November 12, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Celebrating the best things in our community is a very good thing. In fact, it is better than good by definition. It is the best. Yes, it is beyond the comparative. It is superlative.

(Thanks, and a “Best Of” sticker to Sister Rose Agnes, the best grammar teacher I ever had, who taught me all about that good, better, best stuff.)

Obviously, in this issue, Omaha Magazine recognizes the superlative achievements of businesses across the metroplex—the Best of the Best.

Which reminds me, whatever happened to Pete Best? And while we’re on the subject of Best as a surname, do you realize there are 159 people named “Best” in the Omaha phone book? Why don’t we ever recognize them as some of the “Best in Omaha?” There are so many “Bests” in the world.

Ahmed Best, an American actor, got his big break from George Lucas when he was hired for Chapter One of the Star Wars saga. Unfortunately the part he got was performing the voice of Jar Jar Binks. Never in the history of the American cinema has a character been so pilloried. Audiences were almost unanimous in their dislike of the odd, shuffling, alien caricature. Sadly, instead of blaming Lucas they blamed Ahmed and nearly drove him to suicide. Fortunately he got through the trauma, and I hereby give him an honorary “Best Bad Star Wars Character Ever” award. It’s a case where being the “Worst” turns out to be a “Best.”

C.L. Best was the founder of the C.L. Best Gas Traction Co. Many people ask “Who?” or “What?” He later changed the name of the firm to Caterpillar. That’s pretty cool. One of the Best things you can do on a sunny afternoon is watch a big earthmoving machine level a lot or knock over an eyesore. Am I right?  Thanks, C.L.  You’re one of the Best.

Edna Best was a British actress who did a few notable films, including Hitchcock’s original The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Edna had the Best Wedding Ever, her third. She was granted a divorce from her second husband in a Las Vegas courtroom and then married to her third by the same judge, in the same courtroom, five minutes later. You have to admire her moxie.

Skeeter Best was a great jazz guitarist back in the day. He worked with Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, and Etta Jones. He holds the title of “Best Nickname For A Guy Named Best.”

But the Best of the Bests was probably William Best, First Baron Wynford, who was Speaker of the House of Lords in the early 19th century. Lord Best suffered from a bad case of gout and thus, was carried into the chamber by four servants, as he remained seated in a large armchair, because it is good to be king, but it is better to be Lord Best.

Here’s to the Bests, in Omaha and beyond.  

Now, let’s be the best we can be to one another. 

View the full list of 2019 Best of Omaha winners here: http://omahamagazine.com/articles/best-of-omaha-2019/


Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.