Saturday, January 23, 2010

From the Great State of (Um, Let Me Check my Notes...)

I used to have fantasies of sitting under the light before a Congressional committee and saying, "but I ask you, Senator Mundt, just what is the point of South Dakota anyway?"

From Neil Freeman (via James Fallows), comes now an attempt to answer that question, sorta,

I love the concept, and some of the names are good, too. I am tucked snugly into "Willamette," which suits my tastes rather better than mere "California" (yes, I suppose "Euphoria" would have been okay). I was born in "Northern New England" which works for me as a concept--but as a name? Eeuw, these people are more imaginative than that. How about "Franconia," after the notch, or "Green Mountain," or, as it is known in some circles, "Vermont?"

Others are not so felicitious. "Rocky Mountain High" is an ice cream (or is it a soda pop?) and Sohio is, or was, a gasoline. Ar-kansas is too cute. "Baltimore-Washington" is just a failure of imagination, though I grant it is a difficulty that "Wabash" is taken.

Other are more puzzling. What's the "Delta" doing tucked up under New Madrid Bend? I really don't get "Sabine" or "Pamlico" at all, although this may be just a geographical deficiency on my part. If "St. Croix," why just "Joaquin?" "Washlaska" and "Michiana" strike me as failures of nerve, although they do recall my days in Louisville on the Ohio River. One disk jockey liked to call it "Kentuckiana," while another preferred just "Indianucky."


humble biped said...

The Delta is a region of northern Mississippi, best known as the home of Blues music. Sabine, Pamlico and St. Croix are all rivers - there's a long tradition of names regions after rivers in North America. Michiana is current use by residents of the Michigan-Indiana border area. 'Sohio' may have been an oil company, but it's a nice portmanteau of South Ohio. Moreover, both Arizona and Indiana were partially popularized by companies.

Anonymous said...

Why is it we still end up with "Missouri"?