letter from the

alan smithee

Alan Smithee

Last Week's Column

"As I drove past Capitol Travel Service, I glanced down at my Capital Times. Something was amiss - the spelling between capitol and capital was different. At first I thought someone made a spelling mistake or their printer spit out the wrong character. Ahh, but I knew I could find all the glorious answers in the bulky Ameritech phone book. What I discovered made my head spin. There's a Capital Carpet Care, Capitol Computer Supply, Capital City Comics, Capitol City Heating and Air Conditioning, Capital Lubricants, Capitol Lawn Sprinkler and the list went on and on.

Next, I pulled out my handy dictionary. Capital: a town or city that is the official seat of government in a state or nation. Capitol: the building in which a state legislature assembles. So Capital City Comics is correct, unless they're making and selling comics at the capitol building. Capitol Lawn Sprinkler is incorrect, unless their job is to water the dome. Capitol Bank - which is way out on High Point Road, is not even near the capitol. The Capitol Employees Steak Joint, if such a place did exist, located far away from the capitol and operated part-time by employees who work at the capitol, would be fine. I think.

I called a few different establishments with 'capitol' in their title. I asked if they were affiliated with the capitol building-- they all said no. So what's the meaning behind the word 'capitol' in their company name? The basic reply was "because we're located in Madison." I didn't have the heart to tell them, so I offered my thanks and slowly hung up the phone. Next week: The Brother's Main -- are they really brothers?

A quick note to all of our readers. Thanks for the feedback and comments. We're surprised yet delighted by the amount of mail we've received. As long as you email us, we're open for business. -A.S.