Keeping the memory alive…

Ian Kennedy


Man, 2013.

I don’t know just what to say about you other than don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

This isn’t the time or the place for me to air all my grievances for 2013, of which there are many, but I also don’t mean to imply that 2013 was nothing more than 365 days of suck. There were bright spots, I think.

To put a positive spin on things, 2013 was a year of challenges and transitions…. or opportunity! Whether these opportunities bear ripe or rotten fruit remains to be seen, so here’s to 2014!

Chief among the shitty things that happened in 2013 was the fact that my friend was stabbed to death by his teenage daughter’s boyfriend (ALLEGEDLY, RIGHT?!?!). No way to sugar coat that. Straight up fucked up.

As with all grieving, there is a surge at the beginning, followed by the slow fade of acceptance. But there are spikes along the way. And because it’s the end of the year, a time when we take stock and reflect, all the year’s emotions are spiking.


But Dennis’s memory is up at the top. This is the time of year when we—The Royal Dookie Academy—would get together for lunch (his treat!) to talk about people behind their backs generate our annual list of awards and nominees for the Howard County Blog Awards, aka the Dookies.

These awards started in 2006 on my old blog as a way to fill space when the local newspapers weren’t generating enough content for me to comment on. After I “sold my soul” to The Man (and did a crummy job with the Dookies in 2007), Dennis became the official host of the awards, continuing the tradition in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Obviously, there will be no 2013 post from Wordbones, but as a small vestige of my lame attempt to keep a promise I made to write more and to honor the memory of my friend, I present the 2013 Dookies. As always, this list is non-exhaustive and readers are encouraged to offer your own awards at #HoCoDookies. Also, unlike real awards (or those posturing to be so), these are fake and supposed to be funny.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Normally these awards are funny and presented with tongue firmly in cheek, but before we (try to) get funny, we have to recognize Dennis and his contributions to our blogging community. He meant so much to so many of us, and I know we all remember him in our own ways. But we’ll always have his writing, nearly seven year’s worth on the blog. As Ben Franklin (actually) said: “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” Dennis did both.

The Metamorphosis Award: Tom Coale, for his transition from a lowly, leaf-munching caterpillar/blogger to a majestic, colorful butterfly/politician soaring to great heights… or something. The name of this award and its potential relationship to the vile creature in Kafka’s story of the same name is purely coincidental…. or something.

To be serious, however, it’s hard to be an effective and interesting blogger—whether as a politician or just an activist/advocate—and not just because of time, but mostly because of distance and perspective. Which brings me to….

The Promise (Not) Keeper Award: Me, for promising to blog more and only posting two, kinda-sorta-not-really pieces on a platform that’s kinda-sorta-not-really blogging, Medium. But this counts too, right? So, that’s three. Plus I’m really verbose on Facebook, so that also counts. And I write (well, edit) a “blog” for work. Suddenly I feel like I don’t deserve this award. Anyway, my excuse for not “blogging” is that I’m too involved, and as an old colleague likes to remind me, I’m at risk for being #HoCoOverexposed, so it’s probably best if my blogging is a slow leak rather than a flood.

The Doodle Jump Award: Doodle Jump was a smartphone game from a few years ago where some guy (Doodle?) tried to reach some unattainable height by jumping from platform to platform. The winner of this award is Jessie Newburn, who in addition to organizing the internet for Howard County, is forever introducing us to new ways to slice and dice and present and tag and categorize and aggregate our local digital content. I’ve lost track of what the latest is but I’m pretty sure I heard a niner in there at some point.

The Shifting Sands Award: Julia McCready, who was not impressed with the county in November over Verona, but spent part of December defending the county over Blandair. Good news is that if you’re pissing someone off, you’re probably doing something right. If you’re pissing everyone off, well, either you’re doing it all right, or all wrong.

The Keep Your Heart Young Award: Bill Santos, for thoughtfully trying to keep Columbia young through his comprehensive series of posts and charts about our changing demographics. There is a war brewing, and bocce courts and tot lots in the crosshairs. (The title of this award is a shameless excuse to post this video:


The All We Are Saying Award: The Urban Bushwoman for giving the Verona sale a chance when everyone else was readying their pitchforks for a community meeting/airing of grievances. This post may or may not have helped me maintain a little sanity in November.

The Gloria Swanson Award: Marshmallow Man, for always being ready for his close-up. He should also get some kind of award for his daily sign-offs. There’s always something to celebrate, like National Pepper Pot Day yesterday!

The Bird is the Word Award: HoCoHouseHon for flipping the biggest finger of them all to the haughty writers of the Baltimore Sun for their snarky, anti-Columbia editorial in December.

I know I’m leaving a ton of people out and some of these are kinda meh, so that’s enough from me. Let’s be careful out there; let’s make Columbia awesome; let’s hear from you; let’s not take everything so seriously; and most importantly, let’s say goodbye to 2013 and leave it where it belongs.