Wednesday, December 30, 2009
So it was in the 1990s when Canadian government insensitivity once again pitted armed Native resisters against RCMP officers over some silly short-sighted development plan that happened (oops) to damage, disrespect or eliminate a local aboriginal culture. This happens with ridiculous frequency in Canada. In this case, it was Alberta, it was a dam that would have flooded burial grounds, and it was an arrest for an activist named "Milton Born With a Tooth" (also written as "Milton Born-With-a-Tooth".
All due respect, etc., but just try to deny the awesomeness of that name. Go on, I dare you.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
But... you've got to love 'Butt Hole Road'. I love it oh so much for several reasons: First, 'butt' is pretty innocuous as a slang word anyway, and 'butt hole' is rather a euphemism for the genuine slang term, spelt differently as it is in the United States and the United Kindom, for the anus. Second, 'butt' is largely an American word anyway for the behind, so it's entirely possible that the residents of Conisbrough, Yorkshire only realised its inherent funniness years after Americans would have found it funny, had they known it existed. Third, even though the Wikipedia article talks about how the embarrassed residents of (the four houses located on) Butt Hole Road were so shamed by their street name (not to mention annoyed that delivery companies thought they were joking while giving addresses on the phone) that they coughed up £300 to have it changed to the rather blander "Archers Way", the Google Maps page still lists it by its good ol' name. Fourth, it's apparently just a few kilometres away from Scunthorpe, the awesomely-named town in England whose name causes all sorts of trouble with Internet obscenity filters because of the rather filthy word buried deep within... seek, and ye shall find.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Except for how silly and vaguely sexual the name is. Like, did nobody realise the snicker-potential of the name? Did nobody think it might evoke, say, the anus? Or was the word just coined in a different, tamer era?
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009
You gwen whihi up suppa? - Are you going to cook supper?
Ye like-a sum whettles? - Would you like some food?
Humuch shep corl ya? - How often do ships come here?
And to top off all of this awesomeness... there is the map of Pitcairn itself. It's not a big place, and since all fifty residents live in the 'capital', Adamstown, there's not much geography. But what there is is awesome by the acre. Sights around Pitcairn, important enough to show up on the map, include "Where Dan Fall", "Bitey-Bitey", "John Catch-a-Cow", "Oh Dear" and "Little George Coc'nuts". Just try to tell me that's not awesomeness in a nutshell.
This blog entry mentions http://www.blogsurfer.us/ in it.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
First of all, it's not that surprising to find places in Quebec named "Saint-Someone-de-Something". They like their saints in Quebec. This particular one, however, has 'silliness' written all over it. Though there are a dozen groovy fake etymologies out there, based on all kinds of aboriginal languages, the simple fact is that the name probably comes from good old French, where 'haha' is apparently a word for 'unexpected obstacle on the way'.
So, Saint Louis of the unexpected obstacle in the way. Well, a big boulder in the road can test the patience of anyone, including saints, so I suppose that's all well and good. But what really matters is how somehow some stray punctuation turned the obstacle into a guffaw. Because (a) exclamation points in your community's name = awesome, and (b) belly laughs in your place name = double awesome. They seem to have crept in via cartographers unfamiliar with the 'obstacle' meaning of the word 'haha'. I suppose they saw the name "Saint-Louis-du-Haha" and thought, "these poor villagers have no idea how to punctuate onomatopoeia". Or perhaps not.
In other news: Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is home to 1408 people, who are called 'louisien' or 'louisienne', the Louis in question is also shrouded in mystery, there is also a river, a lake and (most awesomely) a pyramid in Quebec named Ha! Ha!, the Wikipedia page for the town has pages in Hebrew, Welsh and Silesian, and, lastly, there is also a community called "Westward Ho!", avec exclamation point, in the UK.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
(Note that this picture is intentionally the most unflattering faux-sexy picture I could find).
Mr. Dingdong Dantes apparently was born into this world as Jose Sixto Raphael Gonzales Dantes III, a name which is also pretty damn cool (especially the 'Sixto' part – remind me to invent a soft drink or a board game and give it that name). He is apparently one of the Philippines' highest paid underwear models (with such fine work as the one shown above) and, in addition, acts in and directs movies, makes music, probably also works in architecture and has discovered a few of the elements on the periodic table. Whatever. What interests us here is that apparently he goes by the name 'Dingdong'. His Wikipedia page makes no indication that this is a rather unusual stage name, only mentioning that at one time he called himself Raphael Dantes. Which is a nice name, but apparently not as good as naming yourself after, alternately, the sound a bell makes, the song Dorothy sings when the Wicked Witch dies, or a chocolate cake-like product made by Hostess. Because that's good nomenclature.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Okay, politics. Canadian politics. Dude was a hotshot in the two parties that preceded the currently-governing Conservative Party of Canada. Not my personal brand of politics, but dude was a relatively decent proponent of those parties' particular brands of populist conservatism: so decent, in fact, that he abandoned ship to another conservative party before they united under one broad umbrella. I say 'was' - he's not dead, but he's quite sidelined politically. All that manoeuvring will get you nowhere, my mother used to say.
Beside the point. The point is that dude's name is Inky. Well, of a sort. Wikipedia tells me his name is 麥鼎鴻, or in Pinyin Mài Dǐnghóng, which is a pretty awesome name too. But in English he has an adjective for a first name and a first name for a surname, such that "Inky Mark" sounds like the nickname the schoolboys gave poor Mark Jones when his pen exploded on him one day. And that is truly awesome.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Kraft makes this mustard. It's a kind of Dijon, which apparently means it has wine in it. I remember it best for the preposterous commercials featuring snooty people saying, "Pah-don me, do you have any Grey Poupon?"
Oh yes, that and its ridiculously silly name. I'm not too old for a little scatological humour, and calling your product "poop on" and expecting people not to go scatological is really asking too much.
Especially when your product is mustard. And mustard... well, have you ever changed a baby's diaper?
Mmmm... love those yummy condiments...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It's not so much the soft-core "Emmanuelle" that appeals, though that is in and of itself an awesome name, so much as the spectacular surname, which is pronounced "shrieky". That is pretty awesome by itself: like Itchy and Scratchy, Shrieky sounds like a great name, perhaps for someone who is easily frightened. But 'Chriqui' is such a fabulously exotic spelling of it, that results from her Moroccan Jewish heritage. it is, apparently, an Arabic word spelt according to French phonetics. Very cool, no matter how you spell it. Though it probably decreases your fans' ability to Google you if they can't spell you... "Megan Fox" is, for example, rather more straight-forward.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
And yet, the man has a damn stupid moniker. I get that "APL" is his initials, but it doesn't explain the '.de' (Germany?) or the 'ap' or the full stops in between or the all-lower-case or the question of how on earth you're supposed to pronounce it (it kind of looks like a url). In addition, will.i.am is a pretty stupid name. But apl.de.ap certainly trumps even that. Do people call him apl.de.ap on a daily basis? Do they call him 'apl' for short? Do people confuse him with Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter?
Note: as of a month after this entry, I've noticed that almost half of the visits I get to this blog come from people googling "How to pronounce apl.de.ap". Since the answer isn't really contained here, I'll have to add it - as best as I can. I can see a few websites that say that the first part is indeed as the fruit. So it makes sense for the third part to be a reduplication of that: app, as in there's an for that. That really only lives the second half, which could be 'day' as in 'midnight come and me wan go home' or 'dee' as in 'Dee Snyder'. So that leaves us with one of the two following pronunciations:
APPLE-DAY-APP or APPLE-DEE-AP.
Do with that what you will...
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A slime mould is a particular kind of mould that, well, is slimy. Apparently, hilariously, slime moulds can make their way through mazes and control robots - at least according to a creationist website I saw (if you ask yourself why i would be scouring creationist websites, you don't know how distressed I was by the thing on my kitchen floor). Mine was bright yellow and spongy. There is a kind of slime mould called 'scrambled eggs slime mould' because it apparently looks like scrambled eggs. Then, there's 'dog vomit slime mould' - which presumably looks like, well, you know - which takes vulgarity in nomenclature to a whole new level. Honestly, why is there no punk band out there calling themselved 'Dog Vomit Slime Mould'?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
To make a long story short: somewhere in the United States (Colorado, I guess), way back in the day, it was discovered that kids had teeth that were stained brown in colour, and maybe even cracked and pitted, but had surprisingly few cavities. Through some miracle of warped logic, this was deemed a good thing and the kids were deemed lucky.
It turns out, to put the cart before the horse, that these kids were drinking water that was chock-full of fluoride. It didn’t take long before the government decided that kids everywhere should be as lucky as this bunch of Coloradans, so the fluoridation of water that is such an issue in “Dr. Strangelove” was born.
All because of a mystery condition that bore the spectacularly unlovely name “Colorado Brown Stain”.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Ever heard of the Fifth Monarchists? No? Well, neither have I. Turns out they were around in the 17th century and figured that the Apocalypse was imminent: namely, 1666. Obviously, they had egg on their faces in 1667. But it makes me happy to think that millennialist nutbars have hundreds of years of predecessors to look back on. The Wandering Jew must be ecstatic about it.
Anyway, they had a minor role in English parliamentary history when Oliver Cromwell went a little nutty, creating a republic (a ‘commonwealth’) and playing around with different kinds of government before just becoming a straight dictator. His last attempt had the awesome name “Barebone’s Parliament” not because it was particularly cash-strapped but because one of the MPs had the awesome surname “Barebone”.
Even cooler: a Fifth Monarchist (who was republican…), Mr Barebone bore the arse-kicking given name “Praise-God”. Apparently ‘phrase names’ were all the rage then.
Still cooler yet: Apparently, he was maybe possibly christened as, dig it, Unless-Jesus-Christ-Had-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebone. It’s just a pity they didn’t have birth certificates back then. Or “Hello! My Name is…” stickers.
Note: whether or not Praise-God himself bore that name, his son, an economist, certainly did. Way, I repeat, way cool.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Oh, those nutty economists. Just how nutty are those economists? Well, first they set-up two drearily-named organisations that do things that I’ll never understand but that involve money. These were the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Lone Mortgage Corporation. Perhaps as those names were tough to condense into 7-digit telephone numbers, they decided to give their acronyms cutesy pronunciations. So “FNMA” became “Fannie Mae”, which is better I guess than “Finn Ma”, what I would have come up with, and “FHLMC” became “Freddie Mac”, a stretch if I’ve ever heard one. I get the “Mac” bit, but “FHL” has pretty much nothing whatsoever to do with “Freddie”… perhaps they could have tried “Franhilda Mac”?
Oh well. Again, them wacky economists – what’re you gonna do? The thing is, though, that the FNMA and the FHLMC are so fond of their cutesy nicknames that they’ve actually rebranded themselves accordingly – ignoring the question of who would ever take a stuffed-shirt organisation seriously with a name that either is British English for ‘Vagina Possibly’ or sounds like the late Bernie Mac’s little brother.
No wonder they needed bailouts.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It turns out, however, that the Griffin family brainstorm actually produced “Mervyn”, a name which, while assuredly weird, is much more name-like than “Merv”.So on it goes to the Merles of the world. It takes a strong man to have a name that rhymes not only with “pearl” but also with “squirrel”, but for some reason fully three country-and-western singers have drawled their ways through life with the name “Merle”. And none of them decided to adopt stage names. All three of them are really Merles. So here they are, in all their glory:
Merle Haggard, an all-round awesome name that tops up the “Merle” with an adjective that means tired and rundown, and apparently has albums called “Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down” – pinnacles of nomenclatural awesomeness.
Merle Kilgore, the one I’d never heard of, though apparently he co-wrote Johnny Cash’s awesome country ‘n’ mariachi hit “Ring of Fire”, for which he’d always have a place at my table if he weren’t dead. Kilgore is an impressive name too, being a combination of two features of horror movies or, back in the nineties, an exhortation to assassinate the vice-president.
Merle Travis, the one with the plainest name and, based on Wikipedia’s assertion that ‘his lyrics often discussed the exploitation of coal miners’, the biggest dork. And to win a dork-race among Merles, well that’s saying something.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Just how sexy a city name is that? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to go to Ougadougou, just because I love it’s name so much. I mean, here is not only a kick-ass city name, but a kick-ass city name belonging to the capital of a country with a kick-ass country name.
Burkina Faso used to be called “Upper Volta”, which is kinda cute really. But it’s nowhere near as awesome as ‘Burkina Faso’, which apparently can be shortened to ‘Burkina’ in much the same way ‘Britney Spears’ can be just ‘Britney’. It’s that fab.
If you find yourself wondering whether a resident of Burkina Faso is a Burkinan or a Burkinite, both of which would be cool, the reality – Burkinabè – is simply way cooler. No idea how to pronounce it, but that grave accent where you’d expect an ague rocks my world.
When I was a kid, I figured it was pronounced “oo-ga-doo-goo” and always hoped that Hanna-Barbera would come out with a TV special called “Scooby-Doo in Ougadougou”. I was later a bit disappointed to learn it’s really “wah-ga-doo-goo”, vaguely like “wackadoo”, or in fact a bit like “cock-a-doodle-doo”. With time I’ve learnt to forgive les Burkinabè, however. And now I wouldn’t have my Ouagadougou any other way.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Which, in short, is what is so very awesome about this particular name. It is a lovely collection of cool terms for male genitalia all put together. And it’s something that you have to go to Home Depot to get, so that you can walk in wearing a manly man-apron and ask the guy there to show you where they keep their ball-peens. And he’ll show you, without even cracking a smile. That’s just how manly he is.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The world is filled with fun, exciting fruit. Few, however, have a name quite as awesome as ‘kumquat’. Apparently, it’s derived from the Chinese ‘金橘’, which means ‘golden orange’. An odd name, to say the least, as a kumquat is precisely the same colour as an orange is: namely, orange.
In other news, gold is kind of a shiny orange itself, really.
I’ve never eaten a kumquat. All that matters is its awesome name, which is formed from one naughty word and very nearly a second naughty word, but somehow isn’t that naughty sounding a word. It’s just a cool sounding word.
Wikipedia tells me that genetic mutation has created two new semi-kumquats called the ‘limequat’ and the ‘orangequat’. While lovely words themselves, they bring with them the hope that ‘quat’ will one day be a stand-alone word.