Transparency is big in the print world these days.
I'm not talking about journalists filing into cubicles, coffee in hand, adorned in see-through nighties and fishnets or plastic wrap.
I mean letting readers in behind the curtain, revealing as much of the editorial process as possible, to further engage them and to show off a publication's integrity. Transparency is about mapping the process giving the DVD extras, so to speak.
Our two Best Of Colorado Springs issues are, by a longshot, our largest efforts of the year. They require an enormous extra push from our entire staff. This means kicking from fourth to fifth gear, from "busy" to "I want to see my family I'm writing 'miss-you' postcards to my bed who the hell created 217 categories?"
Eyeballs get crusty, patience wears thin, new strings of cusswords get spontaneously invented, take-out is brought in, distractions are kicked out, interns are intimidated.
But one redeeming quality of this delicious annual Best Of fiasco is the joy of snickering at some of the oddball entries on the ballots we get.
Take, for instance, this "Me" character, who always shows up under "Person Likely to Leave Us in Their Dust," and "Person We Can't Believe Lives Here." Over the years, we've awarded "Me" quite a handful of second- and third-places.
Scribbling "Me" on your Indy ballot is either a statement of true megalomania and narcissism, or it's just a middle finger. Either way, we love "Me," and the irreverent spirit in which you keep "Me" alive. Hell vote "Me" for "Public Fool" and "Make-Out Spot" for all we care next year, or even "Trash Service."
This year, among other strange votes cast, we received four that could qualify as all-time favorites. In the category of "Person We Can't Believe Lives Here," four separate people voted for silent-film actor Lon Chaney.
OK, so he's dead, and has been since 19-freakin'-30. Beyond that, his body is interred in Los Angeles.
Among other amusing votes this year:
Best Toy Store: One proud vote for First Amendment at Fillmore. (Naughty, naughty.)
Best Print Journalist: Four votes for the Gazette's Dave Philipps. Oddly, none for Nathaniel Glen. Also, one for "none," and one for "not applicable." (Sniff.)
Best Local Celebrity: One each for Hugh Jackman and Jessica Alba. (Wolverine vs. Sue Storm ... here?)
Best Reason to Vote this November: To "clean out City Council." (That election happened in April. Oops.)
Category we forgot: Village Idiot. (What, Public Fool wasn't enough? And Bush doesn't live here ...)
We realize, by the way, that we just gave you license to go nuts when filling out your ballots next year. Just remember, you only get to vote once, so make it count.