Monday, January 28, 2008

Is it....Murder???

I love language. I love words. I tend to see words in a word. I tend to look at them backwards and forwards.

So I wondered about the name of this street (not far from my house) when I saw it. Sure, I know that CAMELOT, the King Arthur reference, is not exactly TOLAMAC backwards, but it sure sounds the same. Besides, what the heck is a Tolamac? I can't find a reference to it.

So then I noticed this other street, Red Rum. Anyone who has seen or read Stephen King's The Shining knows that Redrum is Murder backwards! Who names streets, anyway? And was the person who named these streets playing a little joke on us?

Further investigation bore out a different explanation. Notice the horseshoe that takes the place of the letter U? It turns out that Red Rum was the name of a famous steeplechase racehorse in England, long before Stephen King used that particular play on words. Of course, that didn't stop some local politicians to take up the matter! From a local paper (click here to see the article) we see that one of them asked "for the county to look at renaming Red Rum Drive, saying he finds the name, which was repeated in the horror movie The Shining, 'personally offensive.' Red Rum spells murder backwards." The reader comments were not kind to this politician, reminding him and all of us that there are slightly more important matters for our elected officials to ponder than the name of this street!

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