Naming your stuff “Ron”

I’m curious as to why, in some myths, the actors have names – proper first names – for much of their gear. Just to infuse them with more meaning and a sense of history I imagine.

In their early account of the battle of Badon hill, where Arthur defeated the Saxons, both early poets (Wace and Layamon, ~1155) point out that our hero had names for more than just his sword:

…,the king wore a sword forged in Avalon, almost a faerie place – forged ‘with magic craft’, says Layamon, who calls it Caliburen, but Wace names it Excalibur. Layamon adds that his helmet was called Goswhit, and his shield Pridwen, on which was engraved in tracings of reddish gold, the image of the blessed and glorious Mary. Both poets add that the name of his spear was Ron.

-Charles Williams, The Figure of Arthur, p.41

We all know about Excalibur, but what about Ron, man?!

Beowulf also had a magic sword, named Hrunting. In this same vein, Tolkien gave names to many of the important weapons in Middle Earth, including Sting (Bilbo/Frodo), Glamdring (Gandalf), Narsil (Isuldur), Anduril (Aragorn), Herudrim (Theodin),  and so forth. Apparently though, their helmets and shields are not important enough to mention. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

Do we still do this today? All the time I think. Musicians often name their instruments. Eric Clapton had Blackie. Pierre Bensusan has “The Old Lady”. In college, my friend’s french horn was named Leopold. The 2-ton concert tuba (available for check-out) was called Buba.

My car is know as the “Stinky Banana Car”, or SBC. Long story.

Computers are so cold and lifeless, so we typically give them names to infuse a little character into them. I’ve worked on servers called Coyotee, Hornet, Snake, Deathstar (how many servers out there have Star Wars names? Thousands?), Thalia, RedTape, BlackWidow, Redwood, Snarky, etc. Sometimes they told a story (RedTape audited accounts). Some were just fun. Now all our servers where I work have names like web-1, web-2, email-1, etc. Boring…

IT Director: Why is the new database server named “Ron”?

Developer: From King Arthur’s spear you uncultured swine!

Same old shtick

Rolling stone announced today they are changing the physical format of their magazine from it’s large tabloid size to that or all other glossy magazines.

Let’s see. The last issue’s covered was trashing McCain. The new cover is praising Obama. In fact, the interview reveals this is the third time in seven months that Obama has graced the cover. And you thought it was about music. Uh huh.

“Switching the format to attract more readers is a logical decision that will continue Rolling Stone’s tradition of revolutionizing society’s way of thinking,” Barbu [an avid reader] said.

A tradition of revolution? Sounds like the same old shtick to me.

Looking proper

Our local university has a well-established history of lamentable editorial cartoons. Lately though, things have improved!

Can someone explain to me how that messenger bag is supposed to give you hipster street cred?


The three-martini Bible study

This humorous bit today from TechCrunch, a news site that follows web companies:

Traditionally, booze and social networking have always gone hand in hand. During the 20th century, men and women would leave their homes and visit drinking locations called “bars” and “pubs.” There they would imbibe various beverages and, if the fates intervened, would go home with each other for coffee and perhaps a moment or two of Bible study. Those, friends, were simpler times.

With the rise of electronic social networking, however, we find that the boozing imperative is sorely lacking. You could potentially send a friend a virtual beer on Facebook and most MySpace pages require ether or nitrous to truly appreciate in their gaudy brilliance but there is no one place you can go to meet some folks with similar interests and, ultimately, meet for coffee and/or the aforementioned Bible study. That was until CocktailMatch


Photo credit