Oct. 15, 2001: You know what this country needs right now?

We need some good old-fashioned awards. I don’t know about you, but for weeks I had eagerly anticipated the Emmy telecasts. I wanted to see who would win the coveted Most Commercials without Any Programming award (the Weather Channel was a lock for that one), and the Longest Running and Least Intelligent Program on Television. (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox all had strong contenders.) Now I find out that the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (an oxymoron, if ever there was one) has once again delayed the Emmys show, dropping us into a deep cultural abyss.

Leave it to your intrepid servant to fill the gap. Who needs the Emmys anyway? I have created a new and exciting series of awards, to be known here and forevermore as the Pffffts! As you no doubt recognize, the word “Pfffft!” is steeped in history and tradition. Long before Neanderthal man learned to say I things like “#*%!&” to express his frustration, he would put tongue between lips and blow. Thus, Pfffft! was born. Now, millennia later the term endures along with other ancient utterances like “You Have Mail,” “Would you like that super-sized?” and “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.” The Pffffts! are my way of recognizing deserving recipients.

The envelope, please.

It is appropriate that the very first Pfffft! goes to – who else? – Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. When New York mayor Rudy Guiliani refused $10 million from some Saudi prince who then proceeded to give the U.S. a verbal kick in the groin, McKinney –whose brain and tongue don’t always work simultaneously – “apologized” and magnanimously offered to take the money off his hands and give it to “black people.” Is she a great American, or what? I’m sure her defenders will say she is being pilloried because she is black. A Pfffft! for them, too.

Which reminds me that the Georgia Legislature deserves a special Pfffft! for a redistricting job that puts two rising Congressional stars, Jack Kingston of Brunswick and Saxby Chambliss of Albany, in the same district, only because they are Republican, and protects the likes of Cynthia McKinney, only because she is a Democrat. On second thought, I believe the Legislature has already given you and me a Pfffft! of their own. Please clip and save.

A special Pfffft! to my personal hero, Ted Turner. Mr. Turner surmised in a recent speech that the United States needs to be “more humble.” Turner said, “If you are rich and powerful, you better be nice and humble.” He should know a little bit about humility. His role at AOL/Time Warner/Looney Tunes has been reduced to fetching coffee and sweet rolls for the staff meetings.

In the world of sports, a Pfffft! to every college and pro athlete who makes a tackle, touchdown or basket and acts like it is the first time it has ever been done. Real winners don’t do that, and they don’t dance on the other team’s logo, either.

A Pfffft! to the health care industry. When your insurance company says you don’t need a referral to see the doctor but doesn’t tell the doctor’s office who doesn’t believe you because they haven’t heard from the insurance company who isn’t available because everybody is out to lunch and the doctor’s office frets that you might not pay the doctor who in turn can’t buy a new Mercedes every year anymore, the whole system needs an enema. Pfffft! on them all.

Oh, I almost forgot. A special Pfffft! to Osama bin Laden and anybody who even remotely excuses him and his band of thugs for what they have done to us. And a Pfffft! to the Taliban for treating women worse than dirt and an equal opportunity Pfffft! to the National Organization of Women for their reaction. On their Web site, NOW spends one paragraph on the Taliban’s oppression of women in a 20-paragraph release on humanitarian aid for female Afghan refugees. However, they did manage a seven-paragraph release on the “heroism” of Coming Out Day and 23 paragraphs on the number of women on the High Court in Nigeria.

Finally, I want to thank the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for giving me this opportunity to present these awards and for not making me endure some vapid actor thanking a bunch of people I’ve never heard of for a show not worth watching. Pfffft! on them, too.