For no reason in particular, I was thinking of the part in George Plimpton’s Mad Ducks and Bears where lineman Alex Karras explains why names matter for football players. He contrasts the greatness of Johnny Unitas with the mediocre career of Milt Plum. The name, he argued, set the stage for their respective careers.

He might have been right off the gridiron, as well. The Anthony Weiner scandal springs to mind, of course, but perhaps the oddest and most disturbing case I ever heard was of a white supremacist named Eugène Terre’Blanche. The last name is from terra–land–and blanche–white. Eugene, meanwhile, derives from the same source as the word “eugenics”. It would be amusing had he been merely a fictional character, and not a real person.

Like I said, no special reason for thinking about this subject. It’s just odd.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?