My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, January 21

Punny Names

I love puns. Don't you also love puns? How about a bunch of puns based on names?
Way back in my past I read a book by John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle, I think it was called. The father of the main character had spent a lifetime collecting names based on puns and wordplay such as Sally Forth, the name of a comic strip character, or Rick O’Shay, a Saturday morning cartoon character. I knew from my misspent youth a number of such names, like the sister and brother duo Eileen and Ben Dover, even that unfortunate Chinaman with a hernia, Wun Hung Lo [Feel free to leave this last one out if you find it offensive]. But Cheever’s character was the first I’d encountered who made a hobby of such name collecting. Without consciously deciding to do so, I too became a “nomismatist.” Now, years later, the compulsion continues, but it’s beginning to drive me crazy.

Being a student of literature, I early encountered the young Englishwoman, Judy Obscure; the Spanish señora, Barbara Savill; the stout old English gentleman, Toby R. Nottaby (I could hardly overlook Shakespeare); the two friends of the Mad Hatter, Allison VanDerLind and Trudy Lukenclass; and finally the overweight Russian gentleman, Warren Pees.

But aside from literature, the more I looked, the more names appeared to me: Gideon Payle, Emma Bea Leaver, Roger Oubernoudt, Phyllis Stations, Saul R. Eaklips, the somewhat smelly Anita Schauers, the two Irishmen Manny O’Tier and Upton O’Gude, the Clark Gable lookalike Frank Lee Muhdeer, and the somewhat old-fashioned Horace N. Bucky. And relatives, especially aunts like Auntie McKasser, Auntie Dote, Auntie Pasto, and least but not last, Auntie Klymax.

It kept getting worse and worse. I started thinking about all the names that ask questions, like Izzie Yewman, Izzie Dunne, and Izzie Dedd (the last of which then led to Esther Leif-Atterdett), that interogatory family of Kennie Duit, DeeDee Duit, and Willie Duit (and their answering brother ,I. Darren Duit), Willie Maykett, the nymphomaniacal Wanda Ball, and the romantic William Aramy. And finally, that cold-blooded pair of worriers, Ophelia Draft and Isadora Jarr. These last two made me think of all the pairs of people, such as the two Italian gourmands, Patsy Fazool and Ricky Tony; the skinny pair, Bill Eamia and Annie Rexia. And these pairs led to more and more—the two mind readers, Claire Voyant and Luigi Bored; the French couple, Billy and Patty Dew; the flowery couple, Phil O. and Rhoda Dendrun. Then Stan Dupp and Bea Kownted, Howard Yew and Emma Fein, Les Tawk and Morey Akshun, the killers Pat and Matt Reside and their cousin Sue Side. I kept finding it harder and harder to sleep.

And then the final indignity: if a woman named Billie Button married a man named Lent, she’d become Billie Button Lent. Ouch!!

Hello Again

I know. I said I wasn't going to write any more posts, and yet here I am again. How could I not get in another Trump jab? We have several words being added to our English vocabulary, Potus, Scotus, and Flotus. I think it's only fitting that we add one more--Boobotus. Yeah, you've got it: "Boob of the United States." That fits him nicely.

I also have to leave a warning for any who read this, my encounter with another internet scam. It was an encounter that caused me a major loss of time and money, and I don't want anyone else to suffer the same losses.

I got burned by an internet scam that completely locked me out of my computer. I feel so stupid. Why do we have to make such huge mistakes in order to learn what we shouldn’t do? Here’s what happened. Last year I got a phone call from someone representing Supremo, a company that sells downloads for internet security. The technician told me they had spotted a number of suspicious attempts to login to my online banking account. In order to show me all these attempts I would have to allow him access to my computer. I allowed it and he talked me through a maze of steps to show me all the errors. I said, can you fix it? He said, yes, but it would cost me about $250 for a lifetime service with Supremo. I agreed, and he then fixed the errors and noticeably sped up my computer. Okay, good. Then this last call, half a year later, in which he told me that my Windows 10 had to be recertified, that my original download of Windows 10 required a purchase of a certificate. If I would take over computer, he would show me where I had the Windows 10 service agreement. I allowed him in. He showed me. I asked him how much this certificate would cost. $229, and that he and his company could handle the transaction. I said I thought I’d rather go straight to Microsoft to buy this certificate. He got indignant and said he’d have his supervisor talk to me to explain why I should go through his company to buy the certificate. His supervisor got even more indignant when I told him I wasn’t going to pay them anything. Then I made the sorry mistake of telling him I thought they were operating a scam. Oh, now he really got mad and told me that if I didn’t buy the certificate, I wouldn’t be able to use my computer. I said I wanted him to leave my computer. He said he would, but first he had to do a couple of things. Ten seconds later he was gone. And when I next tried to open my computer, nothing worked. Apparently those few things he had to do were to put a lock on my whole system.

Now what do I do? I go to Best Buy to ask the Geek Squad what I could do. They thought they could get my computer back up and running. Yup, I had no service agreement with the Geeks when I bought the computer, so this fix would cost me about $250. A week went by and finally they called to tell me I could pick it up. And it was like a new computer. All my photos, music, and documents were still there, but all my hard- and software were gone. I spent a full day trying to get it back to where it was before the lockout. And finally, that’s where I am now.

Lesson learned: Almost all calls telling you something bad or dangerous has been spotted on your computer are scams. You speak to a man or woman with a seriously hard-to-understand Indian accent, lots of background noise from other fake technicians talking to other naïve people just like me. And it always ends up requiring a cash outlay. Lesson! Never, never allow anyone to access your computer. If you get a call such as the one I just described, hang up immediately. It’s just another version of the phone call you get telling you about back taxes you owe and if you don’t pay them the sheriff will be at your door to arrest you.

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