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Column: Weather or not, here the names come
by Mark Maguire
March 06, 2014 11:00 AM | 4997 views | 1 1 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mark Wallace Maguire
Mark Wallace Maguire
A rose is a rose by any other name, the bard said, but at the same time, there is something to be said about the connotation of certain names, isn’t there?

I really got to thinking on this after The Weather Channel began naming winter storms this year. After I got over my incredulity over naming winter storms (I mean really, people?), I became impressed by their selection of monikers: Ion, Kronos, Hercules! Wow! Very strong and power-inducing names culled from mythology. I was impressed. Then, they introduced “Leon.” Leon? Really? I know it stems from “lion,” but when I hear it, I don’t exactly group it in the same arena as the other Greco-Roman storm names. I once knew a Leon. Easy going. Cool. Tough? Yes, but not in a "Clash of the Titans"-beastly-winter-storm way. In other words, not a guy I could see having a drink with Kronos.

Of course, they are doing better than the hurricane folks have been for the last several decades. They tend to use the blandest, most non-offensive names: Hazel, Camille, Katrina and such. It sounds like a gaggle of old spinsters sitting around playing bridge. And the male names aren’t much better: Hugo and Floyd, for example. The only one that comes close to me is Andrew, but that is only because my youngest son is named Andrew and I have witnessed his mayhem and destruction up close and personal.

Then there were the winter storms and subsequent stranding we experienced this year that epitomized blandness. It was dubbed ‘Snowpocalypse.’ That was fine, I guess, but when the area was hit with a similar storm a few years ago, we called it ‘Snowpocalypse’ then, too. I was really disappointed in that. The Atlanta media couldn’t come up with more creativity the second time around? If not a mythological name, perhaps something that sounds like a professional wrestler like Stone Cold Slap Down, The Great White Out, Snowstruck Strikeout or The White Dragon.

What’s next in the weather naming world? High pollen counts called “Return of Old Yeller” or “Sinus Saffron Saturday.” Maybe they will start naming thunderstorms – that would be easy at least. Heat waves could be fun, but could border on offensive to get the right connotation with names like “Sultry Susan,” “Jezebel,” “Swimsuit Cindy” or simply, “Kate Upton.”

Oh well, in the end, a rose is a rose and I do enjoy language, but the more we name things, the less evocative power names have.

That said, it would do my ego good this summer to tell my out-of-state friends I was experiencing a case of the vapors from spending too much time outside with “Kate Upton.”

Mark Maguire is the director of Cobb Life Magazine and an occasional columnist for the Neighbor Newspapers.

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