The People's Voice Ridiculous Town Name Contest was an immediate success, with entries pouring in from all over the world. If I could only figure out how to make money off something like this I'd be Simon Cowell, minus the too-tight black shirt.
There were so many great entries I don't even know what to do with them all. Below are some of the best. We'll have more next week and, of course, crown the champion.
For those new to the game, the contest is simple. It stems from a column written about tiny Canadian hockey towns such as Moose Factory, Ontario ("Fired up in Moose Factory" May 14, 2004). Send in no more than two ridiculous town names to be considered. The winner will get international renown in this space.
The early favorite was Bob Bishop of Toronto, who submitted Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta.
But the contest is far from decided, as you'll see. So continue sending entries; the final buzzer isn't until next week.
By the way, we have some more information concerning Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. This web site – www.head-smashed-in.com – features historical information and a rather funny computer animation of Buffalo jumping off a cliff.
And oh yes, we have some feedback on Gene Fisher and the World Series of Poker (including an update on his performance).
Your submissions in plain text and my comments in italics, as always.
Now on to the People's Voice. …
The People's Voice Ridiculous Town Name Contest
It's a town in Wales and its name translates as "The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave."
This certainly is a top contender. And yes, this is a real town in Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom. It is certainly the dumbest name I have ever heard, basically an unpronounceable jumble of letters. Supposedly a 19th century cobbler named it and the town has lived off the tourism of its foolish name ever since. But this is the strength of the candidacy for Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales. It is truly ridiculous. In fact, I don't know if you could possibly come up with a more ridiculous name.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is certainly a great name, but is it more ridiculous than this? I am interested in readers' opinions on this.
I think Humptulips, Washington, should go down as one of the all time great names for a city. It brings things to mind that are sick and wrong, but that's what I think makes it so funny.
As long as it is consensual between an adult and a fully bloomed tulip, who am I to judge?
In response to your challenge of finding interesting town names, I submit this to you. Way back when I was a young lad, I remember reading in one of my Sports Illustrated for Kids that a tiny village in Montana (that was barely even on the map) renamed itself Joe in tribute to some athlete, whose name escapes me. Alas, I could not find any confirmation of said village, which means the town has either:
A) not achieved Google-worthy status yet, or
B) Sports Illustrated for Kids lied to me for a good portion of my youth.
Anyways, if you have better luck than I in proving the existence of Joe, Montana, I believe it warrants mentioning.
SI for Kids did not lie, you just made a critical error … using that Google thing. If you want to really find stuff out you have to search with Yahoo! Then you'd find that in 1993, for the sake of tourism, the town of Ismay, Montana (population 22), changed its name to Joe, Montana. Some of the residents then attended a Kansas City Chiefs game and got to meet the real Joe Montana. These days the town goes by both names.
Medicine Lodge, Kansas – I was born there. It is located in south central Kansas, about 20 miles from the Okie border. It was named by the Native Americans tribes for the water that runs in the Medicine River. The medicine men would come to the river to heal their tribesmen.
This probably won't win but you have to like a letter from "The Little Apple."
Cut N Shoot, Texas. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
I've always wondered what it was like growing up in Truth or Consequences. It sounds so foreboding. As a kid do you dare lie?
There is a town called Big Lick in both Virginia and North Carolina! I'm not sure about this, but I think it has something to do with a salt lick (used by deer?).
Ken Samoil of Princeton, New Jersey also sent in Lizard Lick, North Carolina. We found out about "Licks" last fall when we commented in a column about the never-ending (if albeit juvenile) humor that Kentucky's Big Bone Lick State Park provides bored motorists on Interstate 75. A Lick is an old name for a natural spring.
See, you learned something here. And your boss thinks you are just screwing around on the Internet reading wiseass columns.
Does it get any better than Intercourse and Paradise, Pennsylvania? Especially since they are close together.
Two Egg, Fla.
Too bad we don't have any states named omelet
Big Ugly, West Virginia always makes for great headline copy.
Reminds me of a blind date I had once.
Round O, South Carolina, or Hopeyoulikeit, Georgia. There are many other place names in the South like those two. The South is competitive with the Canadians. Believe it.
My "city name" nomination is the scenic burg of St. Louis du Ha-Ha, in New Brunswick.
Ian M. Sirota
Cherry Hill, N.J.
I grew up halfway between the towns of Bootjack and Hornitos, California. A bootjack is a big wooden fork with which cowboys take their boots off. Occasionally, boot and foot become stuck in the contraption causing ruptured tendons and/or cowboys falling down. Alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of the falling down part.
A Hornitos is a … actually, I have no idea what in the hell it is. Perhaps it is five appendages of a sexually aroused foot.
In regards to your Silly City Name contest, are you familiar with Punkydoodles Corners? Not sure it's incorporated, and the term "hamlet" might just be a bit grandiose for it, but it exists. Not far from here, near New Hamburg, Ontario.
My vote for weirdest town names would have to go to Maggie's Nipples, Wyoming, followed by Unalaska, Alaska. I haven't lived in either place but have driven through Maggie's Nipples and have flown to Unalaska.
Climax Springs, Missouri. My mom went to high school there in the 1930's and the town still exists. A sign on highway 54 reads "Climax 1 Mile."
Uncertain, Texas (Is this where "Dubya" is from?).
I have two silly names: Toad Suck, Arkansas, and Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky. (I knew someone who moved to Possum Trot, but that's just not as good.)
It is truly stiff competition when Possum Trot isn't good enough.
There is a town outside of Las Vegas called "Zzyzx." Really, that is the name. I just drove by it last week.
Santa Monica, Calif.
I did a little research. The town is in California, near the Mojave Desert. It is pronounced to rhyme with "Isaacs." A guy named Dr. Springer founded it in the early 1900s and opened a health resort there. He used the crazy name to attract attention. His problem was he boldly built his resort on land he didn't own and eventually was evicted. Biologists now use the resort to study the desert.
Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. The name is said to have originated during the flood of 1847 when the abundant local rabbit population was driven to higher ground and became a food staple in a special stew called "hash." Little documented history of Rabbit Hash actually survives, primarily because devastating Ohio River floods in 1884, 1913 and 1937 deluged the little town and ruined many records.
Bad Axe, Michigan. How cool would it be to be able to say you were from this place? Named when the founder found an old, worn down axe in the abandoned hunter's cabin he settled the town around.
Great idea for a column.
I don't think the teams at Bad Axe High School (if there is one) should have a nickname. They don't need one. Simply being Bad Axe is enough.
Anybody that's been in Ector County will tell you that Notrees, Texas, isn't funny so much as an accurate description.
Got two bizarre town names for you, both in M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I:
1) Hot Coffee,
San Diego, Calif.
Why Not? How about …
There is a small town in the southern Arizona desert named Why. Legend has it that someone posed the question, Why would anybody want to live here? And the name stuck.
There is a town in Massachusetts called "Ware" (home to a certain "ESPN the Magazine" college basketball writer who was too shy to enter the contest officially). Ware is even better because you can play "Who's On First" with it.
"Where are you from?"
This has tormented generations of Ware residents. It also works with …
Hell, Michigan. That would be a heck of a place to live, or visit! I can hear it now …
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to Hell!"
"Yes, I know that, but really, where are you going?"
North, South Carolina.
My head is starting to hurt.
Mianus, Connecticut. This town is just off the 95 North corridor. Man I would hate to live in Mianus.
I'd hate to live in Uranus, too.
World Series of Poker ("An old hand visits poker's new world" May 24, 2004)
A Gene Fisher update: Our guy is out of the WSOP. He tried to make a big play and amass a big stack of chips for a future run at the final table. Here's what he says happened:
"I was up $26,000 and got a pair of queens. I decided to play real cautiously so I didn't raise. The guy behind me though raised $4,000. I matched but didn't raise back. We get the flop and it's a jack, five and a deuce off color. A perfect flop for my hand since there was nothing above my queen.
"I bet all in. The guy behind me calls. We both flip over. He has a jack and an ace. So he has a pair of jacks and an ace kicker. I have a pair of queens. He kind of slumps when he sees my hand. But then in hole, he catches the ace. He has two pair and I am out. Just like that. But that's poker.
"It wasn't a total wasted trip though. I got a golf game in."
And a correction … According to Jackie Lapin, the PR person for the World Poker Tour, the inventor of the "hole cam" was not ESPN, but WPT founder Steve Lipscomb. "ESPN copied our format," Lapin wrote.
Now back to The People's Voice …
That was my dad (Gene Fisher) that you wrote about. … He is so awesome. We just got back from playing a national father/daughter tennis tournament in San Diego … you didn't know that he was a good tennis player as well did you? (He played on the tennis team for Texas in the '50s.) He is quite the humble one you know.
Anyway, he told me about the article and I printed it up. Thanks again; it was great. Everyone tells him that he should write a book. You CANNOT believe all of the stories he has from the cast of innumerous shady and whatever else characters that he has been associated with all these many years. When he tells me something (usually weird, or at least unusual and always questionable) that one of his "associates" had done, I always tell him "those are your people."
El Paso, Texas
After 42 years as a professional gambler (poker, golf and probably tennis), I can only imagine the tales he could tell.
Wonderful story on the old gambler heading back to the WSOP. I had read a few articles about the event's growth this year but nothing from that angle. Made me want to take the next plane to Vegas. Just a great job making me picture a guy I never met.
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Poker is not a sport! It's an activity! You can't find a better way to spend your time than watching someone else play cards? Gimme a break! Tell these losers including Tobey to learn an instrument in their spare time! Do something productive. What's next? A spelling bee on ESPN? Oh wait, they have that already! Maybe a reality show?
Wait, that's happened, too.
New York, N.Y.
We need more news on poker. Major sports channels need to put it in their daily reporting.
Jersey City, N.J.
- Joe Montana