Origins of Band Names

And here’s a list of the origins of band names:

  • Spandau Ballet was a Nazi guards’ term for the contortions of Jewish prisoners being gassed to death. There was a large gas chamber in the city of Spandau.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers were originally called Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.
  • Pantera is Portuguese for “panther.”
  • Oingo Boingo is Swahili for “thinking while dancing.”
  • The Eagles were originally going to call themselves Teen King and the Emergencies.
  • Def Leppard got its name from Joe Elliot’s drawing of a leopard with no ears.

I always wondered about that last one. What a stupid name.

Hang On Sloopy

Apparently Ohio’s official state rock song is “Hang On Sloopy.”

I don’t know if that’s the best song that ever came out of Ohio, but the resolution that proposed it is priceless:

If fans of jazz, country-and-western, classical, Hawaiian and polka music think those styles also should be recognized by the state, then by golly, they can push their own resolution just like we’re doing.

Washington has better taste — it chose “Louie Louie.”

Self-Defense With a Cane

Here’s a little light reading before you go strolling downtown: “Self-Defence With a Walking-Stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself With a Walking-Stick or Umbrella When Attacked Under Unequal Conditions.” It originally ran in Pearson’s Magazine in January 1901.

Apparently those things were pretty deadly: If you use your wrists and swing from the hip, “it is possible to sever a man’s jugular vein through the collar of his overcoat.”

Unusual Personal Names

http://www.sxc.hu/index.phtmlA memo to every parent who’s ever lived: Giving your kid a special name does not make him special. It never has. It never will.

You know what I mean. It’s one thing to give yourself a screwy moniker. Body-modification enthusiasts have changed their names to Swirly Wanx Sinatra, Grenade Bee of Death, and RooRaaah Mew Crumbs, among other things, and there’s a U.S. Army Ohio National Guard firefighter who named himself Optimus Prime. That’s fine, you’re the one who has to live with it.

It’s worse when you inflict a harebrained epithet on a newborn, who will have to drag it through life like a neon hairshirt. Celebrities are notorious experts at this. Sylvester Stallone named his kid named Sage Moonblood. Jason Lee’s son is named Pilot Inspektor. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter Apple. And Welsh TV personality Paula Yates had daughters named Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom, Pixie, and Heavenly Hirrani Tiger Lily.

This does nothing but embarrass the kid, and it’s not even original. In the late 17th century there was actually a member of the British parliament named Isaac Praise-God Barebone. And that’s nothing — he had brothers and sons named Fear-God Barebone, Jesus-Christ-Came-Into-The-World-To-Save Barebone, and If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebone. The last changed his name — I just love this — to Nicholas.

Of course, the parents see it differently, and a few have even gone to court to defend these monstrosities. In 1996 a Danish woman decided to name her son Christophpher, and she paid more than $45,000 in court fines for not using a government-sanctioned name. In the same year a Swedish family named its child Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced “Albin”), claiming it’s “a pregnant, expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation.” The court still charged them $680.

If you’re going to do this, fine, but at least be practical. Comedian Louis C.K. recommends naming your kid Ladies and Gentlemen. (“Ladies and Gentlemen, please!”) And Bill Cosby says, “Always end the name of your child with a vowel — so that when you yell, the name will carry.”

Vischeck

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Parrot.red.macaw.1.arp.750pix.jpgUpload any image and Stanford’s Vischeck program will show you how a color-blind person would see it.

The program lets you choose among three flavors of color blindness. This macaw appears as a protanope would see it, someone who can’t distinguish between colors in the green-yellow-red section of the spectrum.

About 10 percent of American men have some deficiency in color perception, but it’s not always a handicap. In some situations it’s actually an advantage: Color-blind hunters are unusually good at picking out prey against a confusing background, and color-blind soldiers can sometimes “see through” camouflage that fools everyone else.

In fact, it’s possible that in extreme situations we’re all color-blind. Some people claim that in extreme emergencies, like a train or aircraft crash, the brain’s visual system suspends color processing and switches to black and white. If that’s true, then designers should pay even more attention to the color of emergency brake handles, phones, etc.

If you’re interested, the Stanford page can also display your Web page as the color-blind would see it, and it even offers free PhotoShop plugins so you can experiment further.

Unusual Deaths

  • Sherwood Anderson swallowed a toothpick at a party and died of peritonitis.
  • Francis Bacon died of pneumonia after stuffing a chicken with snow.
  • Jack Daniel, the distillery founder, kicked his safe when he forgot its combination, injured his toe, and died of blood poisoning.
  • Actress Isadora Duncan broke her neck when her scarf caught in a car’s wheel.
  • Tour de France winner François Faber was in a trench in World War I when he learned his wife had given birth to a daughter. He cheered and a German sniper picked him off.
  • Jockey Frank Hayes died of a heart attack during a race in 1923. The horse finished first, making Hayes the only dead jockey ever to win a race.
  • Pope John XXI died when his scientific laboratory collapsed in 1277.

The all-time winner is still the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, who survived being poisoned, shot multiple times in the head and torso, bludgeoned, mutilated, wrapped in a sheet and dropped in a frozen river. He was swimming to shore when he died of hypothermia.