Names

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

We don’t know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don’t understand our name at all, we don’t know its history and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity, we merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it as if we had thought it up ourselves in a moment of brilliant inspiration.

A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.

In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.

Miss: A title with which we brand unmarried women to indicate that they are in the market. Miss, Misses (Mrs.) and Mister (Mr.) are the three most distinctly disagreeable words in the language, in sound and sense. Two are corruptions of Mistress, the other of Master. If we must have them, let us be consistent and give one to the unmarried man. I venture to suggest Mush, abbreviated to MH.

Proper names are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable.

To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives.

I don’t like your miserable lonely single front name. It is so limited, so meager; it has no versatility; it is weighted down with the sense of responsibility; it is worn threadbare with much use; it is as bad as having only one jacket and one hat; it is like having only one relation, one blood relation, in the world. Never set a child afloat on the flat sea of life with only one sail to catch the wind.

How could I have been anything else but what I am, having been named Madonna. I would either have ended up a nun or this.

I think a child should be allowed to take his father’s or mother’s name at will on coming of age. Paternity is a legal fiction.

Don’t call me an icon. I’m just a mother trying to help.

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.

I shall write a book some day about the appropriateness of names. Geoffrey Chaucer has a ribald ring, as is proper and correct, and Alexander Pope was inevitably Alexander Pope. Colley Cibber was a silly little man without much elegance and Shelley was very Percy and very Bysshe.

Better to see the face than to hear the name.

Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.

It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. Names are everything. I never quarrel with actions. My one quarrel is with words. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.

Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth’s marvels, beneath the dust of habit.

The invisible thing called a Good Name is made up of the breath of numbers that speak well of you.

Once you label me you negate me.

I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this.

If the fairest features of the landscape are to be named after men, let them be the noblest and worthiest men alone.

In its purest sense, nicknaming is an elitist ritual practiced by those who cherish hierarchy. For preppies it’s a smoke signal that allows Bunny to tell Pooky that they belong to the same tribe, while among the good old boys it serves the cause of masculine dominance by identifying Bear and Wrecker as Alpha males.

“Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.” ~ Bill Cosby

“I love crazy names. It comes right from Monty Python and Woody Allen – nothing in the world makes me giggle more than a funny name. It became a thing I started doing when I wrote. If a person came into a store and said, “How much is this apple?” that person would have an insane name.” ~ Michael Schur

“Reading Alan Zweibel makes me laugh out loud. And yet it is not a particularly funny name.” ~ Eric Idle

“When I made a breakthrough as an actor, people started to say, ‘Who’s that bloke with the funny name?’ They advised me to change it, saying it would never be put up in lights outside theaters because they couldn’t afford the electricity. But I would never contemplate changing it. It’s who I am.” ~ Pete Postlethwaite

“Capitalism is a funny name which lefties give to basic freedom.” ~ Fraser Nelson

“Nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He’s risky.” ~ Barack Obama

“I was foreign and Jewish, with a funny name, and was very small and hated sport, a real problem at an English prep school. So the way to get round it was to become the school joker, which I did quite effectively – I was always fooling around to make the people who would otherwise dump me in the loo laugh.” ~ Alain de Botton

“I took the name originally as a kind of disguise because I didn’t want people to know I was about to embark on a s****y musical career that would last five months. And a lot of people took funny names back then.” ~ John Wesley Harding

“At boarding school you had to wear your name across your chest and your back, and obviously I had a pretty funny name. It wasn’t Brown or Smith or Hughes.” ~ Diane Cilento

“People always – I think were surprised about me connecting with folks in small town Iowa. And the reason I did was – first of all, I had the benefit that at the time nobody expected me to win. And so I wasn’t viewed through this prism of Fox News and conservative media making me scary. At the time, I didn’t think seem scary, other than just having a funny name. I seemed young.” ~ Barack Obama

“A bronze plaque read: GAIUS PLINIUS CAECILIUS SECUNDUS Dan made a face. “Get a load of the guy with the funny name.” “I think that’s Pliny the younger, the famous Roman writer,” Amy supplied. She bent down to read the English portion of the tablet. “Right. In A.D. 79, Pliny chronicled the destruction of Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It’s one of the earliest eyewitness accounts of a major disaster.” Dan yawned. “Doesn’t this remind you of the clue hunt? You know–you telling me a bunch of boring stuff, and me not listening?” ~ Gordon Korman

The best thing about a boolean is even if you are wrong, you are only off by a bit. (Anonymous)

Without requirements or design, programming is the art of adding bugs to an empty text file. (Louis Srygley)

Before software can be reusable it first has to be usable. (Ralph Johnson)

The best method for accelerating a computer is the one that boosts it by 9.8 m/s2. (Anonymous)

I think Microsoft named .Net so it wouldn’t show up in a Unix directory listing. (Oktal)

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization. (Gerald Weinberg)

There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works. (Alan J. Perlis)

Ready, fire, aim: the fast approach to software development. Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim: the slow approach to software development. (Anonymous)

It’s not a bug – it’s an undocumented feature. (Anonymous)

A good programmer is someone who always looks both ways before crossing a one-way street. (Doug Linder)

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. (Martin Golding)

Programming is like sex. One mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life. (Michael Sinz)
Deleted code is debugged code. (Jeff Sickel)

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen. (Edward V Berard)

If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in. (Edsger Dijkstra)

Software undergoes beta testing shortly before it’s released. Beta is Latin for “still doesn’t work. (Anonymous)

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning. (Rick Cook)

It’s a curious thing about our industry: not only do we not learn from our mistakes, but we also don’t learn from our successes. (Keith Braithwaite)

There are only two kinds of programming languages: those people always bitch about and those nobody uses. (Bjarne Stroustrup)

In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion. (Anonymous)

The cheapest, fastest, and most reliable components are those that aren’t there. (Gordon Bell)

The best performance improvement is the transition from the nonworking state to the working state. (J. Osterhout)

The trouble with programmers is that you can never tell what a programmer is doing until it’s too late. (Seymour Cray)

Don’t worry if it doesn’t work right. If everything did, you’d be out of a job. (Mosher’s Law of Software Engineering)