Thursday, June 30

"MAD COW TRACED TO WACO"

The headline of this post is in quotations, as it's the front page, top-of-the-fold headline in this morning's print edition of the "Houston Chronicle." I wonder if the headline writer was having some fun with the readership that resides outside of Texas?

Waco is a city in north Texas and its name is pronounced with the long vowel sound for "a," as in "wade." Oftentimes, however, innocently or otherwise, people from outside of Texas see the printed "Waco" and presume it has the short vowel sound for "a," as in "plant." Stand-up comics have had fun with the word "Waco" for years by purposefully mispronouncing it.

If you read the headline with the short vowel sound for the "a" in "Waco," the headline can take on any number of meanings, some of them rather bizarre!

For example, is Waco a mad scientist working in an underground laboratory; or a Swedish immigrant turned Texan, perhaps, who has jettisoned his former passion for horseflesh and turned instead to dalliances with bovines? Or is Waco just some goofy redneck hiding a diseased cow behind a U.S. Army-issued camouflage tarp in his carport?

The mind can conjure up so many images provided you pronounce "Waco" with the short vowel sound for "a!"

POSTSCRIPT: As Paul Harvey would say, here's the "rest of the story":

Mad cow traced to Waco

The animal, born and raised in Texas, was sent to a pet food plant