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Book and Pills

You’ll do yourself a favor by reading Half of a Yellow Sun. K’s reading the book now, so I’m not going to publish a review yet. Suffice it to say for now, it’s really good. While you’re waiting for your local indie bookstore to open and sell it to you, or for your library to lend it, you can read up on the Biafran War.

I’ve been obsessing about corporate names lately, probably since the Optiva mess has brought the problem of meaninglessness “give us a chance to make it mean something” neologisms to my doorstep. Sure, cars and pharmaceuticals have had nonsense names for decades—and the naming now is surely more difficult than it was in 2003. The associations our credit union president tried to convince us with on Optiva were lousy (especially diversity), but there are other, better brands signified by nonsense words. Perhaps there is none better than Viagra, a word which which, though it has no roots, nevertheless has linguistic similarities that support its use: not only Niagara (the Power!), but also vigor, vital, agriculture, growth. But what to do with something like Vaniqa? It’s a hair remover, fine, so vanish, sure. But why not vanity? It seems to me it would be in a trademarker’s best interest to pick something with no bad—in fact, entirely opposite associations from what you want. For more reading, Mark Liberman at Language Log pondered similar trademark questions some time ago. Meanwhile, in light of all this, we’re a smart bunch around here. We can come up with some better drug—or bank!—names than these guys, can’t we?



I mostly just wanted to recommend the book, so you know.

I’ve wanted to write about the Foley scandal, but haven’t got to it. It’s certainly reprehensible. I’ve been particularly incensed by the vile, opportunistic bobbleheads (like this one) who’ve decided the best way to go after it is to go all culturewar and blame gay men for all the evils of society. I mean, I do trust you Scott: I know you gays plan this stuff way in advance, but still. Anyway, during the week I was happy to hear this essay Wednesday.

I didn’t realize it, but one of my links above—the reprinted Times article—is to a naming company, Igor International. The company has a blog. Its sensibility, fortunately, is as good as its own name; Igor would never have recommended Optiva. I think.

For a bank: How about Virtunus? Sounds vaguely Latin and therefore classy and erudite. The connection to virtue is unmistakable. This is a bank which one can trust, and which will not make rash decisions with money, such as shelling out six-figure sums for useless mumbo jumbo cooked up by former communication/marketing/PR majors.

Now where’s my six-figure check?

I’ve been wanting to write on the Foley scandal as well, but want to vomit every time I think about the scandal, the cover up, but most of all, the media coverage. I leave it to you, Greg.

And yes, things went according to plan. We gays just screwed up a little and got caught again. Damn. There’s always next time.

Whoa. right now on wapo.com there’s a picture of a podium in the White House. They’re going to stream GWB’s North Korea speech. I am surprisingly relieved to know that what he says will probably be impotent bluster.

Wow. Every word in that speech was hollow and meaningless. Great job, GWB.

I think we should invade.

And as for the Foley mess, I just ran across this article.

I caught a similar argument last week, made next to a photo on a 16yo Scarlett Johansson.

3 (I swear I didn’t intend to invite a game and then decide not to play; it just happened that way): For a nonprofit member of United Way, Charitrix.