Four new names that caught my attention:
Mansion is the unapologetically 1 percent-ish name of the Wall Street Journal’s new weekly section devoted to “high-end property.” In a letter to WSJ subscribers, managing editor Robert Thomson said Mansion would be “the home of both aspiration and real-estate realization.” I look forward to the quarterly spin-off, Car Elevator.
What the fut was Alaska Telecom thinking when it renamed itself Futaris? This, apparently: “Based on the word future, Futaris represents limitless possibilities and progress.” Funny, because when I look at this sad excuse for a logo, I see “futility.”
(Hat tip: @IgorNaming.)
UPDATE: Reader Dan Freiberg suggests that “this variation helps with pronunciation, and works better with the symbol.”
Juniper is a new subscription service for women who don’t own calendars. Oh, sorry: it’s “a monthly care package” consisting of tampons (five brands are offered) and a collection of “gourmet sweets and artisan savory treats.” (Yes, it’s that word!) “Never panic shop again,” says the home-page copy. The price, however, may cause cramping: $28 a month. I couldn’t find a story behind the name—which is lovely in its nondescriptive way—but I’m wondering whether founder Lynn Tao, young as she appears to be, is a Donovan fan. Remember “Jennifer Juniper,” who “longs for what she lacks”?
UPDATE: Mystery solved (although I’m still fond of my own theory):
I’m even more mystified by Tassafaronga Village, a mixed-income residential development in East Oakland that I learned about this week via a New York Times story. There’s no explanation of the name in the story or on the website of the architect, David Baker, so I tried to dig deeper. I learned that Tassafaronga Point, on Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands), was the site of several naval engagements between US and Japanese forces during World War II. But that wasn’t very helpful: the housing project is meant to heal a troubled neighborhood, so why name it after a bloody, 70-year-old series of battles? And why the Melanesian reference in Oakland, where Pacific Islanders make up less than 1 percent of the population?
It’s certainly a distinctive name, fun to say if a little challenging to spell. Here’s hoping someone who knows the whole story reads this post and leaves a comment that clears up the mystery.
UPDATE: It took less than half an hour to get an answer to my question about Tassafaronga. See comments below from Gene, proprietor of the excellent Our Oakland blog.
The name is historical; the nearby rec center has had the name since before the latest project began. (Why they didn't rename it is a different question.)
According to the article I found, the U.S. government developed the area as temporary housing for WWII shipyard workers, and the name honors "...a South Pacific World War II battle of dubious distinction."
Posted by: Gene | October 12, 2012 at 08:22 AM
I helped build the Habitat for Humanity homes that are part of the project, so I had several years to get used to the name.
Posted by: Gene | October 12, 2012 at 08:26 AM
Posted by: Nancy Friedman | October 12, 2012 at 08:27 AM
Maybe the Juniper people will buy out this new app start-up: /2012/10/mobile-tampon-app-at-harvard
Posted by: Karen | October 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Karen: I dunno -- a deal like that could have strings attached.
Posted by: Nancy Friedman | October 12, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Mobile tampon applicator?
Posted by: empty | October 12, 2012 at 08:32 PM