Celebrities Who Share My Name

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.

I once worked with a guy who shared my last name. People would sometimes ask if this tall, dark-headed Caucasian man and I — a pasty white chick — were related. I always answered, “Yes, our family lines are connected through Danny Glover.”

It usually took a while for people to catch on to my brand of humor. Believe me, I look nothing like Danny Glover, nor am I even six degrees of separation from the actor (that I know of). But it’s cool to think about famous people who share your surname.

So today, I give you a few of my favorite, famous Glovers. Let’s just imagine I’m related in some distant fashion to them all.

Crispin Glover. You know him better as George McFly of Back to the Future, although he’s done plenty of acting since then.

Crispin Glover
Crispin Glover, as George McFly

Corey Glover. This guy easily gets my vote as one of the best rock singers ever. He fronted the band Living Colour. I believe their “Cult of Personality” should be on everyone’s iPod.

Corey Glover
Corey Glover, of Living Colour
by Alex Lozupone (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Danny Glover. I’ve never seen a Lethal Weapon movie, but I still love this actor. He’s excellent in every role he takes on.

Danny Glover
Danny Glover, in Psych

Donald Glover. As one of the cast members of Community, this young man has brought a lot of style and humor to the show.

Donald Glover
Donald Glover, in Community

Roger Glover. Bass guitarist for Deep Purple. Okay, so he wasn’t the one who played the famous guitar riff from “Smoke on the Water.” But still, very cool.

Roger Glover
Roger Glover, Deep Purple
By Alexandre Cardoso from Guarulhos, Brazil, via Wikimedia Commons

Savion Glover. Tap, tap! This guy won a Tony award for his performance in Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. Gregory Hines, a former teacher of his, claimed that he was the best tap dancer ever.

Savion Glover
Savion Glover, on Dancing with the Stars

Yes, I realize that ladies are woefully absent from my list. I sincerely couldn’t think of a single famous lady Glover! There’s got to be someone . . .

Meanwhile, let’s see how this Glover is doing with my weekly progress report on A Round of Words in 80 Days. Have I stayed on my toes?

ROW80 Update

I have only three main goals this round.

1. Finish YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, by completing three chapters each week. After zero progress last week, I’m happy to report that I nailed this goal. BAM! Thanks to everyone who encouraged or strong-armed me in some way.

2. Take Short Stories 101 course from Young Adult RWA. During this round, I took the course and managed to write and edit an original 9,300-word story. This past week, I did the final polish. The completed story is a young adult paranormal titled Exorcising My Sister.

3. 10 5 fiction books and 2 1 0 nonfiction books. I didn’t read any fiction this past week, and I’m still reading Grace-Filled Marriage by Tim Kimmel. However, I read all of Competability: Solving Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household by Amy Shojai. I highly recommend Amy’s book for anyone who has multiple cats in their home. I learned quite a bit and feel better able to deal with a few issues I’m having with our small feline community.

Also read this round: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, Dangerous and Unseemly by K.B. Owen, Taking Chances by S.J. Maylee, Haunted Spouse by Heather MacAllister (all fiction), and Breasts by Florence Williams (nonfiction).

Now it’s your turn. How was your week? And which celebrities share your last name?

From Model T to Mustang: Car Names

One of the recurring premises of Amaze-ing Words Wednesday is that names matter to us. I’ve covered our own personal names, town names, and rock band names. Today we’re looking at the names of cars.

The first mass-produced car was the Model T (1908-1927). Not a great name. When Henry Ford began manufacturing cars, he named them after letters. While he begin with the letter A, models were not named in sequence. But the Model T was the design that took hold and was produced on a mass assembly line and sold to the American middle class. In the 1920s, who cared what your car was called? If you had a car at all, that was something!

Photo from the Henry Ford Museum

However, automakers often chose car names that evoked a certain emotion or conveyed a mood. For instance, Chrysler manufactured the Imperial, Briggs & Stratton had the Flyer, and Rolls-Royce made the Silver Ghost.

As the 20th century unfolded and automobiles took over the roads, manufacturers chose all kinds of names for their vehicles.

Through the years, luxury cars have typically been labeled with words that convey privilege and money. For instance, the Lincoln Continental and the Buick Riviera convey a well-traveled sense of luxury. In recent years, though, these cars are typically labeled with letters and numbers, such as Mercedes M Class, BMW 5 series, Lexus SC 430, and Acura TSX.

Sports cars are given names to make us think of power, freedom, and coolness. Vehicles like Porsche Carrera (Spanish for “race”), Ford Mustang, Dodge Viper, and Chevrolet Corvette (a corvette was a small, manueverable warship) somehow make us think of speed and the open road.

Then, there are the larger off-road vehicles and SUVs with names like Range Rover, Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander. They are clearly meant to convey ruggedness and adventure.

Family vehicles don’t seem have a theme. In fact, I don’t understand many of the choices in this category. Why did Ford name it a Taurus? Are we supposed to think of a lion, a constellation, or the zodiac sign? What is a Corolla or a Camry? Does the Honda Accord make us imagine family vacations with perfect agreement and harmony, or does it relate to the unity of car parts? Nissan Maxima? Chevrolet Malibu? Volkswagen Jetta? Who knows.

Sometimes, however, we remember car names not because of how great they are, but because the names themselves come to be synonymous with their failure. For instance, what do you think of when you read the word “Yugo”? Yep, the Yugo has been nominated as one of the world’s worst cars, as it was small, cheap, and poorly made. In fact, I recall it being mocked in a scene in Dragnet (Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks; 1987). How about a Ford Pinto? Or a Ford Edsel? Do you have a favorable impression of those names? Probably not. The Pinto had a tendency to burst into flames, and the Edsel was a complete disaster.

Animals get some play in car names with the Mercury Cougar, the Corvette Stingray, the Dodge Ram, the Shelby Cobra, the Ford Bronco, the Volkswagen Rabbit, and more. Mythology has a few nods with the Pontiac Phoenix, the Buick Apollo, and the Honda Odyssey. Our space age can take some credit as well with the the Dodge Aries, the Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Ford Galaxie, the Nissan Pulsar, and the entire line of Saturn.

In case you’re wondering about what’s coming in the future, Edmunds provided a list of all-new 2012 cars. Here are their names: Audi A7, BMW Active Hybrid 5, Buick Verano, Chevrolet Sonic, Ferrari FF, Fiat 500, Hyundai Veloster, Lamborghini Aventador, Land Rover Evogue, McLaren MP4-12C, MINI Coupe, MINI Roadster, Mitsubishi i, Scion FR-S, Toyota Prius V, Volkswagen Golf R. Other than the “Sonic,” I think the car namers need to return to the drawing board.

In preparation for this post, I asked my teenage son what he thought about car names. Do they matter? He said that he cares a lot more about the car’s look and speed than what word you stick above the fender. Still, I doubt he’d want to drive, say, a Tortoise or a Peanut. I think the name matters . . . at least a little.

Personally, my favorite car names are from Rolls-Royce. Check these out: Silver Ghost, Phantom, Silver Wraith, Silver Dawn, Silver Cloud, Silver Shadow, Silver Spirit, Silver Spur, Silver Seraph, and Corniche. They now manufacture the Ghost and the Phantom. Of course, I will likely never ride in any of these.

What are your favorite car names? Do you think the label of a car matters? Do you think it influences our purchasing decisions? What would you want to name a car model?

Town Names: Welcome to Hell

In a former post, I talked about the importance of our own names. But today, I want to highlight fascinating names of towns around the good ol’ U.S.A.  While only two people are typically involved in naming a child, I would think that more input would go into the naming of a town. I don’t know, though, since I’ve never been asked to name a municipality.

Certain town names have clearly been chosen to give you a warm fuzzy feelings and a desire to visit or live there:

Friendly, West Virginia

Magnet, Nebraska

Paradise, Utah

Pleasureville, Kentucky

Welcome, Minnesota

Welcome, North Carolina

What Cheer, Iowa

Other towns, however, aren’t so sure about their appeal:

Accident, Maryland

Boring, Oregon

Cut Off, Louisiana

Embarrass, Wisconsin

Experiment, Georgia

Okay, Oklahoma

Peculiar, Missouri

Uncertain, Texas

Why, Arizona

Whynot, North Carolina

Some towns are named after animals, such as Antelope, Idaho or Swans Island, Maine. But I want to know the stories behind Ducktown, Tennessee; Fishkill, New York; and most especially, Lizard Lick, North Carolina.

Other towns seem to be named after the kind of people you might expect to find residing there. Which of these would you want to live in?

Guys, Tennessee
Idiotville, Oregon
Loco, Oklahoma
Normal, Illinois

Perhaps these towns are named for what one might expect to find there:

Hygiene, Colorado
Jackpot, Nevada
Tightwad, Missouri
Yellville, Arkansas

Some towns don’t have names at all, but numbers:

Hundred, West Virginia
Ninety Six, South Carolina
Village Eight, Hawaii

A few towns changed their names when a company offered some perk. The most widely known is Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. T or C, as it is often called, changed from Hot Springs in 1950 when Ralph Edwards, host of the radio show Truth or Consequences, asked a town in America to rename in celebration of the game show’s tenth anniversary.

The town of Clark, Texas renamed itself DISH, Texas in 2005 in exchange for all town residents receiving free basic television service for ten years and a free DVR from Dish Network. And Halfway, Oregon was temporarily named Half.com, Oregon, for which it received computers and $110,000 from the Half.com company. It has since reverted to Halfway.

Some towns seem inappropriately named, like Unalaska, Alaska; Beach, North Dakota; and Hurricane, Utah. Do they understand where they live?

And some towns are downright scary. There is War, West Virginia and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Moreover, who wants to drive into a town with the sign “Welcome to Hell”? And yet, there is Hell, Michigan.

More frightening to me is Roachdale, Indiana. You couldn’t pay me enough to live in a place named after roaches! If enough of them occupy the area to determine the town’s name, I’m packing up and moving to Humansville, Missouri – where presumably we have a chance against those nasty exoskeletal creatures.

Finally, here are two of my Texas favorites:  Cut and Shoot and Gun Barrel City.


For those towns that simply cannot come up with an appropriate label, they could take a page from a town in Tennessee called Nameless.

What’s the most strangely named town you’ve visited? What unusually named towns are in your state? Where did your town get its name?

Wednesday Words: What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name? A rose by any
other name would smell as sweet.”

 – William Shakespeare,

Romeo and Juliet

It’s a beautiful line from an amazing play, but is it true? Would we still be talking about these star-crossed lovers more than four hundred years later if they were Bartholomew & Agnes? Maybe, maybe not.

So what is in a name? Face it: We conjure up images of people by hearing their names. What do you think of when you hear Brittany, Chelsea, Katelyn? Ladonna, Shaneka, Selena? Gertrude, Hazel, Beulah? Maria, Lupe, Consuela? Even a name that has the same meaning can sound different depending on how it’s used – such as Joe vs. José vs. Joseph vs. Joey.

Maybe the words that matter most to us personally are our own names. Do you like your own name? I didn’t like Julie growing up. I wanted a more distinguished name – like Priscilla. But I have come to appreciate that my name suits me well. It’s straightforward, not terribly common, and has an upbeat sound. 

The concern of what is in a name came to bear pretty heavily when choosing our children’s names. After I unceremoniously threw out my husband’s first picks and he did the same to mine (ah, marital compromise!), we were then faced with the task of choosing a name that was acceptable to both of us and communicated what we wanted to say about our child.

I have to say that I am not personally among those comfortable with naming my child after a fruit (Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter is Apple), an object (Michael Jackson named a son Blanket), or a place (Ireland belongs to Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger). Not to mention Facebook’s Like button. I also did not feel the need to have Joseph John Glover IV –no family names came into play. Moreover, I insisted that the name be pronounceable: Some people seem to think they can spell a simple name like Cindy as Zynndee. Really? That just confuses me.

So after going through the Baby Name Book we had (and there are thousands and thousands of baby names!), we gathered a group of names to work with. We ranked them and picked out top girl and boy choices.

The next test came when I asked teachers in my family how schoolchildren could use these potential names to mock and bully my future children. Honestly, if you name your child Buford Ulysses Grant and he wears glasses, expect him to be called BUG eyes (and worse). There are some names or initial combinations that are like painting a bull’s-eye target on your child’s back.

I think my children like their names okay. They are strong male names, with no mockability factor thus far, and they have special meaning to us.

I like my first name as well. And I have the special happiness of liking both my maiden and married names (lucked out on that one).

What do you think of your own name? Does your name have special meaning? Is there a story behind how you got your name? How about your children’s names? How did you pick them? If you are a writer, do you have a pen name? How did you choose it?