Friday, June 16, 2006

We're Running Out

We are officially running out of names. Not just for children, although that’s gotten completely out of hand lately (check Ollie’s blog for a list of this year’s celebrity ridiculousness), but for cars and bands as well.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be inside of something called a Yaris. According to the official Toyota site, “Yaris stems from a goddess in Greek mythology, named Charis, who was a symbol of beauty and elegance. We used the German expression of agreement, “ya”, because we think this new name best symbolizes the car's broad appeal in styling and is representative of Toyota’s next generation of global cars.” Yeah, OK. It’s a little too close to yonic for my taste, which is the opposite of phallic in case you didn’t know.

Totally OT, but did you know that yahoo is a real word? According to this site put together by a literature professor, it means “A coarse, filthy, smelly, bestial, barbaric, bipedal creature only vaguely resembling a human. Jonathan Swift coined the term in Gulliver's Travels, applying it to a race of humanoid brutes in contrast with the civilized race of intelligent horses, the Houyhnhnms. One wonders what the internet search engine Yahoo thus implies about its users.” Indeed. Good thing I always use the other one.

Then there’s the new Honda Fit. It’s not so much the name that bugs me as much as the first slogan “The Fit is go”. WTF? I guess it didn’t translate well from Japanese to English.

There’s also the Dodge Nitro, the Ford Edge, the Nissan Versa and the Volkswagen Eos. Not only are the names dumb, but they aren't even interesting. Why come out with a new car that looks like something else already on the road? And where's my flying car already?

This MSNBC article from August 2004 asks if U.S. drivers are ready for tiny Smart cars...since it's now almost 3 years later and they still aren't ready for U.S. freeways, my guess is no. I would love one of these things. They aren't very practical for long distances, but for city driving and quick trips, I think it's perfect. Here's a picture of me standing next to one that was parked next to Marie Antoinette's private residence on the grounds of Versailles, one of many we saw in England and France on our honeymoon in August 2000. Would you buy one?

Moving on...over the past several months I’ve been compiling a list of the most unusual, interesting and ridiculous band names that I’ve come across. They fall into several categories, the first one is names that are clever puns, wordsmithing or parodies of other band names:

Trailer Park Rangers (genious!)
The Wailin’ Jennys
The Velvet Teen
The Tender Box
The Bloody Hollies
Ether Aura
They Might Be Vaginas (the song was called Party of 5 In My Underpants – really awful song, but loved the name)
Archers of Loaf
Duck & Cover

…then there’s the nonsensical names:
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Neutral Milk Hotel
Gorilla Biscuits

…and the ones just looking for shock value:
Goblin Cock
Butthole Surfers
Screaming Foetus
Pretty Girls Make Graves

…and the ones that follow a naming convention of some sort:
Bon Savants
Go-Kart Mozart (extra credit if you get the reference for this one)
The Dead Milkmen
The Moping Swans
Heartless Bastards
Kitchens of Distinction
Gustav & The Seasick Sailors
Kind of Like Spitting
Fat Tulips
Scissors for Lefty
Evil Dick & The Congregation
Vulgar Boatmen

I’m not passing judgment on these bands or their music (except for the aforementioned TMBV), in fact I’m a fan of some of this music. Maybe my true calling is in etymology. There's no money in it though.

The Wailin' Jennys -- This is Where m4a
Go-Kart Mozart -- Donna & The Dopefiends mp3
(right click, Save Target As)


  1. Add Blind Melon, Him, and Slipknot.

    Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann's Earth Band

    I'm so old.

  2. And the Swollen Members.

    I too, feel rather old. :>

  3. I have a friend who's dying to have a Smart Car - as soon as they are available here in the U.S. and at a reasonable price, she really is thinking she'll get one.

  4. Toad the Wet Sprocket was actually from a skit by Eric Idle (Monty Python). It was a music show skit, and he made the name up--then before long someone used that name for their real band.

    I really love the Fit is Go campaign. It goes right to the heart of internet geeks. "All your base are belong to us"esque.

    But Yaris? Yeah, that sounds like something doc worked on in my last laparoscopy. "Looks like you had endometriosis all over the Yaris Minor."

  5. I love the smart cars too. WE'll never have them here, I think. "Pretty Girls Make Graves" - (oh really) from the Smiths...

  6. I forgot to comment on the smart car bit. We've had them here in Canada for awhile now - the former Big Boss had one and my employer has several. They don't look much like the picture - they're all prettied up for the market here. Sorta cute, but weird. And honestly, I don't know how much protection they afford in the event of a crash.

    I was considering one for awhile, but I think we're leaning towards the Honda Civic now.

  7. Hell yeah, I would get one of those cars...they look like they were made for me. I might even be able to see over the steering wheel.
    No surprise here, but I have quite a few of those bands cds. Woohoo me! A few I hadn't heard of. I find Heartless Bastards and Scissors for Lefty quite amusing. But you forgot Psychotic Pineapple. hehehe

  8. We're probably going to buy a Fit. Better gas mileage than the Yaris, which reportedly doesn't go up hills well...alas. Smart Cars are great too, although I've never liked their trim. Oh well!

    Strawberry Switchblade
    Big In Japan
    Panic!At the Disco
    Queens of the Stone Age
    And They Shall Know Them By The Trail Of Their Dead (wicked awesome, no?)

  9. Go-Kart Mozart is from "Blinded by the Light" but Manfred Mann's Earth Band just did a cove. The song was written by Bruce Springsteen & appers on his first album, "Greetings from Asbury Park."

    I'm old too. Yikes.

  10. Wow, Jenny, I had no idea that was a Springsteen song! You really do learn something every day...

    P.S. How did you find my blog (just curious)?

  11. What does the Archers of Loaf mean? I'm not getting that as a play on words so I must be missing something :)