Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The interrobang is a punctuation symbol. It's nothing sensational, or even all that useful really. It's a combination exclamation point and question mark. It does exactly what putting them side-by-side would do: show shocked questioning; a single symbol to do two jobs. Okay, in other words, vaguely, marginally, theoretically useful. Like, for example, in the following sentence:

"They called it an 'interrobang'‽"

As far as silly names for symbols go, this beats the clumsy 'octothorpe' (#), which really has only that pretentious silent 'e' going for it. This awesome word, however, is a portmonteau of, as far as I can tell, 'interrogation', which means 'question', and 'bang', which is an onomatopoeic noise that might well be punctuated with an exclamation point. No matter, it's just a great word that would also be an awesome band name. If I have a son, I just might name him 'interrobang'.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Frank Zappa's children

How could I have forgotten about this one? By now it's all but expected that if you're a celebrity you'll give your child a bizarre name. I don't know why exactly this is, but the Apples and Moxie Crimefighters of the world have much older people to look up to. Going right back to 1967, Frank Zappa had already started the trend. Let's look at the four children in full:

Moon Unit Zappa was born in 1967. She prefers to go just by Moon, as Unit is her middle name.

Dweezil Zappa was born in 1969. The hospital refused to register him as Dweezil, so he was registered as Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. He's since had his name legally changed to Dweezil.

Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa was born in 1974, and has a relatively normal name. At least, Ahmet is a normal name. Can't say much about his middle names.

Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa was born in 1979, and certainly got the worst of the bunch. There's nothing wrong with 'Diva' itself - it's actually a pretty name. But it's all downhill from there as we get to the middle names. Poor girl.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Honkin' on Bobo"

Aerosmith, not my favourite band. I mean, they've done a few good songs, but it seems like they've never overcome their status as discount-Rolling-Stones. Or, of course, their status as should-have-retired-long-ago (but I repeat myself).

Doesn't matter what I think of them, really. Sooner or later, as all rock bands do, they get the idea to release a 'blues album'. These inevitably consist of covers of classic blues songs (or, alternately, covers of Led Zeppelin covers of classic blues songs). Aerosmith went ahead and did theirs in 2004, long after most people had stopped paying attention to them.

Whatever. I've never heard the album, so I have no idea whether or not it's any good. But my prejudices definitely turn against the possibility of it being good, seeing as it has such a god-awful name (not a fair assumption, I concede). Wikipedia tells me that 'honkin' on bobo' refers to oral sex. This tidbit of info takes a truly terrible album name and lend to it entirely new vistas of horrible.

I... er... I'm trying to start a new paragraph, but I keep shuddering at the thought of just how truly horrible it would be to ever, ever attempt to use the phrase 'honkin' on bobo' to refer to oral sex. Like, perhaps as a bit of bedroom talk: “Hey, baby, would you mind honkin' on bobo a little bit?” Gah. Steven Tyler, you've ruined my innocence. And my appetite.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Canaan Banana"

I'm putting the picture I usually use to accompany these texts at the bottom this time, because I'd like you for a moment to ask yourself just what 'Canaan Banana' might be. It's so evocative a name that, shy of being a brand name for yellow seedless fruit, it could be almost anything. While it could be the name of, for example a clothing company or a movie of some sort, its mixture of religious geography and yummy fruit actually describes a man. Canaan Banana is the name of a man.

And quite a person indeed - the first president of Zimbabwe, the nation born out of the ashes of Ian Smith's horrible apartheid state of Rhodesia. His prime minister, Robert Mugabe, went on after Banana's departure from politics to mess up the country real good, but during Banana's time it was seen as a guiding light for the rest of Africa, and Banana was seen as that light's torchbearer. Among other things, he was a Methodist minister, he wrote Prince Charles a poem, he wrote a book called The Gospel According to the Ghetto (and once said, "When I see a guerilla, I see Jesus Christ"). He had a wife named Janet Banana. He was arrested for sodomy and ended his life a political pariah. Most awesome, and significant, of all, he had a law enacted forbidding people from making fun of his name.

Can't see why he needed it. That is one first-class name.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Okay, so I'm late to the party on this one. Sue me - I was 'afk' for a month or so... it happens. Anyway, for me, the most noteworthy thing about the name of Apple's new I-don't-care-what-it-is-exactly-as-I'll-never-own-one is not merely its similarity to female hygiene products. More to the point, to me what grates about the name is how it plays into Apple's increasingly ridiculous policy of naming everything it makes with a lower case i out front, regardless of whether or not it makes sense. I guess it all began with the iMac, which was of course a variant of its very successful Mac(intosh) line of computers. So instead of coming up with some name like 'Mac XQW' or 'Mac 21', they put the identifying marker before the name. Clever. There was also, apparently, an 'eMac'. Yay. Apparently, the Wiki page tells me, the 'i' was meant to stand for 'internet' or 'individual' - that second one being particularly iRonic, as they've spread that letter all across the place.

It's probably the iPod that's most famous among non-Apple-geeks, and its virus-cum-computer-programme twin iTunes. But the iPhone is well-known too. Among things you've probably never heard of, there's iSight, iLife, iWork, iFund and, connected with the iPad, iBooks and iBookstore. All overseen by Mr. iJobs. iThinkitsridiculous.
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