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May 12, 2011

Dining@Large contest results

You were asked to come up with a literary-inspired name for a BBQ restaurant adjacent to an Irish Pub named Finnegan's Lake.

Later, we found out that the Irish Pub is actually named Finnegan's Wake (zzzzzzzz), or, Finnegans Wake - we'll see where the apostrophe lands.

We also found out that the BBQ restaurant in fact has a name, too. - the Dark Horse Saloon (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

No matter. Your names are so much better. Take pride in them. 

My favorite name for a BBQ restaurant, regardless of contest rules, is:

Summer and Smoke, submitted by Joel, is a GREAT NAME for a BBQ restaurant. It just is. (Actually, Joel submitted Summar and Smoke, which I guessed was a typo but maybe I missed something.)

Charlotte's Weber, submitted by unbelievaboh, made me laugh and laugh. (Actually, unbelievaboh sumbitted Charlotte's Webber, which I guessed was a typo.)

In general I ended up liking the submissions that had nothing to do with Joyce but instead looked for inspiration to American Southern literature. I think if you had to name the James Joyce of the American South, it'd be William Faulkner.

The winning entry:

Pylon the Meat, submitted by Ted.

(I'd want to change it to, simply, Pylon)

Congratulations, Ted. I'll be in touch about getting you your copy of  Weber's Time to Grill.

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 11:30 AM | | Comments (6)


Yes! My English degree got me something besides a lifetime of underemployment!

I've alerted your alumni magazine

If they want to be true to Joyce, they will leave out the apostrophe and call it "Finnegans Wake," as he did.

Dahlink - but then they would also need to leave all punctuation from the menu and descriptions. Just think - a stream of onsciousness menu! One would probably need to make their dining choices before sampling the cocktails.

I guess I picked the wrong American South Author (and yes, Summar was a typo).

it was my favorite overall name but it needed a punning element for the contest.

Sweet Molly Bloom! It is not a matter of leaving out an apostrophe or writing without punctuation. It has only one correct title and spelling. The title of Joyce's novel is a perfect representation of the incredibly clever and funny intertextual references. For me, it is a masterpiece of poetry. I don't consider it a prose work, more of an atomic bomb of modern poetry. The kind of layering of references and experimentation with language happens only in the rarest and best modern and po-mo poetry.

For me it has a lot in common with Dante's Divina Comedia, because of the layers and layers of references.

"Finnegan's Wake" [a song] is famous for providing the basis of James Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake (1939), in which the comic resurrection of Tim Finnegan is employed as a symbol of the universal cycle of life. As whiskey, the "water of life", causes both Finnegan's death and resurrection in the ballad, so the word "wake" also represents both a passing (into death) and a rising (from sleep). Joyce removed the apostrophe in the title of his novel in order to suggest an active process in which a multiplicity of "Finnegans", that is, all members of humanity, fall and then wake and arise.

Here is page one of the work:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend
of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to
Howth Castle and Environs.
Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the short sea, had passen-
core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy
isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor
had topsawyer's rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse
to Laurens County's gorgios while they went doublin their mumper
all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to
tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a
kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all's fair in
vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a
peck of pa's malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory
end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.

Have I finished the book? Hell, no. Have I tried? Several times. Will I die and never finish it? Probably. The only person I know of that finished the book was Sylia Plath and we all know how that ended.

I once read that Joyce thought the book didn't have a linear framework and that the ideal format for the work was something like a 360° Rolodex, so that one could start anywhere. In fact, the last line of the book connects with the first line to explicitly create a circular work.

The last line:
A way a lone a last a loved a
long the

First line:
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend
of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to


James Joyce is not e. e. cummings.

I read it all--many years ago. And for my own pleasure and edification. I can't claim to have understood every single word, but I did let the words wash over me, delicious multi-lingual portmanteau words, which is what I suspect Joyce intended.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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