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How about Kirstie Alley?

September 16, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND

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Oh goodie, another name game. By now you know the drill. Let's all put on our thinking caps and come up with a stunning name for some nondescript cartographical feature.

The feature in this case is Cramer's Alley in downtown Hagerstown, which needs a new name because it is no longer an alley, but a two-way street and because no one for the life of them can remember who Cramer was.

So it's up to us, the citizens of Washington County, to come up with an alternative.

Yeah, well, good luck with that.

As I've pointed out many times in the past, naming stuff is not our strength: "Dual" Highway. "High" Rock. "Big" Pool. "North" High. "City" Park. "Public" Square. "Eastern" Elementary. "South" Mountain. "Northern" Avenue.

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Where's some originality, some creativity, some sass? Why can't they change "Park" Circle to "Nekkid Statue Circle?"

My idea would be to put the haircut ladies in charge of the project. However it started, beauty salons somehow decided that a clever name was a ticket for entry. Hair After, Shear Express, Hairport, Ace of Blades -- they're all a little combover the top, but at least we won't end up with "Slightly Southeast of Public Square Street" or something.

Meanwhile, the rest of us could at least give it a shot.

I know, they could call it "Willie Mays Way." No, that one didn't work out so well the first time around.

Same would go for my favorite, Mohammed Alley. This also fails on the grounds that Hagerstown doesn't want the word "alley" to be part of the name. You can understand this. The word "alley" conjures up an image of a narrow, dingy, one-way, litter-strewn street lined with fire escapes and garbage cans, whereas the average Hagerstown street is -- somehow I'm not sure how to finish that sentence.

I hope they rethink that rule, because it plucks from consideration the most perfect of names: "Loosk." Considering the street's proximity to the Channel 25 weather station, what better name than -- wait for it -- Loosk Alley.

And someone told me that one of our small towns had a Napa Alley. That's gold, and opens up a whole new area for exploitation: Silicon Alley, San Joaquin Alley and the Hagerstown-specific (someone was going to suggest it, it might as well be me) the Alley of the Shadow of Death.

The street in question also backs up to the Bulls and Bears restaurant, so we could continue the stock market theme by calling it Jim Cramer's Alley. Wouldn't even have to buy new signs.

A long time ago, I lived near Cramer's Alley, and there was always a certain romance to it. And by romance, I mean old guys in Mercedes with Pennsylvania tags cruising up and down looking for a good time. It was like a Dual Highway for adults.

By the way, did they say this is going to be a two-way street? In Hagerstown? That's sort of breaking with tradition. Even our main streets are one way -- a brilliant stroke of engineering that guarantees that half of the people traveling through town won't see most of our shops. So if you call this alley, I'm sorry, this street, "Two Way Way," everyone will know what you're talking about. And best of all, it is in no way creative.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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