Thursday, December 13, 2007


The CP has their 'best of' selections out this week. Where is the transparency? Who added up these votes? More than a few hanging chad on the floor down there at the CP... Here are a few of their select categories and what my vote would have been.

Best Place to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

CP: Dozen's Cupcakes
Me: Paddy Cake Bakery in Bloomfield

Don't believe me? Go and see what the do with the leftover frosting for cakes when they use it as 'filling' between two big chocolate chip cookies which altogether sells for half the price of a cupcake at that 'other' establishment. I guarantee it's the most calories per dollar you can get in the city.

Best Local Bookstore:

CP: Joseph Beth
Me: Is there a real bookstore in town?

Best Pittsburgh Movie

CP: Striking Distance
Me: Achilles Love

Though at least Bruce Willis gives a indelible reference to Bigelow Blvd. in SD.

Best Music Store

CP: Paul's CD's
Me: Jim's Records

Best Political Activist

CP: Bill Peduto
Me: Doesnt Rauterkus get an honorable mention for setting some record for running in more local elections than anyone in history.

Best Antique Store

CP: Zenith Antiques
Me: Crown Antiques

Nothing against Zenith at all.. but wear your miners helmet with light when you are digging through the fifth floor at Crown.


Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for the mention.

I think Mark DeSantis should get some extra award too -- for sucking up all the media cycles and preventing others from even getting a crumb of coverage.

Everyone in the city knew who they were going to vote for for mayor. But, none had a clue that there was even a controller's vote.

I was bucking for DeSantis to have some 'running mates.' And, we knocked repeatedly on their door showing how a little love could have gone a LONG way.

With the City Paper logic, perhaps I'll get named an activist the year I don't run (or stand for any office) -- as they did with Peduto.

Thursday, December 13, 2007 7:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate that they don't exclude votes for chains. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing "Best pizza: Pizza Hut" or similar. Are people that dumb?

As for book stores, yes there are some real ones in town. Jay's in Oakland for example.

Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my favorite time of year.

Mark, you need to bear in mind that the staff has really nothing to do with who wins this stuff. It isn't really our place to give Mark DeSantis an award. Bear in mind too that, while the winners appear this month, the ballots appear in the late summer. DeSantis' campaign didn't really emerge into the public consciousness until after Labor Day -- and it wasn't for lack of trying on our part, since we gave him a cover story in July. I'm afraid he has himself to blame.

As for the chain thing, we try to keep this at a minimum, largely by specifying "best LOCAL ____" in some categories. There are actually a fairly small number of chains who won, if you don't count locally owned places with multiple locations. (Mad Mex and of course Eat'n Park, which sort of operates in a gray area, I think.) Best pizza was certainly not Pizza Hut.

-- Chris Potter

Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(And yes, I realize your remark was characterized by a certain tongue-in-cheek quality. I'm saying this mostly for the benefit of those who think that the readers' choices necessarily reflect those of the staff.)

-- potter

Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, while specialized, has to qualify for the best LOCAL bookstore category. Though, as chains go (query: does Joseph Beth, with less than 10 locations, really qualify as a chain?) JB is pretty decent.

Thursday, December 13, 2007 2:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

In re a real bookstore, Jay's Bookstall in Oakland is more than decent. I've never heard of the C-P readers' choice.

Thursday, December 13, 2007 4:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never heard of the C-P readers' choice.

It's in that SouthSide Works development, right along Carson Street. It's actually not bad -- in the world of big-box type booksellers, I'd rank its selection as better than Barnes & Noble, but not quite as good as Borders. And they do take pains to give local authors attention from time to time.

As for Mystery Lovers, it absolutely would qualify as "local." (We're not THAT parochial.) It's not in the list of finalists because it didn't get enough votes. Which isn't surprising, I guess: It's a niche market. Support for it would be deep, but not broad.

Maybe next year we'll address that problem by going to an Australian-type system, where people get to rank candidates in order of preference, or vote multiple times in each category. Then again, that would spawn even MORE attempts at ballot-stuffing. So we'll maybe also have to retain Jimmy Carter, or Agent Ska, to monitor the polls.

-- potter

Thursday, December 13, 2007 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pizza Hut was just an example. I haven't actually seen this years winners yet, but I always see at least a few chains listed. I always thought you should just not count those votes, but I guess you have your reasons.

Friday, December 14, 2007 9:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought you should just not count those votes, but I guess you have your reasons.

Generally, it's because not counting them would mean tossing out an overwhelming majority of the votes in that particular category. Besides, if Morton's of Chicago wins best steak or something, maybe it really DOES have the best steak.

Plus, the minute I start meddling with the results, it opens up a whole big can of worms. Mad Mex is owned locally but has several locations; Morton's of Chicago is owned by outsiders, but there's only one of them here in town. Which counts as a "chain" for eligibility purposes? Etc. And what about Eat'n Park? Chain or no chain?

If Kennywood won for "best place to take kids" next year, should I toss those votes out to, now that Kennywood is foreign-owned? If I did that, wouldn't I be just like all those Know-Nothing Yinzers -- the ones sophisticated internet types like to make fun of -- who fret about their memories being sold to ahtta-tahners?

Don't get me wrong: I'm not crazy about the fact that chains win either. But this is the one issue of the year in which my preferences, and those of my staff, play the LEAST importance. All we can do is hope people read the paper the rest of the year, when we DO focus our efforts on the local and the unique as much as we can.

-- potter

Saturday, December 15, 2007 5:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough. The time Wendy's was on the list for best burgers I almost screamed (I swear it was once - Am I remembering right?).

But I can see where it's preferable to just let it go. Personally I was just thinking of non-local chains, i.e. Morton's, Wendy's, Borders. Because the idea is to vote for the best *local* places. But yeah, I can see where there would sometimes be gray areas.

Monday, December 17, 2007 9:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

My beef -- where's the beef -- with the CP best of in politics / activist -- was that there were not even three in the list. You mean to say there are not 3 activists in the region who can get a tiny line of ink in the paper.


Saturday, December 22, 2007 10:47:00 PM  

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