Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Poopó Lake" and "Lake Titicaca"

Why oh why do they deny us the awesomeness? Or rather, why do they only mete out half-full glasses of it? I want my cup of awesomeness to run over.

Now, there's no use in complaining about Lake Titicaca. The lake, located in the mountains of Bolivia, is a God-send to lovers of awesome names everywhere. A schoolyard word for breasts and a schoolyard word for human waste stuck together: it couldn't be more awesome if it was called Lake Boobycrap. No matter your age, once you've stopped giggling at the name 'Lake Titicaca', you've stopped smiling at life. I think people who actually live on the shore of Lake Titicaca periodically still giggle at it: that's right, even people who know no English can giggle at the name Lake Titicaca. Its awesomeness cuts across linguistic bounds.

But what I don't understand is how I've gone this far in life without ever noticing that Lake Titicaca is just a few hundred kilometres northwest of Poopó Lake. However it's pronounced, I know exactly how I would have pronounced it if I had known of its existence as, say, a ten-year-old. Having both a Lake Titicaca and a Poopó Lake in the same country? Just how gifted is Bolivia?

Eternally is the ten-year-old within me jealous.

Incidentally, the picture above, swiped from Wikipedia, is apparently salt crystals in a footprint near Poopó Lake. No clue why that happens. Apparently there's fishing there, which is great, because "Fishing in Poopó Lake" is apparently the name of the Bloodhound Gang's new album. You can also go canoeing in Poopó Lake, though you might want to bring an extra oar or two. After all, you wouldn't want to be stuck in Poopó Lake without a paddle...

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Michael Hardie Boys"

So this is what it's like being me. I keep a whole bunch of blogs. Well, 'keep' is a poor term. I'm a bit undisciplined about it, really. But I slog away at a bunch, nonetheless. And that being the case, happy coincidences can occur. Like the one blog I'm writing about democracy in Canada that gets to talking about a former governor-general of Canada. The page I'm reading (which was very likely Wikipedia) quotes a recent governor-general of New Zealand. Since, you know, governors-general have a lot in common, whatever Commonweath realm they're from (and I wrote that sentence only to use that cool plural form 'governors-general').

So big deal, right? Except that this fellow happens to be names Michael Hardie Boys. Or rather "The Right Honourable Sir Michael Hardie Boys GNZM, GCMG, QSO, KStJ", whose business cards must be A4 sheets of paper.

So how awesome a name is that? Let us count the ways. Well, there's just one way actually - the fact that his surname happens to also be the name of a successful series of young adult mysteries. Before I got bored of adding them up, I'd counted some three hundred written over the past, oh, century or so. They include such not-overly-awesome titles as: "The Missing Chums", "What Happened at Midnight", "The Twisted Claw", "The Melted Coins", "The Secret of Wildcat Swamp", "The Mystery of the Chinese Junk", "Mystery of the Whale Tattoo", "The Bombay Boomerang", and "The Clue of the Hissing Serpent". Yeah sure, the books are spelt "H-A-R-D-Y", the burger joint is spelt "H-A-R-D-E-E", and this gentleman is spelt "H-A-R-D-I-E". But what's a minor spelling discrepancy in the service of awesomeness?

Michael Hardie Boys, incidentally, was Governor-General from 1996 to 2001. He was then replaced by The Right Honourable Nancy Drew.

A-ho ho ho.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Ho-Chunk Nation"

Sometimes I feel like I mention Native Americans too often. Recognising that First Nations have some awesome names is cool. Dwelling on it seems a bit patronising, though. But how to resist?

I mean, when there's a tribe in Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin called the 'Ho-Chunk' people? Let's take a minute to appreciate the awesomeness of 'Ho-Chunk'. Ah... Moving on, the Ho-Chunk were previously known as the 'Winnebago' people (relatively standard Plains-style name, but way cooler because the RV makers stole it). It turns out that 'Winnebago' means 'People of the Stinking Water', and the Ho-Chunk people didn't appreciate the connotation. Thus, because they found the common name unbecoming, they went with Ho-Chunk. 'This is a name', they said, 'that will restore our people's lost dignity...'

Apparently, 'Ho-Chunk', which is quite difficult to spell after all,can also be speltany of the following ways: Hocak, Hotanke, Houchugarra, Hotcangara, Ochungaraw, Ochungarah, Hochungra, Hochungara, and Ochangara. It might mean 'fish eaters' or 'the big fish people' or 'the big speech people'. Or, as the elders declare, 'the people of the sacred language'.

Blah. that's the least interesting one. That sacred language, incidentally, is also called 'Ho-Chunk'. You'll be pleased to know it can be written using the so-called 'Pa-Pe-Pi-Po syllabics'. Of course it can.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Shades of Death Road"

There are just so many roads and streets in the world that inevitably a good many will have interesting names. It's kind of a law-of-averages thing. In the particular case of this road, in rural New Jersey, the macabre nature of the road's name, the origin of which is not clear, has given it a certain amount of infamy. Tourists will travel along the street, much to the displeasure of locals, expecting something spooky to happen (or stealing the road sign). Locals, tired of replacing the road sign, refer to the street by the less interesting name of "Shades Road".

Inevitably, perhaps, certain tales and urban legends have indeed sprung up around the street. Many seem to involve highwaymen, lynching and other such items from America's recent past. Wikipedia reports on a curious event in which a series of hundreds of creepy Polaroid photographs of women were found scattered in the woods nearby.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Saskatchewan Roughriders" and "Ottawa Rough Riders"

2010 Grey Cup FestivitiesImage by Sangudo via FlickrI honour of Saskatchewan's loss in the Grey Cup last week, I present an oldie but a goody: the CFL. The Canadian Football League represents Canada in a way that few other Canadian insitutions ever will: rather hokey, definitely small-potatoes, and yet somehow carrying on year after year and never quite fading away into oblivion. I don't think that's praise exactly for the CFL, but it's if nothing else a fond recognition that, like the trains that used to run across this country, some Canadian traditions carry on long after people stop realising they're there...

I jest, mildly. For years, one of the best-known things about the CFL, particularly during its ill-fated jorney Down South, was the fact that in a league with only nine or so teams, two had almost exactly the same name. And a name that was/is, let's be honest, more than a little silly. Yes, I know, the two names were not exactly the same. Ottawa had - wate for it - a space between the 'rough' and the 'riders'. Saskatchewan didn't. Wikipedia tells me it's got to do with the fact that the two teams were for many years part of different conferences, which functioned almost like different leagues. Wikipedia also states that "the Ottawa team was named for the log rollers of the region's rivers while the Roughriders were named for an elite North-West Mounted Police corps of expert horsemen." None of which makes it any less silly.

Anyway, it's all in the past as the Ottawa team folded in 1996. In the intervening 14 years, Ottawa has managed to get, and then lose, a second team and is about to get a third. Perhaps they'll call themselves the "Argo Nauts".
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Amor de Cosmos"

Amor de CosmosImage via WikipediaAwesomeness is largely a question of context. Let me explain. At first appearance, by itself the name "Amor de Cosmos" is awesomeness-neutral. Just a name. Closer inspection indicates it appears to more-or-less roughly translate as 'lover of the universe', which ramps up its awesomeness points.

But the knowledge that it was an alias, made up by an anglo Canadian born with the exceedingly pedestrian name William Alexander Smith removes those awesomeness points. Learning that he had his name legally changed while living in California, where he'd gone to participate in the Gold Rush, however, brings back those points, because anything connected with the Gold Rush is awesome.

Then learning that de Cosmos came back to British North America and served as Premier of British Columbia, serving a little more than a year in that highest of offices with silly quasi-Spanish and Hippyesque name intact throws the awesomeness levels through the roof. It reminds me of a time when the west was maybe a bit wilder than it currently is. And it could perhaps remind the beleaguered Gordon Campbell, upon his departure, that the office he's currently abandoning has been held by colourful people in the past.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump"

Might as well just leap right in with an explanation. A 'buffalo jump' is a small cliff-like natural formation on the plains. Buffalo being a herd animal, they rather famously like to stomp across the plains in stampedes. In pre-Columbian times, several Plains Indians tribes would attempt to divert a buffalo stampede so that the animals would, en masse, run off the cliff, breaking their legs and rendering them easy victims for hunters. So a buffalo jump was a place where you could make buffalo jump, to their (indirect) death.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is such a buffalo jump, located in Alberta. The Blackfoot name for the site, now a UNESCO-protected heritage site, is Estipah-skikikini-kots, definitely an awesome name all by itself, particularly that middle bit. Apparently it refers to some Blackfoot person who was too eager to see the buffalo jump at work and decided (stupid, stupid man) to go under it and look up. He obviously got his head smashed in, and instead of calling it "Idiot-Looking-Up Buffalo Jump", they went for the more poetic "Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump".

So now you know how one of the coolest place names ever got its name.

Incidentally, the Blackfoot people could also be here on this very list. The first time I'd ever heard the word 'Blackfoot' was when I was a Cub Scout, and there were sew-on badges you could get saying "Je parle francais", "Ich spreche Deutch", etc. One was for Blackfoot, and I can remember confusedly asking my Cub Scout leader what on earth 'I speak Blackfoot' was meant to mean. He looked at the catalogue I was reading from, squinted his eyes a bit, then sagely concluded, "I guess it's a language." I thought it was just about the weirdest name possible. Still do.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"$#*! My Dad Says"

Have you ever seen Gordon Ramsey on television? Well, I don't know what it's like in Britain, where (a) he's from, and (b) broadcast regulations are a bit less silly. I have seen some of his programmes here in Canada, broadcast either on local channels or on American channels whose feeds we get up here. And inevitably it's the same thing: a torrent of beeps imposed by the network over top of whatever string of invective Ramsey is carrying on about. After all, that's why you watch Gordon Ramsey, right? Not to learn about cooking or restaurant service or about exotic foods of the world: you watch Gordon Ramsey programmes to watch Gordon Ramsey swear. That's the sole reason.

So that being the case, American networks air him (and several of his programmes are, I believe but can't be bothered to confirm, American-made) knowing (a) he'll swear like a sailor, and (b) people will tune in for that reason. This being the case, there is an inherent ridiculousness in the barrage of bleeps. It'd be like launching a porn site where all the activity is hidden behind black bars. It's not like a news broadcast, where the network has to balance its own standards and sensitivities with the reality of 'outsourcing' its soundbites: if a witness drops a few f-bombs while describing the plane crash he witnessed, what is the network to do? Ask him to speak again but keep his language clean? Obvously a censor needs a beep-button. But in the case of Gordon Ramsey (or a million other examples, particularly on so-called 'reality' programmes), the people in question are employed by the production company, are contracted to them. If you don't want to air dirty words, ask your on-air personalities not to say them. Or if you want to show your on-air personalities to be short-fused potty-mouths, then grow up and play the words unbeeped. It's just common sense.

Make no mistake, the TV show "$#*! My Dad Says" does not have an awesome name. It's not a good name or even a 'meh' name. It's a god-awful name. What drives me crazy about it is the following: if you've decided that you want to name a TV show after a Twitter account (and that in itself is a strange thing), and if the name of the Twitter account happens to include a four-letter-word in it, there are really only two possibilities as I see it: (1) include the four-letter-word in your title, damn the consequences (i.e. grow up and accept that a word is just a word) or (2) change the damn name of your show. In other words, either $#*! or get off the pot.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Sukarno" and "Suharto"

Suharto was the military president of Indonesi...Image via WikipediaLindsay Lohan recently filed a law suit against E-Trade, a company I know nothing about whatsoever, over allegations that their baby-featuring ads that made reference to a 'milkaholic' known as Lindsay, defamed her. She claimed that she had 'first-name recognition', like Cher or Madonna. Among other things, I'd consider those spectacularly poor examples since they intentionally use only their first names as stage names, something Ms. Lohan does not do. "Britney" or "Angelina" would have been much better examples, were the whole thing not a boat-load of nonsense. Which it, however, is.
Had Lindsay Lohan been an expert in Indonesian history (I do not claim that she is not an expert in Indonesian history, merely that I've never seen her discuss it), she might have focused on the Asian archipelago's first two presidents, Sukarno and Suharto.
Bad-ass these two are for undoubtedly different reasons - Suharto was bad-ass enough to be a dictator for over thirty years. The fact is that these two individuals are bad-ass enough not to have any surnames at all. Unlike, say, Madonna, who probably carries a passport with the name Ciccone on it, the first two presidents of the fourth-most-populous country weren't hiding their surnames. They merely didn't have any at all. This seems to be something endemic to Indonesian culture, and is inevitably way too confusing for my feeble mind to comprehend, as many other Indonesian politicians have more than one name, though several others also sport the mononym (I don't know if that's an actual word or not, but it ought to be). Sukarno's daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri, for example, appears to have a surname. Or perhaps not, actually, according to her page at Wikipedia, which calls her in full Diah Permata Megawati Setiawati Sukarnoputri. Although this litany of names apparently still does not include a surname, it is undoubtedly an awesome name in and of itself, one that overcompensates her father's relative namelessness. "Megawati", in other circumstances a measurement of power, is definitely a cool name. It apparently means "she who has a cloud" (n.b. awesome) and refers to the fact that it was raining when she was born.
The greatest find in the annals of stylishly-monikered Indonesian power, though, is this: Sukarno, who Wikipedia tells me Indonesians also remember as "Bung Karno" or "Pak Karno" (n.b. awesome), was born Kusno Sosrodihardjo, but was renamed after surviving a childhood illness. The extent to which, as a non-Indonesian, this makes no sense whatsoever to me is equalled only by the extent to which it is more awesome than chocolate pudding.
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Comet Hale-Bopp"

To be honest, the only reason this comet makes it on the list is because of the awesome surname of the second discoverer after whom it's named. Thomas Bopp has a pretty interesting Wikipedia page, but suffice it to say that he has an awesome name. One that Poison were perhaps referring to with their top-ten hit "Unskinny Bop".

Yes, I concede that that's the most obscure reference in the history of obscure references. Even Dennis Miller would shake his head.

Anyway, Mr Bopp gave his name to the comet that caused a bunch of cultists to kill themselves, and the world was given the cool name "Hale-Bopp". That beats "Kohoutek" for 'cool comet names', but faces steep competition from "Whipple", "Väisälä", "Swift-Tuttle", "Hug-Bell", "Miss Mitchell's Comet" and "de Kock-Paraskevopoulos".

The competition for cool comet names is a fierce one. Who knew?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Compendium of Rather Rude Place Names

The number of communities in the world with awesome names is endless. Putting minds properly gutter-wise, I decided to concentrate on the giggle-worthy ones. Here's a decently long list, illustrated with signs from the communities. I guess I should warn that it's perhaps NSFW, though there's not much I can do about that. These are the proper names, after all.

The infamous community of Dildo, Newfoundland. Nearby, there's also a 'Dildo Island' and a 'Dildo Arm'.

Intercourse, which is in Pennsylvania. Population 1,558. Witness was filmed there.

Knob Lick, Missouri. Where Witness wasn't filmed.

This delightful name shows up on a lot of these lists, including the book Rude Britain - which suggests it's in the UK. Can't tell you much more than that, though.

This lovely place, which so many men have been looking for, is in Savoie. Which is in France. Apparently the name comes from the Gallo-Roman name "Pusiacum", which is in no way any less funny.

Anus is also in France. Not that near the one before it, as it turns out, but in Burgundy. And 'Anus in Burgundy' should most definitely be the name of a work of art.

Here's Muff, in County Donegal, Ireland. It's a suburb of Derry, a/k/a Londonderry, which is kinda in a different country.

There's no real point in spending too long in the UK, as Rude Britain has done the job well. How can you say no to Penistone, though? It's pronounced to rhyme with Jennifer Aniston, though - or, if you prefer, with Cece Peniston. And with 10,000 dwellers, it's probably the biggest community here.

This fine locale is in Bavaria. There is a building there called "Wank-Haus", whose picture I desperately wanted to include. But why break the trend?

This popular destination is in Orkney, where people like to pose with the sign pointing to them. People are self-effacing and oh-so-clever.

This charming community in the Philippines seems to have changed its name to the less enjoyable 'Sasmuan', which probably really bugged that guy in the orange jacket.

There are three different states in the USA that have a Climax: Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania (where Intercourse also is, of course). Now 'climax' is not only a naughty word. Novels, for example, have climaxes. But that's not what you think of when you see this name, is it?

For reference purposes, for those who haven't been able to figure it out for themselves:,+PA,+United+States&daddr=Climax,+PA,+United+States&hl=en&geocode=FeDsYgIdB7t2-ym7G_rMtDjGiTFs3nTVfH4VqQ%3BFUU7aAIdGqlI-ynXsNXQQDnLiTEc41kMQyeN5Q&mra=ls&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.02306,79.013672&ie=UTF8&z=8 is a map from Intercourse to Climax. It apparently takes 3 hours 48 minutes, and Google Maps advises whet everyone else already knows: This route has tolls.

A few street names? This chaste place is in Amber Valley, UK.

I've already devoted an entire entry to this one, but it's too good to ignore.

How can I possibly give up fair England, home to places like this? 'Fanny' means different things on either side of 'the pond', but it's even naughtier in the UK.

Charming one here. Don't know where it is, though I can at least say it looks North American.

This awkward one is a train station in Toronto. Viagra strikes again.

This horrifying one is in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. No idea what was going on in that community when they were naming streets.

This one is on the Busch Campus of Rutgers University, in New Jersey. It's just off Hoes Lane, which proves the whole area was named by drunk fratboys.

This one is in Hong Kong, where the obvious fact that this is a transliteration from Chinese makes it no less awesome.

Who am I kidding? How can I ignore the English, when they keep producing things like this one, in Besthorpe, Norfolk?

And lastly, where would I be if I missed out on this town in Austria, king of rude names, illustrated here with pictures of children. Because things are different in Austria.

I did remind you it was NSFW.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Image via Wikipedia
I have to admit I've never seen Blade Runner. Something about its fans turns me off, frankly. I don't know what it is. Generally Science Fiction just isn't my thing, and Science Fiction in the 1980s has all of the cheese with none of the kitsch of the 60s variety. So I don't know the plot of this book, since I presume that the only people who know the plot of this book know it from the movie.

The book was written by Philip K. Dick, who may one day get a listing here, alongside Jacque Tits. Before that, though, we have the book, whose name is not as run-of-the-mill as 'Blade Runner' (gofor in an abbatoir?) but has the much more interesting name "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

I don't know the answer to the question posed. I don't know what the logic is behind it (I connected it with 'counting sheep' but I now realise that that's a gambit for falling asleep and nothing to do with dreams at all). I don't really want to know, because I like the title as a slightly poetic piece of nonsense, like Noam Chomsky's famous 'grammatically-correct-but-meaningles sentence' "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously". That'd be a good name for a book too.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Salman Butt"

So I'm sitting at home with my wife last week. There's something or other on TV, and she gets bored by it and decides to turn on BBC World News. I ask her why, and she says she wants to see what's on the news. I say, 'yeah, but why the BBC? Why not something local?' She tells me she wants to see world news. I tell her that the local channels show world news too, they just don't show cricket news. And to prove my point, suddenly they're talking about cricket. But... there's method in my wife's madness, for it turns out it's actually some kind of cricket scandal. I was trying to be interested (and failing), until suddenly my ears perked up at one salient fact: one of the players in the scandal was named Salman Butt.

Let's stop and consider that for a moment. (1) Just how similar is it to the Bart Simpson phone prank "Seymour Butts"? (2) Just how cool is it that in Urdu his name is "سلمان بٹ", which just looks awesome (as anything in the Arabic alphabet by default does)? (3) Just how well does hus name go with Philip K. Dick, Ed Balls and Jacques Tits, each of whom have appeared in these pages? The four of them should open a law firm together.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Disko Island"

Village of Queqertarsuaq on Disko Island, Gree...Image via WikipediaWon't you take me to Funkytown? No? Well, that's okay. Too mainstream for me. I'd rather go somewhere a bit more remote, though equally funky.

What about Greenland? More to the point, what about a tiny island in western Greenland? And by 'tiny', I actually mean 'ridiculously huge, though looking tiny on a map of Greenland'. Greenland's not a small place.

While most Greenlandic places have both Danish and Kalaallisut names, and while the latter are frequently as cool as the language name itself (wasn't that Superman's Kryptonian name?), in this case Qeqertarsuaq pales next to the island's Dutch name (or rather it's English name): Disko Island.

How can there be no albums out there with that name? No dance clubs? It's just way too awesome. "I live on Disko Island... baby". Never mind that there's only 1100 people there, all of them Inuit, and that it's as glamorous as the picture that illustrates this article. It doesn't matter: funky is a state of mind, and those thousand-plus Inuit are funky in ways you've never dreamed of.
After all, they live on Disko Island...
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Brown Booby"

Brown Booby, the commonest of the boobies alon...Image via WikipediaOnce you're down in the gutter, it's tough to get yourself back out... so after last week's math whiz, we've got a bird this time. I think that most people are aware that there are a handful (huh huh... handful) of birds out there with rather silly names. And when it comes to this particular genus, really all 'boobies' are equally silly. Knowing there's a group of birds called the 'booby' ought to have been enough. I mean, in addition to breasts, there's just so much silly about the word 'booby' (not to imply that breasts are silly, mind you) - and that includes booby-traps and booby-prizes. The other boobies in this genus are also impressive. i suppose I could have devoted a page to Abbott's Booby or the Masked Booby. Or I could have just pointed you to the totally awesome "Category: Boobies" page at Wikipedia. But perhaps it's the alliteration. Perhaps it's the Vincent Gallo movie. I just know that "Brown Booby" makes me giggle more than any of those other names. And that's impressive.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Jacques Tits"

Jacques TitsImage via Wikipedia
So first off let me apologise for my tragically long absence. I'd intended to keep this going every week, but... well, you know how it is. Anyway, at the risk of falling too deep into sophomoric humour... ah, forget about it. I can't do this week's edition without falling into sophomoric humour. You see, it's about Mr. Tits. or rather Monsieur Tits, a Belgian / French mathematician with a truly awesome name.

I understand precisely zero about any kind of mathematics more complex than division. So although certainly Jacques Tits's contributions to modern life extend further than a giggle-worthy name, the advancements for which he's credited must certainly elicit plenty of snorts on campuses around the world. Unless math students are a truly humourless bunch. To start with, M. Tits is credited with inventing the concept of Tits buildings, which are presumaby erected (ho ho he he) in parts of cities where I would dearly love to live. I'd love to make a hugle list of puns about Tits buildings, but it's rfeally shooting fish in a barrel, isn't it? Truly unfair to those struggling to find a pun-worthy subject.

He's also known for the Tits alternative, something FTM transsexuals have long debated. And additionally, it would appear that the Tits group is named for him. Not in fact a company in which I'd love to have shares (headquartered no doubt in a Tits building), a Tits group is, apparently,

a2 = b3 = (ab)13 = [a,b]5 = [a,bab]4 = (ababababab − 1)6 = 1.

As you were no doubt aware.

Note: I'd like to include some links here, but Zemanta's mind is way dirtier than mine, and all of the links, while clearly sharing in their titles our esteemed professor's surname, seem to have interests in mind more prurient than math. The autosuggested labels for this entry include 'Katy Perry', 'Rihanna', 'Rosa Acosta' and (interestingly) 'Ellen'. This entry is probably going to get my blog autolisted on NSFW sites everywhere. Sigh. Monsieur Tits, this is all your fault.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Fresh Kills"

A flock feeding at a garbage dumpImage via Wikipedia
Ah, good old New York City... so tell-it-like-it is... I'm so enchanted with the notion that calling the world's biggest garbage dump 'Fresh Kills' is a vivid reminder of just how gruesome a garbage dump is that I'm tempted not to care about the rather more innocent reality behind this striking name. You really do have to admit that 'Fresh Kills' is an awesome name for just about anything, really, but a double-plus-awesome name for a huge garbage dump. Like I say, the story might as well just end here.

As it is, however, the story carries on. Fresh Kills, decommissioned as a garbage dump and now apparently about to be turned into a park (thus showing the new New York, which artificially plasters over its authentic ugliness with astroturf) is named for the stream 'Fresh Kills'. And that comes from Dutch, where kille means 'waterbed'. So it's just a boring multilingual geographical description. Well pooh.

Oh, and Fresh Kills flows into Arthur Kill. Which, in other circumstances, would be a super-awesome name too. Here, though, its coolness dwarfs by comparion.
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