Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's in a name?

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, named after the Nebraska Senator who lost a leg in Vietnam and who used to date Debra Winger when he was governor and who, when asked about this, told a reporter that she swept him off his foot. The bridge is supposed to be the longest pedestrian bridge in the U.S., although there's a bridge in Chattanooga which is now relegated to pedestrian traffic which is pretty long. This post isn't about the bridge, it's about the river that it spans, between Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo: Ali Eminov, Flickr
What's in a name? That depends on to what the name is attached.
     If the moniker names a piece of legislation proposed by GOP lawmakers, probably nothing in the name accurately describes the bill's actual intent.
     GOP bills really don't have names worthy of the name, they have aliases.
     If the name is of a cat, the joke's on you. Cats have their own names, which are on a need-to-know basis, and no matter how much you spend on shredded furniture, cat food, litter or Vet bills, you will never be deemed deserving of the need to know your cat's real name, else "Fluffy" might be compelled to acknowledge you for uttering it. (If you're now wondering what your cat's real name is, forget anything cute. It's probably Dexter.)
     Human names are usually a reflection of the vanity of the parental or grand parental units, or their drug intake at the time they were risking the chromosonal integrity of their fetus by dropping acid ("Moon Unit") or their pretensions ("Apple") — unless the child-namers happen to live in France, where the government can and does sensibly refuse to register stupid kid names, for their own damn good.
     AKSARBENT's interest in this topic, however, isn't about people, animal, or thing names; it's about river names. You heard that right. Grave injustices have been visited on many people's rivers by willfully deaf petty dictators with rubber stamps.
     Take Norfolk, Nebraska, where Johnny Carson spent his childhood. Did you ever once hear him on TV refer to his hometown as anything other than "Norfork"? Of course you didn't, because nobody in Norfolk pronounces that town's name any other way.
     Why is this so, you might well ask.
     AKSARBENT will tell you! The community was named after the North Fork of the Elkhorn river, but some idiot federal postal authority transmuted the community's submission to "Norfolk."
     (In respect of town names, Nebraska has its own little shibboleth: Beatrice, the town in Southeast Nebraska. We've seen several new TV anchors pronounce it BEE a tris. But never more than once, after which they said Bee AT tris.)
     None of the above compares to the worse river-naming injustice ever committed in North America, that being what was done to the waterway between St. Louis and New Orleans now misnamed the "Mississippi."
     We don't know who screwed this up and don't care, because they're already dead and can't be killed again, but the wrong is EGREGIOUS!
     It's not about length bragging rights. The Missouri river, even just to St. Louis, where it meets the Upper Mississippi, is already the longest river in North America, by several hundred miles.
     It's about justice. It's about correcting stupidity, not enshrining it.
     You see, before the Missouri, a much wilder river than the pacific Mississippi, was sedated by huge dams, it emptied (in the 19th century) TWICE as much water into the St. Louis river confluence than did the upper Mississippi at the join.
     This means that the upper Mississippi is a tributary of the Missouri river, which rightfully ends in New Orleans, not St. Louis, no matter what poison so-called educators are dripping into young impressionable minds.
     Were AKSARBENT elected president, our first action would be to remove all federal signage south of St. Louis referring to the "Mississippi" river.
     Our second would be to send federal troops to force ignorant warmed-over rebels in Louisiana and Mississippi to get with the program (in respect of uncooperative state signage), because you know they would never part with any "heritage," no matter how phony, unless it were pried from their cold, dead, red necks.
     Our third action, inevitably, would be to resign the presidency amid hoots and assassination threats, and retire to a state along the banks of the upper Missouri, where sensible, fair-minded people would welcome a geographical Social Justice Warrior.
     Also, screw Mark Twain, the traitor from Hannibal, Missouri and his epic lie, Life on the Mississippi.

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