Revisiting 19: more proxy names

Following up on my 10/20/18 posting “Numbers and names”, where I wrote:

The current avalanche of comments spam comes from a proxies site that creates random usernames for its comments from a gigantic database of names, thus producing many entertaining FN + LN combinations.

Another wave in recent days. Yesterday’s comments spam queue began with:

Frank Gwilt, Sebastian Tentler, Dovie Weasel

I was especially taken by Dovie Weasel, combining a high-positive FN (referring to the bird conventionally associated with peace and love) and a high-negative LN (referring to the conventionally deceitful small furry mammal). Later that day came the remarkable Shawnee Handshoe, which I merely note in wonder here.

Background. Systems for inventing names abound. From my 4/18/09 posting “NPR names”:

people began to devise formulas for [systematically] generating porn names and drag names, involving your childhood pet’s name (a female pet, for a drag name), your mother’s maiden name, the name of the street you lived on as a child, and similar items, in various combinations.

… [And then] a system for creating our own NPR Names.  Here’s how it works: You take your middle initial and insert it somewhere into your first name.  Then you add on the smallest foreign town you’ve ever visited.

Then there are the proxy names, generated randomly on proxy spam sites from an obviously mind-bogglingly large database of names. Two postings about specific proxy names:

on 2/2/18, “Computer annals: Reyes Korzybski and the avalanche of spam”

on 3/13/18, “Zane Grills”

Then to Dovie Weasel, a name that stood out because of my friend, the applied linguist and fellow Palo Altan Dovie Wylie (more on her below). The name Dovie was aparently moderately popuar in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a sweetly sentimental name for a woman, but then fell out of favor. Weasel, in contrast, comes burdened with the metaphorical ‘deceitful or treacherous person’ (NOAD) sense of weasel, animals in the genus Mustela having bad reputations.


The weasel’s bloodlust is instinctual and triggered by movement. Even on a full belly, a weasel will kill anything that moves and looks like prey. … Tiny weasels have been seen killing and carrying off animals twice, four times, and even 10 times their size. (link)

Dovie Wylie, in contrast, is a person of excellent reputation. After her undergraduate education at Penn (in 1963-67), she went on to an MA at San Jose State in 1 979 and a PhD in linguistics at Stanford in 1 989 (dissertation: The Structure of Monologue Discourse in English). She’s the owner of On-Site English, based in Palo Alto, which “has provided training, coaching, consulting, and editing services since 1979”.

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