Archive for the ‘Morning names’ Category

Ancient of days

October 7, 2018

My morning name on the 5th, a line from a familiar hymn (“Come Thou Almighty King” / “Come, Thou Almighty King” / “Come Thou, Almighty King”), sung to the tune known as Moscow, Trinity, or Italian Hymn. Surely not by accident, an album of familiar hymns was playing on my iTunes when I woke up — but “Come Thou Almighty King” had not been played. Yet. While I was checking the playlist on my computer the hymn came up. So I seem to have been prescient.

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Mornings in Greece and Rome

September 17, 2018

Two morning names: from the 8th, the Greek dessert wine mavrodaphne; and from the 9th, the garment peplum (the ancient Roman garment, based on the Greek peplos; the modern flounce in women’s clothing — and more).

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Stick insects and tree crickets

September 1, 2018

Today’s morning name: stick insect (creatures from my insect-collecting childhood):


(#1) The strong stick insect, Anchiale briareus

Fascinating creatures, with long bodies and camouflage coloration — brown like sticks, green like leaves.

Probably in my mind from a Facebook query by Georgia Morgan on the 30th about a long-bodied brownish insect that had turned up on a screen in her Brattleboro VT house. Which, as it turned out, was a tree cricket, not a stick insect.

A celebrated kid riddle:

Q: What’s long, brown, and sticky?

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Swiss art supplies in the morning

August 31, 2018

Today’s morning name: Caran d’Ache. A Swiss art supplies company specializing in pencils. With a complex linguistic and social history behind its name. There will be cartoons as well. (No food, sex, music, or plants, but you can’t have everything. On the other hand, there will be clowns and some chemistry / materials science.)


(#1) The box for a 40-color selection of pencils, proudly flying the Swiss flag

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Mandarin orange at the Malamute Saloon

August 30, 2018

Yesterday’s morning names. I have a ghost of a clue as to why Mandarin oranges came to me at dawn, but the Malamute Saloon is a total mystery.

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Morning names: Hai Karate, Dirk Diggler

August 18, 2018

(The Dirk Diggler section has some plain talk about men’s bodies — penises here, penises there, penises everywhere — so some readers might want to skip that section.)

Yesterday morning, the cheap men’s aftershave of the 1960s, Hai Karate, with an ad campaign that’s hard to forget (nerdy guys karate-chopping away hot models who were irrestistibly drawn to them by the powerful fumes of their Hai Karate). And then this morning, at the tail of an elaborate  character-rich dream, the dream me discovered he was actually the son of Dirk Diggler, the supremely porn-named porn star character in two movies (the mockumentary The Dirk Diggler Story and the dramatic narrative film Boogie Nights).

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Charlotte

July 17, 2018

Today’s morning name. Charlotte NC, on my mind presumably because it’s being (controversially) considered as the host city for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Then Charlottesville VA (home of the University of Virginia and site of a white supremacist rally that turned deadly back in January) and Charlottetown (capital of PEI). And, finally the Queen Charlotte Islands in BC. The similarity in names — which led me also to the Charles River in Boston and Cambridge (with MIT, Harvard, and Boston University on its banks), the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, and picturesque Charleston SC (location of a 2015 race-based mass shooting) — turns out not be be accidental; it’s all about Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III. She will take us eventually to Handel, J.C. Bach, and Mozart, not to mention Rutgers University.

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In the morning: the B list actor and the scholar

May 26, 2018

On the 20th, the morning name was W. Sidney Allen; if you’re not a linguist or a classicist, you’ve almost surely never heard of him — but then great scholars rarely work in the spotlights of public attention. On the 25th, the morning name was Lisa Whelchel, an actor you would probably recognize under the name of her most famous role: Blair Warner in the American tv sitcom The Facts of Life. So, in the penumbra of the spotlights, a B list celebrity.

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Involuntary memory

May 26, 2018

From Day 2 (May 25th) of the 2018 Association for Psychological Science’s convention in San Francisco:

“For many years, involuntary memories were ignored. I’m here to tell you what we have learned about this intriguing phenomenon,” said APS Board Member Dorthe Berntsen in the 2018 Presidential Symposium. Berntsen’s multi-decade body of research on this unique form of autobiographical memory has shown the wide-ranging influence of the memories that simply pop into our heads without intentional retrieval. She presented an impressive body of experimental findings on the role of involuntary memory across the lifespan in humans as well as in apes.

For some time, I’ve been collecting examples of one particular form of involuntary memory in my life — morning names, the expressions that come to me unbidden when I rise in the morning. There’s a Page on this blog listing my postings on them. So it’s nice to discover that there’s actually a research community working on involuntary memories.

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haws, hawthorns, Haworth, Haworthia, Hawick

May 8, 2018

Today’s morning name was Haworthia, the genus of some attractive succulent plants. Named for a person named for a place (celebrated for its Brontë connections) named for the hawthorn bush or tree (Crataegus), which bears haws as its fruit. Incidentally, Haworth (/ˈhæwɜːrθ/), in Yorkshire, led me by spelling to Hawick (remarkably, pronounced /ˈhɔɪk/), in Scotland, though apparently it’s hawks in Hawick vs. haws in Haworth.

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