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the Twin Cities

BEST GADFLY

Ed Morrissey

According to the American Heritage dictionary, a gadfly is one of three things: "A persistent irritating critic; someone who acts as a provocative stimulus; or one of an array of various flies that bite or annoy livestock and other animals." So far as we know, Morrissey does not harass cattle. On the other two counts, though, he meets the definition to a T. Captain's Quarters, the political blog Morrissey has operated since 2003, can be a tiring read. It is chock full of predictable right-of-center talking points and, like most political blogs, is stained by its tone of chronic indignation. But if nothing else, Captain Ed—as he calls himself—is one persistent fellow. And per the definition, he certainly is willing to act as "a provocative stimulus." Just ask Paul Martin, the former prime minister of Canada whose long-ruling Liberal Party was ousted in the January elections. Martin's defeat, it is widely acknowledged, came in part due to Morrissey's tireless blogging on the subject of a kickback scandal involving Montreal ad firms with government contracts. How, you ask, could a middle-aged call-center manager from Eagan out-compete the Canadian media on such a matter? To understand that, you need to recognize the peculiarities of press restrictions in Canada, where media outlets were barred from reporting on the continuing investigation. Supplied with a steady stream of information from a Canadian citizen who attended the court hearings in Ottawa, Captain Ed faced no such constraints. Not long after he began publishing the particulars, hundreds of thousands of Canadians were soon visiting Morrissey's blog for updates. Why did Morrissey feel compelled to weigh in on clean government issues in Canada? Because he's a gadfly, that's why. And an effective one at that.

BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER House of Mercy

BEST ACTOR (FEMALE)

BEST ACTOR (MALE) Bob Malos

BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY T.D. Mischke

BEST APPLE ORCHARD Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard

BEST ARCHITECTURAL RENOVATION OF AN OLD BUILDING Franklin Community Library

BEST ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE Art+Architecture

BEST AREA PREMIERE Take Me Out

BEST BAR YOU CAN SMOKE IN Al's

BEST BARISTA Espresso Royale

BEST BARTENDER Michel Bechara

BEST BEACH Lake Harriet

BEST BIKE TRAIL Elm Creek Park Reserve

BEST BLOG (LEFT-WING) Minvolved

BEST BLOG (PERSONAL) Driver2165

BEST BLOG (RIGHT-WING) Nihilist in Golf Pants

BEST BLOG (SPECIALTY) MN Beer

BEST BOONDOGGLE

BEST BOWLING ALLEY Elsie's Bowling Center

BEST BOXER Jason Litzau

BEST BROKEN PROMISE

BEST CAREER MOVE Kirby Puckett

BEST CHARITY Minnesota AIDS Project

BEST CHEAP THRILL Meth

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER Uri Sands

BEST CLUB DJ Karl Frankowski And Jeff Dubois

BEST COACH John Gagliardi

BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE Cole Konrad

BEST COLUMNIST Katherine Kersten

BEST COMMUNITY-BUILDING CAFE LoTo - CLOSED

BEST CORPORATE CITIZEN Kevin Garnett

BEST CRIMINAL Joshua Gardner

BEST DANCER Mary Ann Bradley

BEST DAY TRIP Winona Sugarloaf

BEST DIRECTOR Peter Rothstein

BEST FISHING HOLE Northeast Tip of Pike Island

BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY Dan Donovan

BEST GAY BAR, BEST LESBIAN BAR The Town House

BEST GOLF COURSE Inver Wood Golf Course

BEST GYM YWCA

BEST HELLRAISER OR ACTIVIST GROUP Communities United Against Police Brutality

BEST HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE Tayler Hill

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST I Self Devine

BEST HIP-HOP DJ Willy Lose

BEST JAZZ ARTIST Phil Hey

BEST LIBRARY Minneapolis Central Library

BEST LIVE ARTIST Birthday Suits

BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD Dean Zimmerman

BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD Dante Culpepper

BEST LOCAL CHEF Tim McKee

BEST LOCAL GIRL GONE BAD Nicole Helget

BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD Nicole Helget

BEST LOFT OR CONDO PROJECT Le Parisien Flats and Marketplace

BEST LYNX PLAYER Nicole Ohlde

BEST MAKEOVER OF A TV PERSONALITY Cyndy Brucato

BEST MAYOR Randy Kelly

BEST NEW NAME FOR COON RAPIDS

BEST OPEN BAR/PATIO The Liffey

BEST PICNIC SPOT Prospect Park Water Tower's observation deck

BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE Bryant-Lake Bowl

BEST PLACE TO BIRD-WATCH Avery's Sandhill

BEST PLACE TO CANOE St. Croix River

BEST PLACE TO DROP OFF YOUR KID FOR A WHILE Ikea

BEST PLACE TO DUMP SOMEONE Movie Theatres

BEST PLACE TO GET DUMPED Mall of America

BEST PLACE TO GET LOST WHILE RUNNING ERRANDS Bauer Brothers Salvage

BEST PLACE TO HIKE Interstate State Park

BEST PLACE TO ICE SKATE Centennial Lakes Park And Putting Course

BEST PLACE TO JOG

BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE University-Minnesota Dance

BEST PLACE TO MEET GAY FAMILIES Rainbow Families

BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL Fat Boy Billiards

BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT OF TOWN GUESTS Minnehaha Park and Falls

BEST PLACE TO WASTE TIME PRODUCTIVELY Minnesota Historical Society Library

BEST POLITICIAN Mike Hatch

BEST PUBLIC PARK Fort Snelling State Park

BEST PUBLIC RESTROOM Ike's Food & Cocktails

BEST R&B ARTIST Mick Sterling

BEST REASON NOT TO MOVE TO THE 'BURBS

BEST ROMANTIC BIKE RIDE Midtown Greenway

BEST SIGN OF SPRING

BEST SIGNAGE Murray's Restaurant And Cocktail Lounge

BEST SONGWRITER P.O.S.

BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST Dan Barreiro

BEST STATE FAIR ATTRACTION 4-H Competition

BEST STRIP CLUB The Double Deuce

BEST SUBURBAN LAKE AREA Square Lake Park

BEST TENNIS COURTS Bassett Creek Park

BEST THUNDER PLAYER Brett Branan

BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER Kevin Garnett

BEST TV NEWSCASTER Julie Nelson

BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR Eric Perkins

BEST TV WEATHERPERSON Paul Douglas

BEST TWINS PLAYER Carlos Silva

BEST VILLAIN Tim Pawlenty

BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE)

BEST VOCALIST (MALE) Robert Robinson's

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY Superior Hiking Trail