. Contractors cranked their saws to hack, while the City sat with hands behind their backs. But rest assured, thy lesson’s learned; for our old oaks, the voters yearn. Next time builders beg, please lecture, let not your tools be from Black & Decker. 

Biggest Hullabaloo Illustrated in Song

For your listening pleasure, “October’s B.P. Oil Spill Settlement” to be sung to the tune of “Halls of Montezuma.” Sing with me now: “From the shores of Huntsville beaches, to the waves of Dothan downtown. The B.P. Oil Settlement money doles $1.3 billion bucks all around. Never mind the effect was zero to counties all upstate. The Feds worked with Montgomery, to put our oil settlement money on your plate.” 

“The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway” Award

And the winner is the proposed Downtown ice-skating rink — and its chilling reception. Not everyone approved of Cooper Riverside Park’s frozen arena. But in a cutting edge five-two vote last September, the Mobile City Council won out over the opposition. Good thing, because the rink perfectly complements Mobile’s rich Icelandic heritage and Norwegian-Viking community. The icy venue runs November to January, or until temperatures rise to 33 degrees (above freezing),  whichever comes first.

Best Excuse to Cut Loose

The recipient of this honor is attorney Jeff Deen. In July, the Mobile defense lawyer filed a motion in U.S. District Court to delay Kim and John Hastie’s tax evasion trial so Deen would not face his “wife’s wrath” if absent from her imminent childbirth. Deen wrote the court, “More importantly, undersigned counsel’s wife is expecting a child in July for which she has commanded counsel to be present at the birth of said child or face dire consequences.”

Floppier Than Flea Market Crocs Award

This honor is presented to music rockers Widespread Panic who caused widespread panic when the powers of Orange Beach realized that a jam band is not strawberry jelly. But the notoriety began in April, when Orange Beach pro tem mayor Jeff Silvers referred to the city’s looming W.P. concert as ‘floppiness.’ He cited incidences of groupie-followers’ disrespectful attitudes and their ‘flopping’ in vacant buildings and unoccupied homes. Some ‘flopped’ or camped out, like Daniel Boone, who wore a coonskin cap, which was also flopped. But on May 22 the band played to a half-empty arena, and a good time was flopped by all.

“With a Name like Uber, It’s Got to be Good” Award

Presented to Uber, Mobile’s newest mode of  transportation — taxis that are not yellow. Last summer, Mobile agreed to allow the San Francisco-based company to provide vehicles for hire, which can be summoned within minutes by a downloadable app. Estimated Uber fare from Mobile to Fairhope is about $50 unless said Uber vehicle is delayed in tunnel traffic backups, which only occurs on days ending in Y.

The Opulence in Organics Recognition Award

And the recipient is…Whole Foods Market, the new Pinebrook grocery store where Spring Hill residents buy fresh asparagus with money stowed in Tory Burch purses, then load organic produce into their BMW sedans. 

The Feel-the-Love Trophy

Mobile’s Faith Academy grad and Toronto Blue Jay third baseman Josh Donaldson knocks it out of the park. In balloting for favorite starting player in an all-star game, Donaldson won with an approval of 14, 090, 188 votes — beating the U.S. Congress’ approval by 14, 090, 188 votes.  

Best Rumors in Retail

Since construction began, McGowin Park Shopping Center was rumored to be home of a Macy’s Department Store. Alas, it is not. At press time, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is set for New York City, not the Port City. But other rumors did come true, including Costco as McGowin’s anchor store and vendor of mayonnaise in 55-gallon drums.

Spiciest Rivalry

Presented to MOB and NOLA. Last January, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson strategically placed billboards along key roads reminding visitors that Mobile, not New Orleans, originated Mardi Gras. Though promoted as a “good-natured rivalry” between two fun-loving towns — the Port City and the Big Easy — New Orleanians’ social media replies often were not, er, printable in a family magazine. Let’s just say some people who suck the brains from crawfish have anger management issues.

Text by Emmett Burnett

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