These are bits that have been recycled twice: once through my head, and once through the #swhack logs. Accuracy not guaranteed. Some words are other people's, scurvily recycled without attribution by me.
From a discussion of how to pronounce place names:
Across the Water we have Pierre, the capital of the state of South Dakota (not North, as an earlier version of this page claimed, arrgh), pronounced "peer". Most people outside S.D. say it Frenchwise.
And then there is the Enroughty family of Virginia. Some say "en-ruff-ty", but others make it "darby". The story is -- though not all agree -- that a Darby had to change his name to his wife's name, Enroughty, in order to get an inheritance. Rather than hyphenating, he just kept the original pronunciation. Others say that the second group were descended from someone named "John Darby of Enroughty".
Nome, Alaska, is easy to pronounce, but it's a winner for name bogosity. The story behind Nome's name -- as usual, there's dispute about it -- is that a cartographer noticed that a certain cape had no name, so he wrote "? name" next to it. This was misread as "C[ape] Nome", and the city was named after the cape.
Why Staten Island is part of New York (State and City) rather than New Jersey:
A yacht-race settled the question back in the seventeenth century, from Tottenville at the southern tip to St. George at the northern tip. The New York boat won.
On the name of Case Western Reserve University:
The Case part comes from Case Institute of Technology, which eventually merged with Western Reserve University. But why "Western Reserve"? Because Ohio was the western reserve of Connecticut, which until 1787 claimed everything westward to the Pacific.
Larry Niven on the etymology of "droud"
It began as a persistent typo of Niven's for "crowd" in the story "Flash Crowd". Then it became the name of the implanted device that routes a current to the pleasure center in wireheads.
Sometimes a hyphen can make all the difference" story:When Cat Stevens sings "Morning Has Broken", he screws up the last line badly because he doesn't sing the hyphen in it. The last line of the third verse in the original Eleanor Farjeon text is"God's re-creation of the new day." Unfortunately, Stevens sings "God's recreation"! This may or may not be intentional.
The Israeli Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
The American Ambassador to Israel is attending the unveiling of the Israeli Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.He's quite surprised to find written on the gravestone:
BORN LYUBLYANA 1898
DIED JERUSALEM 1948
"I thought he was supposed to be the unknown soldier", said the Ambassador to his host.
"You don't understand. As a tailor, he was known. As a soldier? Mnyeh."
"Not to 'eat' spam or phish, that is the Law: Are we not geeks?" --The Island of Dr. Morbus
There's a Gene Wolfe collection that I've never read, but I do admire its title and table of contents. The title is The Island of Doctor Death And Other Stories And Other Stories. The title story is of course "The Island of Doctor Death And Other Stories". Two of the other stories in the collection are entitled "The Doctor of Death Island" and "The Death of Dr. Island".