On the mighty Jordan River

Indiana University, my alma mater, has decided to remove eugenicist David Starr Jordan’s name from all campus properties. This includes the biology building, a parking garage, a street (they’re still working this part out with the city) and the mighty Jordan river, which cuts through campus.

Shut up. It is mighty. And it is a river.

Now, to be clear, 1) I support this decision, and 2) I couldn’t have told you David Starr Jordan’s first or middle names if my life depended on it prior to ten minutes ago, nor was I aware that he was a eugenicist. Not that it matters much, but apparently he got into that after ending his association with IU. I am not terribly pleased with the insanely boring choices they’re going with for new names (the Biology Building, the East Parking Garage, and the Campus River) but it does appear that they’re considering those names temporary placeholders while they work out better names for them. I can live with that.

This is not, however, why I’m writing this post. I’m not attached to Jordan’s name for the building or the street, and certainly not the parking garage. Rename those all you want. But I have just discovered something fascinating about the way my brain works, which is that despite knowing all four of those things were called the Jordan Whatever, and despite knowing at least vaguely that there was a biology dude who used to be affiliated with IU named Jordan, it never once occurred to me that the river was named after the same guy and not the river Jordan in Israel. Which, like, I’ve been calling that damn river the “mighty Jordan” for twenty-six fucking years as a mild little personal joke, with the understanding that people who I’m saying that to know we’re comparing it to the real one.

(Those of you who have never been to Bloomington: this thing is three inches deep at its deepest, and most of it you can jump across. For those of us not emotionally invested in it, it is a creek at best.)

I don’t know how my brain did that. You can damn near see Jordan Hall from the Jordan River and it never even once crossed my mind that they’d been named after the same dude. So, yeah, part of me doesn’t want the river renamed; I just want them to start lying about how it got named that, and insist that it’s always been named after the river in Israel, so I can keep making that joke.

Probably not entirely reasonable, I know, but I have to make exceptions for my own idiocy sometimes.

Okay, seriously now: am I watching the debate tonight? And if I am, am I liveblogging or livetweeting it? Decide for me:

In case you ever wondered…

… I am definitely an idiot:

And the sequel has a definite unreliable narrator thing going on, so I actually went back to Gideon this morning to double-check. Maybe I was supposed to notice that.

Yeah. It’s Harrowhark.

I’m dumb.

Name this cat

So New Cat has been living in our master bathroom for a few days now. At the vet’s suggestion, we have expanded his range to the laundry room as of yesterday. He is about three years old, which is about what I figured, an unfixed male, which was obvious, and unchipped. As of yesterday he is flea, worm and ear mite free and we’ve confirmed that he does not have FIV or whatever the other disease they make sure to check cats for is.

He is a friendly soft cuddly boi. Technically we can’t call him our cat or get him fixed until fifteen days have passed since reporting that we found him, so we’ve got a bit more time on that. I suspect an unchipped and unfixed male that was wandering the neighborhood is almost certainly not someone’s cat, however, and he’ll be ours soon enough. He knows what a litterbox is, so he probably got dumped by somebody.

We are having a hell of a time picking out a name. On one hand, this maybe isn’t a bad thing, as he’s not our cat yet and it’s always possible his owners might claim him, and renaming him before he’s official is putting the cart before the horse just a bit. On the other hand … it’s just not that damn likely. We may as well.

Possible options include:

  • Gus, which was my brother’s initial choice and seems to fit him. However, my wife has bad associations with a cat named Gus in the past (don’t ask) and so this is highly unlikely to be the final name.
  • Walter. He is a dignified-looking cat, and I feel like Walter sort of fits him.
  • Chewie. If I had been able to create a new cat out of thin air he would have been an orange boycat and we would have named him Goose; I feel like Chewie is too Captain Marvel-adjacent (Chewie is the name of the flerken in the comics that became Goose in the movie) to name this cat when the appearance of a Goose in the future is still possible.
  • Mochi. The Great Old One is literally from Japan and is named Mizu, which I have always suspected was supposed to be Miso but spelled wrong by the people at the shelter I got her from. I had a cat named Moro who passed away several years ago who was named after a character in Princess Mononoke, and our current kitten is named Sushi, which was my son’s decision. So we have a previously-established pattern of naming cats with 1) Japanese names starting with M and 2) Japanese foods. Which is a weird accident, because otherwise I display no weeaboo tendencies. Mochi fits both.
  • I have mostly been calling him “Big boy” or “Buddy,” and honestly I think “Buddy” works pretty well as a name for him but my wife calls our son that all the time and I’d rather not get that mixed up. I don’t like “Big boy” as an actual name but as a temporary nickname it works.

So far, I think Mochi is probably my favorite choice, but nothing has stuck yet. Suggestions?


ba-cover-tiny(First things first: this should post to the Luther Siler Facebook page, a change I’ve been meaning to make for a long time; posts have been showing up on my real-name page instead.  We’ll see if engagement drops; it’ll be interesting to see.)

Okay.  So.  I’m trying to name some characters, and I’d like to hear some suggestions from those of you who have read THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES ($2.99 cheap!) or even those of you who haven’t, if you’re able to form an opinion just based on what you see here.  I need to name some characters, and I’m not sure at the moment what direction to go.  They’re literally named NEEDANAME and ALSONEEDANAME in the manuscript right now.

Some background information: I use traditional high-fantasy races as stand-ins for “aliens” in this book; the two main characters are a gnome and a halfogre.  Let most of the stereotypes take over, although I’ve twisted a few of the races in ways that please me.

GNOMES:  Gnomes have, for lack of a better phrase, standard fantasy names, such as Brazel, Rhundi, Darsi, and Gorrim.  Only female gnomes have surnames; Rhundi’s is Tavh’re’muil, and I haven’t decided if most gnomic surnames are as flowery as that.  Males technically have their wives’ (or mothers, if unmarried) surnames, but Brazel would never refer to himself as Brazel Tavh’re’muil.  It’s not done.

OGRES:  Also standard fantasy names, although I’m trying to make them shorter and a bit more guttural-sounding.  The one named ogre so far is Grond.  No surnames.

HUMANS:  All humans have personal and surnames, which work much as they do in the Western world, although they can be more fantasy-style or more mundane, much in the same way that the main character in Dune was named Paul Atreides.  So, theoretically I could have a human character named Bill or Steve or Jim.  Or, uh, Angela.  Who is technically an Iklis sniper’s longbow, but she has a human name.

GOBLINS:  Goblins do not share their personal names with outsiders, only their surnames.  If there are multiple members of that clan around they tend to number themselves; Rhundi talks to a goblin named “Twelfth Corvix” in one of the stories because she has a number of goblins of that clan working for her.

DWARVES:  Dwarven females and high-ranking dwarven males (generally, only the children of incredibly high-ranking dwarven females, such as clan leaders) have what I’m thinking of as “story names,” such as Shocks-the-Mountains, Smashes-the-Stars, Majesty-of-Nature or Glow-of-Twilight.  I’ve only used three-word dwarven names so far but there’s no reason they can’t be longer than that.  Dwarven males have three-letter names and they or may not be pronounceable.

TROLLS:  Trolls are kinda complicated.  They’re shapeshifters, and their name is dependent on their current shape.  So is their personality, to some extent, although it’s important to realize that they’re all one being– just a complicated one.  The “base” name for a troll is generally tripartite, such as Sirrys ban Irtuus bon Alaamac.  Calling a troll by name depends on which shape you’re looking at; the troll I refer to here is generally known as Irtuus-bon, but his shortest, most childish and petulant form is addressed as Sirrys.

ELVES:  Here’s the problem.  Elves are kinda a spoiler, although they’re a spoiler that gets spoiled within about the first fifty pages of BA 8 and I’m not sure that the way elves work is really all that terribly important as far as spoilers go.  I cannot decide how to name my elves.

Actually, let’s do this:  If you want to make just a random suggestion on how to name elves, go ahead and put one in comments right now, but you probably don’t want to read anything anybody else has to say.  I’m putting the rest of the post under a jump in case anyone really wants to avoid spoilers for BA 8.  It’s not a huge deal, I promise:

Continue reading “Thinking out loud: THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES”

Back to the Bible, dammit.

There are apparently two new children at my school this year. Their names are Osiris and Goliath.

I just… I can’t, anymore, with this. Just no. No. No. You can’t. No.

I will be calling them Peter and Steven if they end up in my room.

(It has not escaped my notice that Goliath is a Bible name. My official response: shut up.)