Thursday, September 4, 2014

Don’t ever call me by my names!

Right now the following six candidates are running for Governor of Idaho:

A, J. Balukoff
John T. Bujak
Jill Humble
C. L. “Butch” Otter
Steve Pankey

The official list at the Secretary of State does not show any of their middle names, and just three of six first names. I looked them all up.

Democratic candidate A. J. Balukoff has the same initials and names as race car driver A. J. Foyt - Anthony Joseph. I’m surprised he didn’t go folksy like singer-songwriter Tony Joe White.  

Libertarian candidate John T. Bujak has the middle name Thomas. Many probably thought it should be Teflon, after he successfully defended himself against lawsuits both in state and federal courts. By the way, “John Thomas” is British slang for penis.

Independent candidate Jill Humble has a last name with a positive connotation. Her middle name is Ginger, which is rather innocuous.

Our Governor and Republican candidate for-re-election, C. L. Otter, just uses his nickname Butch. HIs first and middle names really are Clement and Leroy. The nickname Clem sounds like it could be a caucasian sharecropper from Mississippi, while Leroy would be an African-American sharecropper.

Constitution candidate Steve Pankey is Steven Dana Pankey. Steve is noteworthy for being de-endorsed by his party after sending a letter to Idaho’s Attorney General pointing out that he was the only gay candidate and also supported same sex marriage.

Perennial anti-abortion candidate Pro-Life was formerly known as Marvin Thomas Richardson.

The last name Bujack sounds like boo, so it could be from a Harry Potter book. It might refer to a ghost that boys want to dress up as for Halloween. But a boojack really just is:

“A newspaper boy who attracts customers with shouts.” 

Parents often choose children’s names without much thought. It is not true that the junior Senator from Kentucky was named based on a fleeting glance at a Remington Rand typewriter. His full name really is Randal Howard Paul.

Sometimes names are chosen to honor ancestors. My older brother is Harry, in memory of my maternal grandfather who died the year before he was born. My younger brother is Thomas, so our nicknames form the generic phrase “Tom, Dick, and Harry.”

Four decades ago in his book Strictly Speaking Edwin Newman remarked on page 117 that to be a university president you typically had both to be male and have three completely  interchangeable Anglo-Saxon names. When I was an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University their president was Horton Guyford Stever.

The World War I recruiting poster came from the Library of Congress, and the ghost image came from Openclipart

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