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Did you like the Best of Tucson™?" Well, brace yourself for the Best of Tom™!

Now that the Best of Tucson™ issue has been out for a week, and the watercooler buzz is beginning to die down a bit, I have a few things to add. These are categories that I submitted for inclusion, but were rejected by The Man. I mentioned to him that I actually worked on the very first Best of Tucson™, along with Jeff Smith, now of the Tucson Citizen, and the world-famous Barbara Kingsolver, who doesn't live here any more. That means that when I was busting my butt to help get the whole thing started, our current editor was dressing like Simon Le Bon, and he and his middle school homies were rolling drunks in Reno. (Can you imagine the humiliation of getting beaten up by a gang that looked like Duran Duran?)

Anyway, here are a few categories that just missed the cut last week:

· Best Thing (So Far) About UA Football in the Mike Stoops Era: We get to see local kids who went away to Northern Arizona University come into Arizona Stadium and take a sound thrashing, sometimes by as much as 10 points. No, wait! The Cats beat ASU last year. But, seriously, doesn't that game seem like it happened a looooong time ago?

· Best Local Street Where You Can Drive as Fast as You Want Without Fear of Getting Busted: Apparently, it's the one that runs right in from of my house, at about 2 in the morning most weekends. I live in (what is normally) a nice, quiet neighborhood. But somebody rented a house down the street to the Clampetts, and young Jethro and his first cousin (and probably brother as well) Jethro aren't too good with two-digit numbers, like those on speed-limit signs.

I once had a similar situation with a household (the kind whose family tree has no fork) that insisted on emptying the family arsenal into the night sky at midnight on New Year's Eve. When later I confronted the matriarch of the clan, she said, "It's our constitutional right."

It's not a good idea to stand downwind as a toothless hillbilly is attempting to say the word "constitutional."

· Best Nerd Bumper Sticker: "CIVIL ENGINEERS: Teaching the difference between cement and concrete, one person at a time."

· Best Idea I Accidentally Came up With for Dealing With Porn Stores in Our Midst: Zone them so they have to be next to police stations.

It shouldn't be against the law for Dirty Uncle Ned to buy DVDs of consenting adults playing mattress hockey. But it probably isn't the best idea to put one next to a youth dance studio, either. And, it's not that the store patrons present any threat to the dancers. It's just that all those moms who pick the kids up after class will have to explain what is meant by "Coming Attractions."

However, if you put the stores next to police stations, that allows the purveyors of porn to operate freely, as is their right, while cutting down on any peripheral activity which might otherwise accompany such establishments.

Do not, however, expect me to say that putting them next to the police stations provides them with a built-in clientele. I have a wonderful working relationship with our local constabulary. I don't ever bother them by breaking the law, and they respond by completely ignoring the white trash that uses my neighborhood street as a drag strip.

· Best Line From a Movie (This Year or Any Other): Don Cheadle in Crash, when responding to his lover/detective partner, Jennifer Esposito, who was angry at being referred to as "Mexican" when, in fact, she is of Puerto Rican and El Salvadoran heritage. Quipped Cheadle, "Well, I guess the big mystery is who gathered all those remarkably different cultures together and taught them all how to park their cars on their lawns."

Ouch.

· Best Thing I Learned All Year: Mustard has no calories. None. Zero. Neither does vinegar. Meanwhile, cabbage, celery and dill pickles all have calorie amounts that are so low as to be negligible. Now, if I could just come up with a way to combine all that stuff into something edible without leaving my face frozen in that vacant, yearning look of a vegetarian, I'd be able to lose those last few dozen pounds.

· Best Save in Local TV News: Whoever it was at Channel 13 that took away Kaushal Patel's makeup. The young newscaster who has been thrust to the forefront during Kris Pickel's extended maternity leave actually does a good job, with a smooth delivery and a professional manner. But when she first went on the air, it looked as though her makeup had been applied by a drywall company. Fortunately, somebody eventually hid the putty knife, and now we can watch the news without having to squint through the outside corner of our left eye.

· Best Idea in Local Cuisine: Wrapping hot dogs in bacon, like they do at El Guero Canelo. Now, if we could just get them to replace the buns with, say, two pork chops, we'd be in ... well, you know, hog heaven.

Sorry.

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