Wade on Birmingham

The other crucial vote


birmingham news readers' choiceWith such a wide field of nominees, how will Birmingham voters decide how to cast such an important vote?

The mayoral election? Nah, the Birmingham News’ annual Readers’ Choice Awards, which closes at 11 tonight. More than 500 nominated their faves in 80-plus categories. Now, you can vote among five contenders in each category in the online ballot, broken into three sections: City Life, Food and Drink and Leisure and Entertainment.

But this isn’t about the best of the city.

This is about mocking the regrettable list of candidates (and thereby indirectly mocking the nominating readers and the selection process). How will they stack up against the 2006 winners? Did our pal Matt at Alabama Live make the right call with his picks?

Our catty contenders, after the jump …

Best place to people-watch

  • City Stages
  • The Gym
  • Linn Park
  • Oak Mountain Park
  • Vulcan Park

Considering that all three finalists from last year — the Galleria, the airport and Five Points South — didn’t make the cut, we smell a rat. Sure, we’ll go to Vulcan to people-watch, from a long, lon-n-n-ng way away.

Best local Web site

Hmmph. We protest this category for obvious reasons. Plus, al.com, remove yourself from consideration when you’re hosting the ballot. Birminghamster? It’s been updated this year. Twice.

Best video store

  • Birmingham Public Library
  • Blockbuster
  • Coconuts
  • Netflix
  • Wal-Mart

Sign of the times: When two of your nominees (the library and Netflix) aren’t actually stores, and one (Coconuts) doesn’t do rentals, it’s time to retire the category.

Best record/CD store

  • Birmingham Public Library
  • Coconuts
  • Hoover Library
  • Laser’s Edge
  • Wal-Mart

Hey, kids, don’t buy music: Just rip your favorites at the library. And if you want the totally rad (read: censored) versions, Wal-Mart’s the one!

Best church choir

  • Canterbury United Methodist Church
  • Cathedral Church of the Advent
  • Hunter Street Baptist Church
  • Independent Presbyterian Church
  • Sixth Avenue Baptist Church

Are people clamoring to know which choir makes the joyful noise while the others are hell on earth? If anyone not affiliated with these churches can speak credibly to this burning issue, we’ll tithe like we’ve never tithed before.

Best pie

  • Dreamland
  • Irondale Cafe
  • Johnny Ray’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Niki’s West

Please vote for Dreamland, because it has the best pie of all: imaginary. That’s right: Dreamland serves ribs, bread and sides, but no pie. Good job, fact checkers!

Best Italian restaurant

  • Bottega
  • Brio
  • Gianmarco
  • Lovoy’s
  • Olive Garden

Best Mexican restaurant

  • Cantina
  • La Paz
  • Sol y Luna
  • Superior Grill
  • Taco Bell

Finally, the Olive Garden and Taco Bell are being recognized for their ethnic flair over tired hacks like Sol y Luna and Gianmarco. Finally.

Best hotel

  • Crowne Plaza
  • Renaissance Ross Bridge
  • Sheraton Birmingham
  • The Tutwiler
  • The Wynfrey

How would you know? (Points finger accusingly.) Are you having an affair?! With that trollop from your office!!

Best department store

  • Belk
  • Kohl’s
  • Macy’s
  • Parisian
  • Sears

Why does Belk (formerly Parisian) get two slots? What’s your favorite: Sears or Roebuck? Taco or Bell? Wal or -Mart?

Best toy store

  • Homewood Toy & Hobby Shop
  • KB Toys
  • Toys R Us
  • Walgreens
  • Wal-Mart

Walgreens? What kind of sick toys are you buying your kids, Birmingham?

Best college or university

  • Auburn University
  • Birmingham-Southern College
  • Samford University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

For 10 bonus points: While this category is under the heading “City Life,” pick the two universities that aren’t actually located in the city.

Best view

  • The Club
  • Oak Mountain State Park
  • Red Mountain
  • The Summit Club
  • Vulcan Park

Sadly, the views from Red Mountain, The Club and Vulcan, are virtually identical from what we can tell. But what do we know … the “View” hasn’t been the same since Rosie left. Sigh.

5 Yips for “The other crucial vote”

  1. CJ
    Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 3:13 pm

    The number of categories Wal-Mart was nominated for sickened me. It also made me wish I had turned in my own nominations…

  2. Ginny
    Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 3:38 pm

    Even though The Gym is not an actual place, isn’t that for a different kind of people watching, anyway?

  3. Wade
    Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 9:45 pm

    CJ: The more people who shop at Wal-Mart, the more room for us at the “lesser” stores.

    Ginny: My hidden cams allow for instant people-watching round the clock.

  4. The readers have spoken, sort of
    Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 8:08 am

    […] to note that the 2007 Readers Choice Awards over on al.com have been completed. One take is shared here by local blogger Wade Kwon over on his site Wade on Birmingham. It’s also the only place […]

  5. convulso
    Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 7:55 pm

    renaissance….charlemagne…the terminal…

    where are these? let’s neglect what’s unique about bham and go with the homogenous.

    perhaps one of the ‘real’ bham sites should do its own poll. perhaps the terminal will gain enough traction as a mainstream media outlet in the coming months, and can offer some real choices – if we are to have these inane polls at all.

    my peeve with birmingham’s offerings is topped by the lack of a truly great video rental store. after living in tucson, whose ass bham kicks all over the place in nearly every respect, i’ve come to value the one thing they have on us (and just about everybody else): a first-rate locally-owned vid store with massive esoteric selection on both VHS and DVD. a store like that really obviates netflix for those obscure titles.

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