In honor of Thanksgiving, a multi-course menu of links.
NamingFellow namer Anthony Shore, formerly of Landor, has been writing terrific stuff on his blog, Operative Words. He recently published the English translation of his interview with Grasp, a Spanish naming blog. No permalinks (what's up with that, Anth?), so look for Part 1 on Nov. 9 and Part 2 on Nov. 10.
I've also been enjoying Beg to Differ, from Canadian brand consultancy Brandvelope. I recommend the three-part series on how to name a chicken sandwich, about Brandvelope's work with KFC Canada. (The link goes to Part 1; scroll down to find links to the other posts.)Slang
In a recent column, Jon Carroll elliptically referred to the number 66 as "double boxcars," a term Jon says he learned from Herb Caen, the late Chronicle columnist. That sent me to The Google, where I discovered not just the origin of "double boxcars"—a rolled pair of sixes—but an entire glossary of craps terms. Did you know that "yo" means "eleven"? It's short for "yo-leven."
This glossary of narco-terms from Mexico's drug war is more macabre but no less fascinating. A plaza, for example, is "not the quaint public square you see in nearly every Mexican town, but rather any defined drug marketplace, such as a smuggling point." (Via my brother Michael.)
I've made something of a study of fake brands on The Simpsons (see my Brand-o-Rama posts from 2007, 2008, and 2009), but I wasn't familiar with some of "The 14 Most Awesome Fake Products on The Simpsons." TUBBB!, for example, consisted of "nothing but the white cream filling from Oreos." (Via Karen.)
Speaking of "awesome"
"Our generation is either in a state of near-perpetual awe, or in a state of a complete lack of awe. What’s more probable, and less tongue-in-cheek, is that the word’s meaning has simply devalued. And I mean no value judgement. It is arguably as pointless to bemoan a shift in lexical meaning as it is to gripe at the rising tide for turning your sandcastle into an amorphous lump." Irish blogger Stan Carey on the awe-purpose adjective: "How Awesome Is Awesome?"
Attention, academics: Use this sentence generator (from the U. of Chicago's writing program, believe it or not) for your next paper, or even your dissertation, and no one, including you, will be the wiser. Here's a sample: "The reification of pop culture opens a space for the ideology of linguistic transparency."
A generatorpalooza for writers! Name that gnome, that female French character, that Chinese restaurant, that "lurid imprecation." Generatrix Manon says: "Many of my generators deal either with the fantasy genre or with Les Misérables, of which I am inordinately fond." There are also links to off-site generators. Knock yourself out.
This title scorer from print-on-demand publisher Lulu claims to be based on the study of 50 years' worth of fiction bestsellers. Don't take it too seriously, though. The fine print says: "For all the work that went it, the Lulu Titlescorer is capable of giving high scores to titles that most of us would rate as weird, if not terrible. Meanwhile, of course, it also gives low scores to the titles of novels (e.g. The Da Vinci Code) which, in fact, topped the New York Times bestseller list for long periods." (Via NancyCC.)
Speaking of books
From College Humor, classic titles made sarcastic with quotation marks, e.g., The Red Badge of "Courage." You'll need to create an account to view the comments. (Via Karen, again!)
And speaking of the literati
I'm honored to be included in "100 Best Blogs for the Literati," compiled by OnlineCourses.org. I'm in very impressive company, from The Warhol Influence (self-explanatory) to Diapsalmata (digital humanities, book history, writing technologies, and more), to Bookgasm ("reading material to get excited about"). The list also includes some of my favorite linguistics blogs: Language Log, Language Hat, Wordlustitude, and A Way with Words.
And for dessert
Peach Melba, Lady Baltimore cake, Charlotte Russe, Bananas Foster, and other eponymous desserts, explained (and charmingly illustrated) by CakeSpy. Recipes, too. Did you know that German chocolate cake isn't from Germany?