In Houston and throughout Texas, there are a lot of weird names that confuse visitors. It is difficult to explain that Kuykendahl Road is properly pronounced KIRK-un-dahl or that there is something in the state called Waxahachie. That's before we even get into the influences from the wide variety of ethnic groups that now call our state and city home.
But those are just pronunciation issues. Most of us can recover from that. What is befuddling, however, is the fact that many of the names we have given various businesses, organizations and locations don't make a whole lot of sense. Some are borderline offensive if taken the wrong way. We would like to help correct that unfortunate error.
Who Made the Cake!
This quaint bakery here in Houston appears to produce some fine specialty cakes and we are all for anything that includes plenty of flour and sugar. What we wonder is why they chose to go with Who Made the Cake! as a name. Our first thought was that this was a cute way of playing Who's On First with anyone who enjoyed the cake at a wedding. Example:
Person 1: Hey, who made the cake? Person 2: Oh, Who Made the Cake! Person 1: Are you messing with me? Person 2: WHO...MADE...THE...CAKE! Person 1: That's what I'm asking!!! Oh, it's on!
At this point, a brawl ensues ruining the wedding and it's all because a bakery had to go "totes adorbs" with their name. And, just a tip for the proprieters, if your name is a question, you probably shouldn't end it with an exclamation point. It's grammatically incorrect and it makes us all want to shout the name. You should have just put it in all caps and really pissed everyone off.
In the '80s comedy Porky's, which was set in the 1950s, one kid tried to insult a Jewish boy by calling him a "kite," clearly mangling the racial slur. The Jewish kid responded, "Hey listen, Cavanaugh. It's not kite, it's KIKE! K-I-K-E, "kike." You know, you're too stupid to even be a good bigot!" Maybe the folks at Kike Automotive or Kike High Performance Tuning never saw the film or maybe those businesses are named after people with unfortunate surnames. Either way, it might be time to reconsider?
There are very few acceptable abbreviated name mashups that should exist in this world. We can live with Benifer and Brangelina. SoCal is certainly OK as is what would appear to be one of the originals of this category, SoHo, which defines the neighborhood south of Houston Street in Manhattan (we'll temporarily forgive them for pronouncing it HOW-stun). But when Houston's east end goes twee with a nickname like EaDo, we must protest. The East End is completely adequate for all areas east of downtown. We don't need to drill down this much and be forced to invent clever nicknames.
Justice of the Peace
The fact that a Texas Justice of the Peace hears civil cases but doesn't actually have to be a practicing attorney should give all of us pause. They can even issue search and arrest warrants! It would seem that, in fact, these are in need of more than just a name change. Maybe they would feel more comfortable practicing this trade in one of Texas' many gun-themed towns (totally seems appropriate for Gun Barrel City or Cut and Shoot, Texas) because it sure does feel a lot like Old West justice.
With all due respect to Judge Ed Emmett, the man is not a judge. About the only legal-ish thing a county judge presides over are hearings for liquor licenses. Otherwise, they work as the head of the county's emergency management and run the county commissioners court. Clearly, this guy needs a new title.
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Texas Railroad Commission
You might think that the Texas Railroad Commission handled, oh, we don't know, railroads. You would be wrong. In fact, this is an incredibly antiquated title for a group that oversees the energy industry in Texas. Some might argue that this group should be called the Texas Big Oil and Gas Commission because of its continual protection of one of the state's largest industries. It is also the reason why the Texas Railroad Commissioner is such a coveted spot for an elected official. If you have the oil industry at your disposal, you have a tremendous amount of power. Changing the name would alleviate confusion and also give a gentle reminder that we prefer cars to pretty much any other form of transportation here in Texas.
Mickey Leland Terminal at Bush Intercontinental Airport
We have great respect for Mickey Leland as one of Texas's most respected and influential African American politicians and social leaders. But, it does make us a tad uneasy that his name adorns an airport terminal when the man died in a plane crash. We're thinking commuters might not care for that uncomfortable association, either, knowing the details of his tragic death. His name totally deserves to be on a building, like a college prep school, for instance. Maybe just not an airport terminal.