Okay, I can't let this go without joining in on the fun.
Though I live in Ohio, I live near Ft. Wayne, IN, and work there part-time. To do any serious shopping, I go to Ft. Wayne. When I need to take a flight anywhere, I board the plane at Ft. Wayne International Airport (only international, thanks to their freight flights). It's only 35 miles away.
Because of our close proximity to Ft. Wayne, our local TV stations originate there. Ft. Wayne has been in the news this week, and has been the butt of jokes on late night shows, including Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Show With David Letterman, and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.
Harry Baals (and it is pronounced that way) was a mayor of Ft. Wayne who served three terms and died toward the end of his fourth. City officials have said they won't name the building after him because they don't want to favor one mayor over another. It makes one wonder why it was even being considered, doesn't it?
The gardening world has had its own hairy balls for years and it has been the target of jokes, too. The fact that its botanical name is somewhat difficult to pronounce - Asclepias physocarpus - makes it not surprising that someone would come up with a common name that's easier to say and easier to remember.
|Hairy balls plant|
One look at the seed pods for this plant and you can see how it got its name and can understand what Harry Baals (1886-1954) must have had to endure throughout his life. It's probably a good thing he lived during a time when there was greater voluntary censorship of certain things. Lack of that today may be why his descendants now pronounce it "Bales." Can't say I blame them.