You like me. You really like me.

“I think you’re both going to be insufferably pleased with yourselves for at least a month—sir.”
—Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock

This Place takes a brief detour from its normal programming for a small announcement, some self-serving gloating and a well-deserved “I told you so.”

Doubtless, frequent visitors here will either rejoice in—or lament—the news du jour. Right Hook has been awarded the coveted “Best” award in its catergory in the Nevada Press Association Better Newspaper Contest: first place, best local non-staff column, class V.

For those of you in the bleacher seats, allow me to explain the “Non-staff” reference. I am freelance talent. That is to say, I’m not an employee of this publication. Said another way, “the ideas and opinions expressed herein belong to your Host and not the newspaper, its editors, reporters or journalists.”

Now, if I understand the Nevada Press Association awards correctly, this is the Silver State’s version of the “Oscars” for journalism. (So I guess mine is the equivalent of an Oscar for best costume design or some such obscure category.)

At my age, I don’t get too worked up over awards, but considering the association represents eight daily and 33 weekly newspapers in Nevada, I figure I had some pretty stiff competition. My own section, Class V, is for weekly newspapers of more than 20,000 in circulation. However, my ego really doesn’t need any more reasons to stay over-inflated. I’ll borrow a line from Sally Field’s 1985 academy award acceptance speech: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

More to the point, however, this should—once and for all—put an end to the question some conservatively-challenged readers have repeatedly asked: Is your Host really the best the editors could find for this particular column?

In light of the aforementioned award, may I suggest the answer to said question is now abundantly clear. (And I told you so.)

So, allow me to take one moment to officially thank those who have recognized my genius. First, I’d like to thank the Nevada Press Association. (This is really pretty cool and completely unexpected.) Next, I’d like to recognize my family, particularly both Mrs. Right Hook and Hook’s mother who’ve had to endure—and in some cases actually defend—their continued familial ties with your Host to some readers who happened to make a connection between their surname and This Place.

Also, and at the specific risk of looking like a total suck up, I’d like to thank editor D. Brian Burghart for giving me a shot. I figured this Place would meet some resistance from the conservatively-challenged crowd, and I know he took some flak for it. And God knows I haven’t made it easy on him, given my learning curve, complete ignorance of journalism and shall we say, ah, my combative nature and writing style?

So credit must be given where credit is due. The man somehow gets a newspaper out every week. (Actually, as long as we’re on the subject of salary negotiations …)

Finally, I’d like to thank the readers in the peanut gallery for your continued support—particularly you right thinkers, but nothing says you have to agree with any (or all) of the comments made herein.

And recognize I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, which perhaps brings us back to Mr. Spock’s correct assessment of the situation.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.