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Topeka mayor renames town Google, Kan., for month of March

Google
The things Kansas will do for fast Internet access.

In a shameless bout of consumerism, Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten has renamed the Kansas town "Google" for the month of March. The campaign is part of Topeka's -- err, Google's? -- bid for Google to roll out its ultra-fast fiber-optic broadband Internet in the town of Google.

Sigh. This is getting confusing.

Just take a load off and dust off your recording of "On the Atchison, Topeka  Google and the Santa Fe." (Editors' note: We made him put this in. Young guy doesn't get Judy Garland jokes. But go to the jump to hear Judy sing the catchy song.)

The politics of this ordeal is even more absurd than the headline. Bunten told reporters after....

... the announcement that the suggestion to change the name came from Jim Ogle (not Jim Google), who is the general manager of the local TV station, according to the Topeka (Google?) National Journal.

City Atty. Jackie Williams told the council that the city could not legally rename itself for a short period of time and then change it back, the Journal wrote. Williams had to keep the council in check again when it proposed a vote; he pointed out that one could not take place until next week. So, Bunten said he'd issue the proclamation anyway. Now, that's leadership.

Topeka also temporarily renamed itself for a month in August 1998 as ToPikachu after Nintendo's Pokemon character, as the Times' Technology blog points out.

In the spirit of nonsensical, political nods to our corporate overlords, we've come up with a few ideas for cities to try to score free gorditas or coffee:

  • Los Taco Bell
  • New York Peppermint Pattie
  • Starbuckseattle
  • Morton Salt Lake City

  -- Mark Milian

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Photo: Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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