Friday, October 9, 2009

Lizard Lick? Embarrass? Zap? Where to They Come up With These Peculirar Names?

"How 10 American Towns Got Their Weird Names"
Neatorama (October 19, 2008)

"The following is an article from Uncle John's Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader, by Kathy Kemp, author of Welcome to Lickskillet: And Other Crazy Places in the Deep South

"Plan to hit the road next summer, but don't know where to go? We don't mean to be rude, but have you considered Hell? Hell, Michigan, that is. (And you thought you had to drive south.) For a different kind of vacation, check out this tour of off-road America, where unusual names are the main attraction:..."

The list starts with Hell, Michigan. One of the towns, Joe, Montana, owes its name to a quite deliberate - and successful - effort to cash in on a celebrity's name. Lizard Lick, North Carolina, owes its name to a government program.

There's Peculiar, Missouri and Zap, North Dakota, and #10 - Embarrass, Minnesota.

Embarrass, Minnesota, is a place where: "The midwinter temperature often drops to -60 °F, and snow has been known to fall in June...." That's a trifle chilly, even for northern Minnesota. On the other hand, it's not all that much different here where I live in central Minnesota. Although living 'down south' - by my standards - the winters are fairly mild. Again, by my standards.

Embarrass gets its name from the French word, embarras - meaning obstacle. Which, for settlers not born to this sort of climate, those conditions were.

I don't know how strictly accurate the assertions in this post are - but it's a fun read.

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