Well, it’s the end of December once again (how in the world did that happen so fast?), and that can mean one and only one thing: It’s time again for the most awesome, most spectacular, most stupenderific awards ceremony in existence: The much-awaited, greatly anticipated 2017 Yostie Awards.

The Yostie Awards are handed out for the very best and worst of the year, the most bizarre, the smartest and dumbest things, and to many of the people, actions and events that have regaled us over the last 12 months.

So, without any further to do, here we go …


The Best Kindergarten Dispute Among Grown Men and Women Award: This award easily goes to the great funding fight over the new High Point downtown baseball stadium – or, as this is now known in local government circles, “World War III.”

When Guilford County wouldn’t agree to help pay the cost of the project, High Point basically threatened to take their ballpark and leave the county for good.

Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning said the city’s leaders were trying to play the “Jedi Mind Trick” on the commissioners, and former High Point Mayor Bill Bencini – and others in High Point – responded by saying that the commissioners were like the farm animals in The Little Red Hen (most likely the rat). The animals kept saying “Not I” when the red hen asked for help harvesting the wheat, or kneading the dough – and the commissioners kept saying “Not I” when High Point asked for help paying for the stadium. But Bencini said the commissioners did want to reap the rewards of the city’s effort. The former mayor actually sent a copy of The Little Red Hen story to the Rhino Times to make sure the publication was aware of the tale and the moral of the story.

It’s a $35 million project and most of the political conversation around it has been about Star Wars and The Little Red Hen. Let’s just hope the new 2018-2019 county and city budgets aren’t based on Jack and the Beanstalk.


Worst Family Feud question of 2017: This award, which each year honors the worst Family Feud question, easily goes to this unexplainable Steve Harvey classic this year: “Things a stripper might ask a man to remove from his pants before a lap dance?”

Whaaaaaaaat, Steve? Huuuhh? What is that you just said on national television?

Speaking of Steve Harvey, there’s the Yostie for 2017’s Most Dramatic Television Moment: The award goes to Steve Harvey announcing the Miss Universe pageant winner. The most dramatic moment wasn’t when Harvey announced Miss South Africa as the winner, but instead it was right after that when everyone waited on pins and needles to see if anyone came on stage screaming, “Stop the runway walk! There’s been a terrible mistake!”


The Biggest Anticlimax Since Geraldo Rivera’s Opening of Al Capone’s Vault Award goes to the 2017 Solar Eclipse, which promised great things for months and got the entire City of Greensboro all hyped up and excited.

For a week, leading up to the extremely rare event, there was a perfectly clear blue sky. Then, just moments before the eclipse, the view was interrupted by thick cloud cover that hung around until right after the eclipse was over – after which, of course, there was another week of completely cloudless skies. The unwelcome sun block left everyone in Greensboro moaning and groaning while everyone else in the country reveled in a state of harmonic convergence and universal love and enlightenment.

But that’s OK; don’t worry, because those of us who missed it can see it again in the year 3042. Thanks a lot, evil weather gods!


Best Costume: Greensboro-based singer Jessica Mashburn. The very lovely and talented Jessica always uses elaborate and fascinating costumes to add flare to her musical act – not that her very fun performances need any sprucing up at all. You can catch her tickling the ivories and belting out the tunes at WineStyles and many other area establishments. You will not regret it and, also, she’s been known to take requests if you ask nicely.


The Most Dramatic Thing Ever to Happen in an Economic Development Meeting in the History of the World: Now, this is an easy one because nothing dramatic ever happens at these meetings because economic development people are always very cordial, self-controlled and in a good mood – because business leaders like this have learned to always be upbeat. So when former High Point Mayor Bill Bencini started tearing into then Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips (over, what else, baseball stadium funding) in front of a large group of cheery, upbeat economic development people, I knew we had a winner in this brand new Yostie category.

I was watching quietly in fascination the whole time and my favorite part was when Phillips tried to point out to Bencini, “Uh, there’s media in the room.”


Best Publisher: Rhino Times Publisher Roy Carroll. Carroll has an impressive run of winning this award for four years straight.


Biggest mistake of 2017 made by tech-giant Google: Putting the cheese on the bottom of the burger in the new Google’s cheeseburger emoji. After a little taunting from the Rhino Times, (OK, a lot of it), that problem was fixed just in time for 2018.


Yostie for the Most Important Trial of the Year: Taylor Swift’s butt-cheek grabbing trial. Miss Swift’s courageous defense in this case could have ramifications for decades to come for future instances across America of DJ’s grabbing the bottoms of superstars.


By far, the Very Worst Wedding Proposal Award of 2017: This goes to Chris Jeanes, who was, in October, on board Air Asia flight QZ535 headed to Bali for a romantic getaway with his girlfriend Casey Kinchella. About 30 minutes into the flight, the plane had engine problems and began to plummet and everyone thought they were going to die – and that was the moment Chris chose to whip out the ring and propose. I mean, who does that?

London’s Daily Mail ran this headline on the story: “Young man proposed to his girlfriend amid screaming passengers as their Bali-bound plane plummeted towards the ground.”

Now, this was not a little turbulence. This was a full-on “We’re going to die!” plane dive in which passengers all around them were crying, praying and screaming amid the panic and chaos.

That’s the time Chris chose to propose.

One passenger on the plane said the Air Asia flight attendants were running down the aisles shouting wildly, “Emergency! Brace! Crash positions!” He said that they were, quote, “screaming their heads off.”

Exactly what every little girl imagines her wedding proposal will be like one day.

When he proposed, I’m sure she was like, “I’ve been begging you to ask me for four years – and now you ask!? The sunset on the beach at Sandals in Turks and Caicos last year – that wasn’t a good time but now you ask! This seemed like the right time to you!?”

Here’s another reason it’s a dumb time to propose. Right after you pop the question, every guy should score big like no time in his life, but how can you do that if you are both dead or if you’re in a life raft with 20 other passengers?

So, all in all, very poor timing on his part.

And, by the way, even if she says yes, it’s not like she could even be held to it. She might have just said yes because it seemed clear she’d never have to go through with it, so she’d have an easy out.


Best Giant Maze Construction of the Year: This award goes jointly to the City of Greensboro and private developers for the amazing City of Greensboro Maze that turned the entire city, for all of 2017, into a labyrinth with construction, new water pipes, street work, new sidewalks, greenways, hotels, etc., etc., etc., this year. I go through a maze each day to work, a different one on the way home, and I go through one everywhere else I go. No wonder there’s now a backlash and you’re seeing “End Construction” signs popping up all over town.


The 2017 “Who Knew?” Yostie Award goes to every man in a high-profile job: Apparently all rich and successful men, no matter their line of work, walk around the office or the workplace all day without wearing any pants. Who knew? Everyone at our office wears their pants each day, but it may be that we just haven’t reached that lofty-enough level of fame where we get up one morning and say, “Pants? Who needs pants? The women in the office probably hate the fact that I wear pants anyway.”


The 2017 Moonshot Award for the Most Ambitious project of 2017 goes to the new 30-yard stretch of greenway outside Deep Roots and whatever else in the world all those construction workers have been doing there all this time. As you may or may not know, this project began in 1968 before being completed in late 2017. It took over 11 million man hours to finish at a cost of $7 billion. That is 14 work crews working night and day to construct a big sidewalk – uh, I mean a greenway. It was a lot of work but now the 30-yards of greenway, a half century in the making, is done, and everyone can relax and get into the Deep Roots parking lot again.


Worst Name for a New Product: iPhone X. Calling the new ground-breaking iPhone the iPhone Ten just kind of bores the pants off people. The phone is great but the name, to be honest, is no good at all. Sorry, Apple.


Best Name for a New Product: iPhone X. The name iPhone X sounds really cool and exciting. It sounds mysterious and futuristic like X-Men or X-ray vision. Good call, Apple!


Dumbest Decision of the Year: China, for banning Victoria’s Secret supermodels. Who does that? Why would you do that? They are Victoria’s Secret supermodels for goodness’ sakes.


Runner up for dumbest decision: the Guilford County courts system for asking someone with my poor judgment to serve on a jury.


Meanest, Pettiest and most Hypocritical Act of the Year Award goes to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. So, this summer everyone in New Jersey was ready to go to the beach to cool off on the July 4th weekend, but right before the holiday arrived, Christie announced that the New Jersey beaches would be closed. Now, a few things …

(A) It was scorching hot.

(B) It was the Fourth of July weekend.

(C) Christie did it for some stupid political reason – basically because he couldn’t get his way with other state legislators on some budget issue.

Now, that right there, alone, would have been enough to make the entire state of New Jersey as angry as wasps – and it was – but then there was, of course, the absolutely monumental kicker to the whole thing: On that steaming hot holiday weekend when Christie closed the beaches to everyone in the state, he and his family went out on the beach and enjoyed it, having the entire beach all to themselves.

If you think about it, that’s an almost unimaginable act of hubris, hypocrisy and entitlement. It doesn’t make you beloved, but it does win you a Yostie.


The Keystone Construction Company Award goes to the bridge construction crew who accidently cut off power to thousands and thousands of people on the outer banks this summer by ramming a steel casing into the underground power transmission line and, at the height of tourist season, severing that line that provided power to the whole northern coast. Talk about angry people.

I still have absolutely no idea how something like that could happen. In my back yard, workers all seem to know exactly where my Spectrum cable line is buried – and I’m just one person and the only consequence if they dig in the wrong place is that I don’t get to watch TV that night.


Worst Hug: Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump.


Very Best New Thing of 2017: This is the highest Yostie Award given out each year and I’m proud to say that this goes to MoviePass, the completely magical card that allows you, for $9.95 a month, to see any movie you want to see for free. Now, as you well know, something like that cannot possibly work, but as someone who has used his magic card over and over to see many, many movies since I got it in September, I can tell you that it does in fact work like a charm – or rather, like a magic card. MoviePass recently ran a special that knocked the price down to $6.95 a month if you got a year at once, which I of course did.

So basically, for the cost of 8 movie tickets, I get 365 movies if I want to go every day. You show me a better deal than that and I’ll show you a Yostie Award for next year.


The Album of the Year Yostie Award goes to Tay-Tay’s “Reputation.” Right after Miss Swift’s album came out, I heard a DJ give an amazing stat. He said Taylor’s album had, for the first week after it came out, outsold the other 199 albums on Billboard’s top 200 chart combined. Also, who am I to argue with perfection and beauty.


Best Surprise Movie of the Year: Happy Death Day! I went to see this movie thinking it was just going to be a pretty bad and stupid movie. (But why not go? Movies are free!) And I simply loved every minute of it. It was so much…fun. Whatever happened to making movies fun? I had never seen or heard of actress Jessica Rothe before but, trust me, you will hear that name a lot more in the years to come.


Hottest Guilford County Department Head: [SPECIAL NOTE: No winner/Award canceled.] Regretfully, since it is no longer OK to say that women are pretty, I have done away with this long-standing award after over a decade of giving it out each year. In case you were curious though, if I had given the award this year again, it would have been a repeat win for Guilford County Family Justice Department Center Director Catherine Johnson. Smokin’ hot. See picture.


Last-minute Christmas Surprise of the Year Yostie Award: PTI Airport – sorry, I meant that the award should go to Central North Carolina International Airport for the name change. Usually, when people change their name, they’ve done something bad and are on the lamb or the lam or something like that.

So my question is this: What is there in the airport’s past that makes the airport people feel the place needs an alias? I’m just saying, it kind of makes you wonder.


Absolutely most amazing thing about 2017: That I have not lost my Apple Pencil yet. When I first shelled out $100 for a pencil for my iPad Pro, I said to myself. “Oh no, Yost, you are going to have to buy at least 14 of these before the year is through.” But I haven’t lost it once! Though I’m sure I just jinxed myself.


Best Interview: There were 15 billion viral videos released this year but yet this was an extremely easy choice. Hands down, the winner is “BBC interviewee interrupted by his children live on air.” I’ve seen it a thousand times but I just watched it again before giving it the award and I still can’t stop laughing.