“Sweet Jesus” ice cream is here to stay

I scream, you scream, why is everybody screaming about ice cream?  A Canadian ice cream company has begun to establish branches in the United States.  Normally that news would make most residents of the lower 48 jump for joy.  But, in this case, the name of the company has already caused quite a ruckus before most of the shop doors have even had a chance to open.  The company’s name just happens to be “Sweet Jesus” and for some ice cream lovers, that onomastic choice is just too much to take. Other religiously-inspired food names are far from unusual.  Aside from culinary favorites like Angel and Devil’s Food Cake, St. Lucia Buns, Hot Cross Buns, and good old fashioned Easter eggs, there are a number of companies that have taken their inspiration from Christianity when developing their business moniker.

According to the owners of the Sweet Jesus ice cream chain, they have no plans to change their company name anytime soon.

Does a “burger” have to be made of meat?

What goes into a really good burger?  Or a devastatingly delicious filet?  Or how about a wonderfully spiced breakfast sausage?  As far as the French government is concerned, one of the main ingredients for any of these products has to be meat.  That means that vegetarian and vegan products which contain no animal products should not be allowed to carry names that have been traditionally associated with meat (e.g. sausage, burger, bacon, etc.).  Supporters of the name-prohibition say this prohibition is all about product transparency.  Critics say this is more about money than honesty. Click through to this article at News.com.au for more!

Call for Papers: Joint Workshop on Linguistic Annotation, Multiword Expressions and Constructions, Santa Fe, NM, Aug 25-26 2018

From the 25th to the 26th of August 2018, a Joint Workshop on Linguistic Annotation, Multiword Expressions and Constructions will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It is being organized as part of the LAW-MWE-CxG 2018 workshop co-located with COLING 2018. Abstracts for long and short papers are currently being invited. The deadline for abstracts is May 25, 2018For more on the conference, visit their website.

About Names: The Barbara boom brought big names

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 24th column, he looks at the history of the name Barbara.

Barbra Streisand, famed for these and many other artistic triumphs, was born Barbara Joan Streisand 76 years ago on April 23rd. First Lady Barbara Bush (1925-2018), who died a week ago at age 92, is the only other Barbara whose renown rivals Streisand’s.

Barbara comes from a Greek word meaning “foreign.” In the seventh century, stories about St. Barbara, a third century martyr who survived many tortures before her father beheaded her, were first told. Though modern historians doubt she ever existed, Barbara was a hugely popular saint all over medieval Europe. By 1400, the name was rare in England. Around the year 1550, it revived, and Barbara ranked among the top 30 names for 17th century English girls. It was about the only saint’s name to rise instead of fall after the Reformation. Most 17th century Barbaras in England and America were Anglican or Catholic.

When Barbara Bush was born in 1925, the name had risen to 22nd most popular. Then, in 1926, Broadway chorus girl Ruby Stevens saw a poster for Fitch’s play and renamed herself Barbara Stanwyck. She became a star the next year, when Barbara first broke into the top 10. Though Barbara would have been popular without Stanwyck, her film career pushed it to its peak when she claimed her first Oscar nomination for the tearjerker “Stella Dallas” in 1937. In 1938, more than 3.4 percent of newborn girls were named Barbara, ranking it second only to Mary. It stayed at No. 2 until 1945, and in the top 10 until 1959.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Barbaras in history!

“Theybies” are now a thing

The new buzzword in parenting is a mashup that will alarm even the most liberal of grammarians. A “theyby” is a baby born and raised free of the constraints of gender designation, according to an article published earlier this week by New York Magazine’s The Cut. Some new parents are adopting the childrearing practice, which includes keeping the baby’s anatomy a secret from others and referring to the child only by plural pronoun, in an effort to raise a more creative and uninhibited human. This article in AdAge discusses some of the ways that marketers are trying to appeal to parents of theybies.

“Rainbow Cruise” one of the winning names for NYC Ferries

Second grade classes from schools across New York City were asked to submit names for the newly launched NYC Ferries. Four Queens schools were selected as having come up with winning nautical names. In alphabetical order, some of these winning names and schools include “Rainbow Cruise” from P.S. 330 in Corona; “Starlight” from P.S. 112 in Long Island; “Spring Mallard” from P.S. 148 in East Elmhurst; and “The Ocean Queen Rockstar” from P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway, New York. For more on this innovative name contest, click here.

T’Challa was almost Black Leopard

The latest in the Marvel movies to hit the screen, Black Panther, has been listed as the highest-grossing solo superhero firm of all times, with worldwide profits reaching over 1.2 billion dollars. Although the film had its premier in January of 2018, the native son of Wakanda has been around since in1966, when Marvel’s first Black superhero made his debut in the Fantastic 4 comic. By 1977, the popular figure had earned his very own comic. Given the obvious onomastic connections made between the real-life Afrocentric political movement lead by the Black Panthers and the fictional war waged by the fictional superhero, Marvel tried to change the character’s name to Black Leopard, but the name change was evidently rejected by fans, causing Marvel execs to concede defeat and re-adopt the name “Black Panther”. Read more in this article at History.com!

France’s National Front considers rebranding as Rassemblement National

The far-right French party leader Marine Le Pen recently announced that it was time for her political party to undergo a fundamental change. No, they are not changing the political agenda. They are simply planning to change the name of their party,  the National Front. In an interview given to Reuters, the Deputy Head of the NF’s Youth Movement, Davy Rodriguez said, “The name change is essential to enable us to strike alliances and talk with voters without what is often an almost automatic negative reaction.” Le Pen’s new name choice for the FN re-incarnate? Rassemblement National, “National Rally”. Almost immediately after the big reveal, French media and experts on far-right groups noted the similarity to a party founded in 1941 to work with with the Nazis ― Rassemblement National Populaire. Whether this re-branding will attract a new generation of voters to the Party’s unchanging ultra-nationalist political agenda remains to be seen.

Russians get real in contest to name nuclear weapons

Russia is reviewing names for its newest additions to its nuclear arsenal. For example, one of the onomastic suggestions being taken under review is Kraken, for an underwater nuclear drone designed to attack enemy coastlines. Russian diplomats have made a point of soliciting suggestions about this and other weapons from the general public. Many of the entries reflected a certain wry dark humor. Someone suggested calling the missile Sanction, an apparent reference to western economic sanctions against Russia for its support of separatists in Ukraine. More on this effort can be found in this article at the Guardian.