Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

Morning name: a playful portmanteau

February 22, 2015

This morning’s name (which just popped into my head; I’m pretty sure I’d never seen or heard it before) was the playful Elrond Hubbard, which has been adopted by a fair number of people on the net — for instance, a fictional character with a Facebook account:

Elrond Hubbard is a renowned science fiction author and prophet. His mother was an elf and his father was an alien from a master race. He claims the face on Mars is of his father.

And in a Twitter account for @Elrond_Hubbard:

By truly believing in Scientology, you too can be an immortal Elf.


Morning names: Alan Ayckbourn, Teddy Ruxpin

February 20, 2015

Yesterday, Alan Ayckbourn (the playwright). Today, Teddy Ruxpin (the toy).


Morning name: Dana Delany

February 18, 2015

Monday’s “morning name” was Dana Delany. From Wikipedia:

Dana Welles Delany (born March 13, 1956) is an American film, stage, and television actress, producer, presenter, and health activist.

Delany has been active in show business since the late 1970s. Following small roles early in her career, Delany garnered her first leading role in 1987 in the short-lived NBC sitcom Sweet Surrender and achieved wider fame in 1988–1991 as Colleen McMurphy on the ABC television show China Beach, for which she won two Emmy Awards…

… From 2007 to 2010 Delany played Katherine Mayfair on the ABC series Desperate Housewives.

She was amazing in China Beach (and won two Emmys for her work there).


Morning name: calabash

February 15, 2015

My “morning name” a few days ago: calabash. Probably primed by this soup entry on the menu at the Palo Alto restaurant Reposado:

SOPA DE CALABAZA DE TEMPORADA: Roasted butternut squash, chipotle, hoja santa crema, toasted pumpkin seeds

Following Spanish calabaza will lead us to two quite different sets of calabash plants and their products. Yes, I will eventually get to Calabasas CA and to “Good night, Mrs. Calabash”.


Journalists and their names

February 11, 2015

Late last week, the Stanford Linguistic Department’s assistant e-mailed me about a phone call (for me) that had come into the department: a Mr. Ethics, representing a magazine, wanted to talk to me about a story he was working on, and left a New York City phone number.

I tried to check on this fellow Ethics, to no avail, until I realized that the assistant (who is very good at her job, but is not a native speaker of English) had almost surely gotten the name wrong. Eventually I figured out that the man’s name was Essex, not the unlikely Ethics. By then the day was over in New York City; in any case, I thought the phone call to my department was an ominous sign.


Two more morning names

February 11, 2015

Morning names from recent days: drugs and food.


Two more morning names

February 6, 2015

Thursday’s memorable morning name was Mitzi Kapture (the actress), Friday’s was Piggly Wiggly (the supermarket).


Three morning names

February 3, 2015

I occasionally post about my “morning names” — names that I wake up with stuck in my head, for no reason I can fathom. Today’s morning name was Jensen Ackles, an actor I’ve already written about on this blog (on 8/21/13). But: on Saturday, the social psychologist Bibb Latané; on Sunday, the actor Pat Buttram (noted for cowboy and hayseed roles); and yesterday, the hayseed performer Judy Canova.

The last two will lead me to reflect on farm folk as comic characters, and the last to the 1937 movie Artists and Models, with its mixture of “high” and “low” characters.


Type names and individual names

January 31, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy turns on names of types vs. names of individuals, in the world of cars:

Mercedes and Lexus are the names of types (makes) of cars. But you can easily give individual cars their own “personal” names, as many people do. Nothing illegal about using the same (Mercedes) or similar (Lexus / Lexis) names in the two cases, but yes, potentially misleading. (On the other hand, the type names are count nouns, and occur with determiners — a Mercedes — while the individual names are anarthrous — Mercedes — so the syntax normally disambiguates the senses.)

Snidely Whiplash

January 27, 2015

As I post here from time to time, I often wake up with a name stuck in my head, usually for no reason I can discern. Today it was Snidely Whiplash, a wonderful name for a villain. And villain he is.



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