Geneva, NY.

It would seem fairly obvious where Geneva got its name from. It’s located in a state, New York, that was named after a foreign city after all.

As foreign cities go to be named after, Geneva isn’t too bad. It’s become a center for peace. It’s a beautiful place, too. has been there. It sits on a Lake in which taking this picture is even possible:

Lake Geneva from Lausanne.Wiki, at first, backs up this Swiss notion:

(S)ome claim it is named after the city and canton of Geneva in Switzerland...

So far so good.

(O)thers believe the name came from confusion over the letters in the word “Seneca” written in cursive...

Wait really? Continue reading

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Half Day, Il.

Half Day sounds like what a town would be called if the movie Office Space was re-imagined as a cartoon for third graders.

Alas, we don’t even have to be that creative because the name already exists.

Half Day is a former unincorporated town in Lake County in the state’s northeastern region. It is about 30 miles north of downtown Chicago via Milwaukee Avenue.

The name, though. What about the name?

Many people mistakenly believe that it was named Half Day because it was regarded that Half Day was a half day’s distance from Chicago by horse and carriage.

Not so fast.

In reality, a horse and carriage could make it to Chicago in a half day but some believe the area was actually named after Potawatomi Chief Halfda, the chief at the time the area was settled. A cartographer spelled it “Half Day”, and the misnomer stuck, giving rise to the reputed, but erroneous, derivation of the name.

“In reality..some think.” is always happy to add some clarity to the topics at hand.

The town was forcibly annexed by the village of Vernon Hills in 1993.

Well, that doesn’t sound pleasant.

Admittedly, forced annexation sounds like the results of bad politics for Half Day. However, it does have one positive political claim to fame.

Half Day appeared in a news article in 1952 when then Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson flew there to vote in the presidential election (Stevenson was a candidate the same year)

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Show Low, Az.

This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.

How about that for a town origin? That’s what you get in Arizona.

“According to the legend, the city was named after a marathon poker game between C.E. Cooley and Marion Clark. The two men decided there was not enough room for both of them in their settlement. The two men agreed to let a game of cards decide who was to move. According to the tale, Clark said, “If you can show low, you win.” Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs (the lowest possible card) and replied, “Show low it is.”

That is sure to give Show Low an outlaw vibe. So does this…

Show Low’s main street is named “Deuce of Clubs” in remembrance.

Wiki offers a story with less bravado, too, if that’s your thing.

Another belief about the name is that the two men were in a race for mayor and the vote ended in a tie. The agreement was to open a fresh deck of cards, shuffle them and on the flip of a coin, begin taking turns flipping the cards until one turned over the deuce of clubs, making Cooley the first mayor and the name of the town.

Show Low has about 10,700 people and is located in east central Arizona.

It is the home of George Takai.

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Icelandic Wolf of Wall Street Page.

Usually when an American flag appears on the top right of an international site, it’s about what language you wish to use while browsing. Not so with this news site.

Some evil looking American flags here. The film in the US tried to promote itself as anti greed but not necessarily anti-American. It doesn’t look like the international vibe of the marketing is only indicting Wall Street.

The website is explained on Google as,  “Morgunblaðið is a newspaper published in Iceland, founded by Vilhjálmur Finsen & Olaf Björnsson, brother to the first president.”

The beer drinking looks fun. has no idea what the context of that is.



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Monuments Men, George Clooney, and Europe.

In The Monuments Men, George Clooney just saved Europe, but if you were to look around Switzerland, it would seem like he already had.

The film, based on a true story and book by Robert Edsel, follows a group of mostly Americans who try to save historic art – and by extension their culture – from both sides during World War II. They are especially motivated to save the art from the Nazis who were said to be under orders to destroy large collections if Hitler was to be killed.

The charm of the movie also comes from the true aspect of the story which is these were professionals in the art community. They weren’t soldiers. They weren’t young enough to be soldiers. They were not especially fit to be soldiers. It also makes it possible to say the phrase, “Bill Murray Nazi movie.”

Along with Murray, John Goodman was cast with serious actors of Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Cate Blanchett. While both Goodman and Murray have shown skill in dramatic roles, their casting here was to bring their general silly personas.

Which brings to the tonal issues of the film. It’s a hard to bring about an evenness to a somewhat silly World War II film. Clooney, as director, has struggled with tone in the past. Leatherheads never reached that Coen Brothers level of zaniness Clooney was clearly going for. On the other hand, Good Night and Good Luck was successful enough to get into  the rarefied air of Oscar conversations. Meanwhile, Confessions of a Dangerous Minds is one of’s favorite films.

The Monuments Men certainly won’t be considered when award season approaches. The question the movie presents is: is that fair?

We have a certain expectation now. When World War II movies come out it is either Oscar movies or bust.

In that calculation, The Monuments Men would have been a failure. The movie wasn’t without flaws, either. Early on it looked like there were a lot of effects that did not look real. There was also some overly old-timey dialogue.

The concerns were small though compared to the weightiness of the project. Clooney clearly wanted to ask the question: How many lives is it worth to lose to save some art? What if that art was the symbol of the Catholic Church? You get the idea.

In that sense, the movie is not an Oscar movie, but it is not a bust either. It almost feels like a World War II movie made by Disney or like a network television station. They wanted to tell an interesting story, but only wanted it to be dark enough to establish that the stakes were real. In that sense, it is also screenable to a younger audience.

There has to be something salvageable in that endeavor. Especially, when in the process you get to see Bill Murray point a gun at a Nazi.


Meanwhile, here is an article wrote in the summer of 2012 about all of the advertisements featuring Clooney in Switzerland. considers what it says about us in the eyes of Europeans if they were to consider Clooney our ambassador.

The truth is with a house in Italy and his having made several movies in Europe, the admiration appears to be mutual.


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Mount Diablo, Ca. was surprised to learn a place existed called Mount Diablo because, well, because:

Arthur Mijares from the neighboring town of Oakley, petitioned the federal government to change the name of the mountain, claiming it offended his Christian beliefs.

Not surprising given the politically correct culture that exists. Mijares doubled down on the logic, though:

Additionally, he claimed that Diablo is a living person, and so is banned under federal law.

Mijares has been unsuccessful to date and according to Wiki it appears unlikely that he will ever be. The United States Board of Geographic Names has sited “historical significance” as a reason to stick with the status quo.

Since, we have to get used to it we might as well learn what it means. It’s somewhat more mysterious than some of the guesses you might have for a part of the country with so many religiously Spanish town names.

The peak derives its name from the 1805 escape of several Chupcan Native Americans from the Spanish in a nearby willow thicket. The natives seemed to disappear, and the Spanish soldiers thus gave the area the name “Monte del Diablo”, meaning “thicket of the devil.”

Of course, “Monte was later misinterpreted by English speakers as mount or mountain.

So the name is pretty sweet. That doesn’t mean the locals haven’t made attempts to reverse justify it.

One attribute that makes the name Mount Diablo appropriate is that the mountain glows red at sunset.

The name appears to be somewhat ironic, because not only is the area not evil, but according to legend, the opposite. It is the spot of creation.

Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology and Ohlone mythology, it was the point of creation. Prior to European entry, the creation narrative varied among surrounding local groups. In one surviving narrative fragment, Mount Diablo and Reed’s Peak (Mount Tamalpais) were surrounded by water; from these two islands the creator Coyote and his assistant Eagle-man made Indian people and the world. In another, Molok the Condor brought forth his grandson Wek-Wek the Falcon Hero, from within the mountain.

Mount Diablo is a state park of about 20,000 acres with two peaks and is visible from most of San Francisco Bay. It costs $10 for a vehicle to enter for the day.

Today, some folklore has helped fill in the blanks that forgotten history has left.

Mount Diablo has long been the site of numerous reports pertaining to cryptozoology, hauntings, mysterious lights, and various other Fortean phenomena (it is rumored that the name “Mount Diablo” is derived from the propensity for such weird events to be alleged at, or in the immediate vicinity, of the mountain). Phantom black “panthers” are seen with unusual frequency on the slopes of the mountain, as well as at the “Devil’s Hole” region of the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. As early as 1806, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo reported an encounter with a flying, spectral apparition, while engaged in military operations against the Bolgones band of the Bay Miwok tribe. In 1873, a live frog was said to be found within a slab of limestone at a mine on Mount Diablo.

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Trophy Club, Tx.

At first blush, Trophy Club would seem likely to have an interesting story behind its name.

Well, it doesn’t.

The community was developed in 1973 by developers Johnson and Loggins, who created the community as a housing development surrounding the country club. The town was named for the original plan that the Country Club would house the trophy collections of golf legend Ben Hogan.

Sorry to have wasted your time.

Sincerely, knows your time is valuable.

Ok, calm down. It’s not like you are an astronaut*. You’d have wasted your time anyway.


*Are you???? What’s that like?

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Happy, Tx.

In most of the country it is cold. It has been cold. It will likely be cold for the rest of of your lives.

It’s worth remembering hardships with mother nature aren’t new thing. Imagine being in Texas, for example, and being so elated to find water that you named the town after the emotion you saw when you next saw it.

Happy, on U.S. Highway 87 in northern Swisher County, derived its name from nearby Happy Draw, so named because cowboys were elated to find water there.

Happy, Texas might sound familiar to you. Perhaps, you remember, “A 1999 movie named Happy, Texas starring Jeremy Northam, Steve Zahn, Ally Walker, Ileana Douglas and William H. Macy was named for but not shot in the town.”

If that cast were to have moved to Happy the town would have considered it a boom in population as there are only about 600 residents. However, they seem to be a professional lot because there are also 47 businesses.

And as has learned with his WikiTravel series, towns can not be too cheesy in incorporating their town name into their motto.

Happy uses the slogan “the town without a frown.”

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Oskaloosa, Ia.

It is certain the town of Oskaloosa when translated breaks down into something as deep and as mysterious as a True Detective trailer. It’s just a matter of interpretation what it exactly means.

Wiki declares, “It means “last of the beautiful.”

That is sort of haunting and romantic when used to describe anything, but here it was used as a name of Native American woman.

Oskaloosa derives its name from Ouscaloosa who according to town lore was a Creek princess who married Seminole chief Osceola.

However, Wiki backs off this version of the story.  Instead, it is parenthetically said to mean simply “Black Rain.” Continue reading

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Soldier, Ks.

A town existing with the name Soldier is not altogether surprising. After all, there are a lot of forts and bases around or, alternatively, it never hurts to show a little patriotism and honor the real heroes.  Or so logic would have you believe.

Turns out Soldier Kansas was named for different reasons. “Soldier Creek was first named in the early 1850s when government surveyors were moving through the territory plotting out the 39th parallel,” because that was something that was once important Somebodyisfromhere figures, “and they found two army soldiers camped along the local creek.

With a population of just about 140, Solider is not that imposing:

Beside its post office, only one business is located in the city: the Soldier Grill, a restaurant.

There are however two churches. Maybe they are needed because Soldier’s Wiki page is oddly focused on death.

Soldier’s first recorded death occurred with the passing of Mrs. Tamsa M. Cline in May 1857…

Soldier was affected by the June 2008 tornado outbreak sequence: a man was found dead outside the city on the morning of June 11, 2008, killed by a tornado estimated at ½ mile (0.8 km) wide.

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