David Rodeback's Blog

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Re(nick)naming the Delta Center

I decided to be a slave to fashion and tell you what I think about what we used to know as the Delta Center. In the process, I identify the best nickname I've heard from someone else and offer my own suggestion for a nickname, too.

For a day or two, just now, it's all the rage to wax witty about the former Delta Center's new moniker, and to suggest appropriate nicknames. Before I let this particular passing fashion lead me by the nose, I must offer a disclaimer.


I think nuclear power is the future of energy independence. I've been comfortable with it in the present for more than 30 years -- ever since I began to understand it, which is about the time my family moved just up the road from a few dozen experimental nuclear reactors in southeast Idaho. I think the hysteria with which many people view nuclear power generally and the disposal of nuclear waste specifically is unwarranted. It is a frenzy fed by junk science and maybe even junk religion.

Of course, there are risks involved. Everything has risks. Can anyone look at the history of the last several decades and tell me with a straight face that oil is a safe dependency for nations in the modern world?

My First Thoughts

My first thoughts upon learning that the Edifice Formerly Known as the Delta Center (hereafter EFKDC) had been renamed EnergySolutions Arena were these, in order of occurrence:

  1. What an ugly name!
  2. Money really will buy almost anything.
  3. This business of removing the spaces punctuating multiword product names has now officially GoneTooFar.

Faint Hopes

I'm hoping that EnergySolutions will bow to public nausea and rename the building somehow. One way would be to rename the company itself, choosing a new name that sounds good attached to a basketball court.

I won't hold my breath.

A Nickname

That faint hope failing, we'll need a good nickname. Brandon Griggs has a delightful column on the subject in yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune. He suggests a name I really think might catch on: "The Larry." It's short, simple, barely even polysyllabic, and it pokes directly at the guy who's going to take the rap for all this in the public mind: Larry H. Miller. The irony is delicious.

But I have my own suggestion, too. I started with "Radioactive Waste Arena," but that's bad in all sorts of ways. Then I tried "The Gamma Ray," because it has Delta's Greek alphabet familiarity, while also naming a particular deadly form of radiation. But it's a bit too geek. "The Gamma" might work, or "The Ray," but we're really reaching here, without a lot to reach for.

So here's my real suggestion: "The Gamma Quadrant." It has the Greek alphabet. It has the allusion to actual radiation. It's geek, but it's the good geek of Star Trek. It's euphonious. (Translation: It sounds good.) Best of all, it suggests the common experience of hearing that the EFKDC is now EnergySolutions Arena: the sudden sensation that we have awakened and found ourselves in a very strange part of the galaxy, immeasurably far from home, with little if any hope of ever returning.

The Gamma Quadrant. When it catches on, remember that you read it here first.

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