By Any Other Name

When I was 12 or so, my family received a wedding invitation from a relative who lived in Rapid City. The reception was to be held at the Pretty Pines Party House.

Since we didn't go to the wedding, I never had a chance to see the inside of the Pretty Pines Party House. Still, I always remembered the name just because it was so annoyingly cute. Years later, when I moved to the Black Hills, I drove past the place and was amused to see what a plain building sat behind the silly name.

One of the problems with "Pretty Pines Party House" is too much alliteration. Like eyeliner or garlic, alliteration works best when applied in moderation. Its repeated sounds ought to flow gracefully, not belabor you about the head and shoulders with repeated blows.

Speaking of blows about the head and shoulders, how about that hockey team? At the local game we attended this year, the Rapid City Rush played the Amarillo Gorillas. Our team—not that I'm prejudiced or anything—has a well-chosen name. It combines a bit of alliteration with an implication of power and speed that also serves as a nod to Mount Rushmore.

The Gorillas? Not so much. Just try saying "Amarillo Gorillas" two or three times. It doesn't quite work. Not, at least, for a Yankee tongue, which wants to say "Amarillo Garillos." Of course, in Texas, there isn't a problem. The local pronunciation for the town is "Amarilla," which rhymes quite nicely with "Gorilla."

I wonder why they didn't name the team the "Amarillo Armadillos." It abounds with alliteration. Better yet, it's trilingual alliteration. It flows smoothly off the tongue, no matter which language you use. In English it's "Amarillo Armadillos," in Spanish it's roughly "Amareeyo Armadeeyos," and in Texan it's "Amarilla Armadillas."

Given the padding that hockey players wear, it seems to me the well-armored armadillo would be a perfect mascot. I suppose, though, a gorilla has a tougher image.

I ought to understand that perfectly well from high school, where our teams were the Gregory Gorillas. When girls' sports were started not long after I graduated, they were called (unfortunately, I am not making this up) the "Girl-illas." Now they are the "Lady Gorillas," which at least has the virtue of being oxymoronic rather than just moronic.

It does, however, raise the question of why the boys' teams aren’t correspondingly called the "Gentleman Gorillas." Gender equality and alliteration at the same time—it should be an unbeatable combination.

But back to the Pretty Pines Party House. It's still there and still a place for parties, just under a different name. Now, as the "Buck & Gator," it's a biker bar.

Categories: Just For Fun, Words for Nerds | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “By Any Other Name

  1. Frank

    I have learned one thing from following you on your weekly blog. Every once in a while, I need to go to a computer dictionary to find out the exact meaning of some words you use. I had a vague idea what “allerteration” means but wasn’t real sure. So, again I enjoyed your comment and I have learned what the word afore mentioned means.

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