This & That: What’s In A Name?

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By: Dave Bowman

In the game of life, a name gives us our identity, a sense of belonging, as well as personalizing what is important to us.  Finding a unique name takes time and deep thought . . . or maybe not.

My wife and one of my sons recently attended the Jersey Street Music Festival in Horicon. Now, we had never partaken in this entertainment option and went on the recommendation and invitation of my daughter and son in law.  It is an excellent way to listen to a variety of bands all across the musical spectrum, for a “nominal” fee. (Free!) When we arrived a Celtic rock band was just wrapping up, and we settled in to listen to the next band. They were a rock band from Milwaukee, and although it isn’t our usual musical choice, they are very talented and good musicians. They must be doing right because they have recorded a CD and even handed out four free ones to lucky audience members. (You never saw The Rolling Stones do THAT!)   And what was the name of this hidden Wisconsin treasure?  The Fatty Acids!

Bands have offered a wide range of interesting and, suffice it to say, unique names through the entertainment era. The Beatles’ name was a play on the name of Buddy Holly’s group, The Crickets.  Led Zeppelin heard from a radio show that they had as much of a chance for success in the music business “as a lead zeppelin” and they adopted the moniker.  There have been other groups with iconic signature identifiers, The Turtles, The Doors, Jethro Tull (an 18th century English agriculturalist), Alabama, Kansas, The Bee Gees (for the brothers Gibb), The Who (calling themselves The High Numbers, went to perform a gig at a pub, was asked their name, and the pub manager replied, “the who?”) and The Band, a rock group who could not think of anything else to call themselves.

In aviation, many a flier has named their craft.  In World War II, bombers were given special meaning by what was painted on the nose of the aircraft.  The 303rd B17 bomb group was occupied by Shoo Shoo Baby, Knock Out Dropper and Beats Me.  (The latter was named when the pilot asked the members of the crew what the name of their plane should be, and each had no idea until the last crew member exclaimed, “beats me!”)  And who can forget the Enola Gay?  The B29 bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb was named for the pilot’s mother.

A point to ponder:  When a sports team relocates to another city, the name often will follow, even though it does not seem to make geographical sense.  I am not an expert, but I have a hunch that there are not many “cardinals” in Arizona or “rams” in St. Louis.  I am sure there are “colts” in Indianapolis, but that state is known for something else that goes really fast.  Just sayin’!

When I was thinking of a title for this column, I thought it should be deep and philosophical.  You know, talking about “this and that”… so, there you go. 

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