By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
I’m a great namer of things. By “things,” I mostly mean animals. My dog is known as Bix, which is a perfect moniker for a Mississippi mudhound.
I plucked it out of a segment on Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke in Ken Burns’ “Jazz” special. We actually had the name before we had the dog, so we went to the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society looking for a Bix. We found him when a lady pulled her car into the parking lot, popped the trunk and revealed a box full of puppies. You could say the Mississippi mudhound is the perfect breed for a name like Bix.
Every great namer of things misses the mark at times, and I made a critical mistake in naming our black cat, Macduff. We have a tradition of naming cats after characters in Shakespeare’s plays, but we’ve learned it’s wrong to seek inspiration from a tragedy.
If you do, make sure the tragedy isn’t “Macbeth.” Actors in productions of “Macbeth” consider it bad luck to actually say “Macbeth.” They use “The Scottish Play” instead.
Cats are warmblooded slices of chaos in the best of times. What did I do? I got a black cat and called it Macduff, and life hasn’t been the same since.
On Wednesday, we added a gray and white kitten to the family. We’ve dubbed her Bianca after a character in Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Kate is the shrew in the play, though her sister, Bianca, isn’t as sweet as she pretends.
Still, “Taming of the Shrew” is a comedy, so what could go wrong?
There’s another naming opportunity available, but I’m forbidden from taking part.
The Mighty Daily Journal is getting a state-of-the-art printing press. Journalists are known to be a cynical bunch, but we’re getting excited as the early October launch approaches. I imagine we’ll be giddy on that first day. We’ll have our coffee cups and folding chairs in our driveways during the predawn hours, waiting for our papers to arrive. It’s a big deal around here.
Our current press was named “Big Blue” long before I came on board. It makes sense that the new press should have its own name.
Northeast Mississippi students are invited to offer suggestions, and the winner will get a Nintendo 3DS and other prizes. The deadline to enter is Aug. 31, and the winner will be announced Sept. 5. My idea is “The McLean 5000,” after George McLean, who led the Journal through most of the 20th century. I added the “5000” part for flair. Clearly, if I were able to compete, the Nintendo 3DS would be mine – “Mario Kart 7” baby!
Send your suggestions, along with name, age, address, phone number, school’s name and teacher’s name, to Name the New Press Contest c/o The Mighty Daily Journal, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. You’re also free to bring your entry to our worldwide headquarters at 1242 S. Green St., Tupelo.
One request: Please don’t look to Shakespeare’s tragedies for inspiration.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.