Congratulations to Hailey Kalinowski, who sold the television rights to her tenth-grade social-studies research paper for $2.8 million, even though her teacher had given her a C minus on the paper. The Dumont Network has ordered twenty-six episodes of “Storm Runoff Problems and Aging Sewer Infrastructure in Allegheny County,” which is expected to make its debut in September as part of Dumont’s new Wednesday comedy lineup. Hailey says she plans to use some of the money to buy the house next to her teacher’s and rent it to a motorcycle gang.


  1. Dear Doctor Boli:

    I have a question for a language expert like yourself who is also an expert on all things Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I was at my local grocery store the other day and happened to pick up a bottle of bottled water. I was intrigued by its claim to be “Naturally Alkaline” water from protected underground springs, as alkaline springs such as those found in the Southwestern USA are generally considered undrinkable bordering on poisonous. And a “protected underground spring” is probably marketing-speak for “an artesian well”.

    But stupid bottled-water marketing hogwash aside, what really intrigued and annoyed me was the fact that they claimed their source to be in the “Allegany Mountains” of the NY/PA border region. I’d always seen that particular bunch of hills as the “Allegheny Mountains”, to match the Allegheny River and Allegheny County, so I wanted to check with you.

    Looking at the bottled water company’s website I linked above, I am amused and horrified to see them spell that mountain range no fewer than three different ways in the space of a single paragraph: Allegany Mountains, Alleghany Mountains, and The Alleghenies. Which if any of these is most correct or the preferred spelling for people actually from that region, and not from a marketing company based in L.A. or some other area that lumps everything between the Sierra Nevadas and the Catskills as merely “Flyover Country”?

  2. Ben Ieghn says:

    “’Naturally Alkaline’ water” is marketing-speak for down-stream from a fenced-in used battery landfill…

  3. markm says:

    Martin: Inconsistent spelling like that, when it is in a professionally edited document, usually comes from someplace far more exotic than LA. It was probably outsourced to someplace where either English or the Latin alphabet itself is somewhat exotic. The only good news is that, wherever they may have outsourced their copy editing, thanks to shipping costs the water almost certainly came from somewhere within North America.

    According to Wikipedia, “Allegheny Mountains” is preferred, or “Alleghenies” for a shorter informal version. They list “Allegany Mountains among the alternate spellings.

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