Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Name That Moon

Quoted from the International Star Registry website:

“Name a Star, that's right, an actual star! International Star Registry is your star naming resource! What do you get for the person who has everything? For $54, plus shipping and handling, you can name a star.”

Wow! $54.00 to name a star anything you want! Not bad. On a clear, moonless night, you can see roughly 100,000 stars with a small telescope. Any chance one of those stars are up for grabs? Probably not. Donald Trump undoubtedly bought up half the Milky Way the moment the stars first went public. So who knows where your star might be. Chances are, it’s just a scrap of static picked up on a radio telescope, completely invisible to the most sensitive optical equipment. But it’s there, and it’s got your name on it for a paltry 54 bucks.

What I want to know is, how much does a black hole go for? That would be cool, wouldn’t it? When the guy down the street buys his wife the star formerly known as HR 4276 (now called Trixie’s Deelite), you can say, “Yeah, well I’ve got the black hole formerly known as Sagittarius A*. I’ve renamed it Jaws and it works for me now. Anything you need to say to Trixie’s Deelite, I suggest you say it soon.”

Naming astronomical objects is a pretty arbitrary business, but let’s face it, naming is one of the tasks we humans do best. Wasn’t that the first job assigned to Adam and Eve, to name the things in the Garden of Eden? And who do you suppose did most of the naming? Come on, there’s no need to guess:

“Honeybunch, let’s call this thing Evil Tube.”

“Too late, Adam. I’ve already named him Snake.”

“Huh. Snake. Cool.”

But here’s something I don’t understand. With this human compulsion to name everything in sight, why hasn’t anyone given the moon a name? It’s just ‘the moon.’ The planet we live on is called the Earth, and the star that holds us in orbit and grants us life is called the Sun. But the moon is just the moon. Who was in charge of that? Tarzan? It’s like naming my children Girl 1 and Girl 2. It just doesn’t seem like a whole lot of thought went into it.

Consider Jupiter. The largest planet in our solar system might have some 60 or more moons — they’re still discovering them, so we don’t know how many for sure. But look at the names: Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, Thebe, Io, Europa, Ganymede (the biggest), Callisto (the second biggest), Leda (the smallest), Himalia, Lysithea, Elara, Ananke, Carme, Pasiphae and Sinope, with more on the way. See? That’s how you name moons! So what happened here at home? Why hasn’t anyone named our moon?

I want everyone to consider this frightening scenario: Earth has been contacted by intelligent life from outside our solar system. A spaceship lands on the National Mall, just like the one in The Day the Earth Stood Still. We are greeted by an alien diplomatic team eager to establish friendly relations with our planet. The leaders of all the nations gather to one spot where a magnificent state dinner is held with the aliens as their honored guests. At the center of the head table the U.S. president sits, flanked by the Zoranthian Consul General on one side and his translator on the other. Everything is going well, the right words are said, no one trips over the consul’s tentacles, and miraculously no spinach gets stuck in the president’s teeth. At one point, the Zoranthian translator passes along a compliment paid by his superior. “Mr. President, the Consul General noticed your moon last night and thought it quite lovely. What name do you call it?” An awkward pause. Should the president lie, make up something on the spot? No, no, that would be sure to backfire. Better go with the truth. “Actually, we simply call it ‘the moon,’” he says apologetically. Another awkward pause.”Um . . . should I tell him that?” the translator finally asks. And right then, the president thinks, “We are so invaded…”

Folks, if I had Donald Trump money, I’d go after the naming rights to the moon. I would open up my wallet and make a little history. Maybe I’d have to sell off some assets and leverage a small country, but I’d find a way. And then I’d name it anything I want. I’d give it a name I like, maybe one I wish I had. Hmm. You know, maybe I’d name it . . . Kevin.

Brad and Kyle are pretty good, and Todd is OK, but Kevin . . . it’s got a nice ring, don’t you think? Try it on for size: “Watch out — it’s a full Kevin tonight.” “Only once in a blue Kevin.” “You want Kevin, Mary? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it!” “When Kevin hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”

Of course, there are a lot of people who think naming the moon requires a little more deliberation than this. Poets, no doubt, will want to get in on the act. “We offer you Selene, the Greek moon goddess!” they’ll announce dramatically. And then the scientists will step in and vociferously state, “We must take into account that the moon regulates the oceans!” Point well taken. So let’s call it Squirt then. Or Tide Boy. “In theory, the moon was once part of the Earth!” Great! How about Spawn? “The moon is a satellite!” Sputnik. “It’s surface is cratered!” Pocky. “It’s got two sides!” Schizo. “It has many phases!” Sibyll.

You know, maybe there was a reason no one named the moon. Everyone will have their own idea and the debate will go on forever. For instance, I’m willing to guess right now that all two or three of the people reading this post think Kevin is a terrible name. Am I right? Am I? Well, can you do better? Ha! Let’s hear ’em then!


Blogger trinamick said...

My vote is for Englebert. Or maybe Humperdinck. Humperdinck, Humperdinck, Humperdinck!


11:23 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

I'm stuck...halfway through this post I was desperately trying to think of a moon name. I can't! I just can't. Ulana? Has the letters of Luna in it. Certainly not Kevin. Nice try, Mr. Schprock. You will now be forced to join a committee.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

I'm beginning to get a little indignant for our moon, now. I keep saying, "YEAH...why doesn't it have a name??? At the very least capitalize it/her/him!"

1:13 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Mona, I'm with you. It's time we started a global movement!

Humperdinck. . . Kevin.
Humperdinck. . . Kevin.
Humperdinck. . . Kevin.

Now I don't know what I like!

2:02 PM  
Blogger John said...

My vote's for Kevin. But it needs a last name, too. In case it turns out that one of Jupiter's moons is also named Kevin. That would present a few awkward situations to space travelers.

"I thought you said you were going to meet me on Kevin?"

"I did. I'm on Kevin right now!"

"Wait, did you mean Earth Kevin?"

Since Kevin is floating around in space, it should have a space-sounding name. Like...Spacey. Yes, the moon should now be called Kevin Spacey. It;s better than K-PAX.

2:37 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

I thought Luna was it's name... No?

2:50 PM  
Blogger :phil: said...

Is 'Keith Moon' too obvious?

3:47 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

John, you're killing me! But you make a good point about how the moon should have a last name. My choice would be Kevin Mooney.

nypinta, isn't "luna" a foreign word meaning "moon"? Certainly Spanish, and maybe Italian? Calling it Luna is sort of like saying "Sahara Desert," which I believe translates to "Desert Desert."

Phil, nice try. I think you're on to something there.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Mr. T said...

I always though we were egotisical about our moon, which is why we called it "The Moon", as in the one and only... the orginal, accept no substitute. Which is also why all the other moons got names because we couldn't slight OUR moon by giving its title to other moons.

I like Kevin Mooney or maybe Kevn Toodlebottom

4:42 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

A name for the moon. Yes, I am completely with you once again!

4:59 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

I actually do like the name Luna, but it's moon in Italian I believe.

I'll vote for Kevin Mooney.

John, you cracked me up, too.

5:03 PM  
Blogger :phil: said...

I guess Keith Moon shows my age.
Luna was the Roman goddess of the moon.

How about (The Reverend) Sun Young Moon? That gives it a first, middle and last name.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Chloe said...

It's just a matter of time before The Donald starts using the moon as a huge billboard. So we better hurry up and pick a name before it's branded with a huge 'T'!

I love The Who, so my vote's for Keith Moon.

7:00 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I think Mr. T is on to something there. It's reminds me of how citizens of the United States refer to their country as "America," completely ignoring all the other countries in North and South America. And Kevin Toodlebottom — I like it.

Luna is the Roman moon goddess? I think we should settle it right now: is the moon male or female? I think it's a guy. What woman would admit to a complexion like that? Or should NASA send up an army of dermatologists?

A prediction: June 27, 2015 — the Sea of Tranquility becomes the site of The Trump City Hotel and Casino.

4:58 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

" It's reminds me of how citizens of the United States refer to their country as "America," completely ignoring all the other countries in North and South America."

I would just like to state for the record that we do that simply because we are lazy. (Well, at least I am. ;P ) It isn't meant to slight anyone else. I mean, our country's name is The United States of America. It's quite a mouthful really. And if I were traveling and someone asks, "Where are you from?" or "What are you?" I'm certainly not going to say "I'm a United Statesian" because that just sounds dumb. Plus, all those other countries that share this continent gave themselves different names.
Who are we to argue?

PS, I like Kevin Moon too. ;)

7:52 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Yeah, our founding fathers weren't on the ball, were they? I think the original thirteen states were all about being their own entities and only loosely federated, so just to make that point clear they came up with such a clumsy name. Just the sort of thing you'd expect a committee to produce.

So how about a new name for our country? Kevinland. Kevonia. Kevin Kountry. (I like that last one!)

8:28 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

How about Bad Moon? Cuz you know what you could say as it started to come up...

9:58 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Ha! Ha! I recognize that (probably because it's from my era, right?).

Maybe it should just be called Bad. Or Badness? "We've got a full Bad going on tonight." Just Bad. I like it!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Mr. T said...

Not to prolong the America tangent but Canada and Mexico are nearly our 51st and 52nd states any way so just give us some time.. we'll eventually be able to truly say we are Americans and not leave anyone out. :P

The Moon is a woman.. from a distance its is smooth and beautiful... but like anyone if you get up close enough you can see the flaws. And then there are the cycles. But I'm not going into any more detail on that.

But then what woman would want to be called Kevin? Hmm... maybe it can be a guy in touch with his female side. Would fit with the two sides of the moon. :)

10:50 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"And then there are the cycles. But I'm not going into any more detail on that."

I just laughed so hard I got a stomach cramp.

The moon a woman? Let's see: two-faced, never keeps to the same schedule every day, steals its brilliance from another — are you sure you want to go on record saying that? What will Mrs. T say?

11:17 AM  
Blogger Mrs.T said...


This is a great conversation here. MrT is bound to say something to me like 'YOU aren't two-faced like other women, Upclose you still have no flaws..'.. you see where this is going. He is a master loop-hole-r.

So instead of getting offended, I concur! The moon I think is a woman. :P

1:32 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Why can't my wife let me off the hook like this?

I'll tell you something semi-ironic: one of my nicknames is Mr. T.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Mr. T said...

Really, do you have a mohawk like my "avatar"? I would but my wife would surely scalp me in my sleep. Am I the only one in the world that WANTS to go bald?

Back to topic... uh, wait, nevermind, let's talk about something else. ;)

1:41 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I'm only Mr. T because my last name ends in "T." I pity the foo' who thinks otherwise.

1:49 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

So, it has nothing to do with a fear of flying or drinking a lot of milk?

2:07 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Well, maybe there's a tie-in with all the bling I wear and my bad-ass attitude, but other than that, nah.

2:36 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

LOL! We must have pictures.

2:46 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Ha! I'll work on it.

2:57 PM  
Blogger xsapph said...

What a wonderful site of musings... and this article is just so interesting! You are a natural writer, it flows and the witty underside is like turning over a turtle and discovering there is a pearl stuck on the muddy underbelly!

3:12 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Thank you, Sapphire-x. I'm very flattered.

Although maybe it's more of a Gummy Bear than a pearl…

3:21 PM  
Blogger CircadianRhythm said...

My favorite line from that post...

“Yeah, well I’ve got the black hole formerly known as Sagittarius A*. I’ve renamed it Jaws and it works for me now. Anything you need to say to Trixie’s Deelite, I suggest you say it soon.”

That was awesome.

3:24 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Thanks, Angela. You know, it's probably a good thing I don't have a black hole.

3:38 PM  
Blogger :phil: said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:36 PM  
Blogger :phil: said...

I swaying back to Kevin for the name. What do you think?

7:37 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Does Mr Schprock have a mohawk or what? He denies--but he seems like the type.
I agree that the moon is a woman--how about "Kirstie" for a name?

Read into that what you will.

3:39 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Phil, that's good! That's very good! I nearly spewed my tea all over the monitor!

Henry, I'll answer for John: let's just say I'm a stylish fellow, but never afraid to break any conventions of fashion. If anyone can bring off a Mohawk, it's me. But I'll never tell…

5:01 AM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

A couple of points. Firstly:
"For $54, plus shipping and handling"
What the? Shipping and handling of what? I can't begin to imagine the postal charge for a STAR!

Secondly, the "evil tube" that becomes a "snake" has suddenly taken on a whole new meaning for me that I never imagined before! :P

Next, the moon's name:
Humpty Dumpty.

1:57 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Yeah, I thought shipping and handling was pretty funny too. I think it's really for some sort of plaque.

Humpty Dumpty? Interesting, interesting…

2:35 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

I liked Trina's idea for Bad Moon...I get it ;)

3:32 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Actually, Mona, I'm starting to take a fresh look at Ulana.

3:39 PM  
Blogger pint size said...

hrmmm im going to leave a comment because i can.uh! wutcha gonna do now old man! MUHUHAHAHAHAHAHA...gee,maybe the next step is to actually read the blog and then leave a decent and proper comment...*thinks*

6:54 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Just a quick note while I have the chance. I've been in Houston for a week and am going home tomorrow. Thanks for the critical appraisal of my writing. I wrote all of my posts on friday before I left on my trip, and have been posting them as this sporatic internet connection has allowed. I feel the same about your writing on this blog. You have a unique perspective on life, and a witty style; so your comment to me carries some weight.
Back later...

8:29 AM  

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