Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav is a silly name for a hurricane

It's hard for me to take a hurricane named Gustav seriously. Don't get me wrong. Gustav is perfectly fine as far as Swedish names go; in fact, it means - appropriately enough - "staff of the gods." But really, we had to go to Sweden to find a good "G" name? There aren't enough English, Spanish, French, Creole, Dutch names to fit the bill? I can't think of one dot of land in the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico with deep Swedish roots. So why the "Gustav"?

I'm rather picky about hurricane names. And let me say right from the start that I'm resentful we started using masculine names back in 1979. Hurricanes are clearly the daughters of Mother Nature. Opening the door for the likes of Igor, Omar, Otto, Peter, and Gordon just demeans a hurricane's power force. (Igor? Omar? What?!) Even fluffy female names seem more appropriate. Hurricane Dolly works. Hurricane Nestor does not.

Who chooses these names anyway? And what are they thinking? OK, OK. Giving in to the dictate to offer masculine names equal time, there are still a lot of questionable hurricane names on the list, even on the feminine side. The rules should be: 1) a name reflecting the culture and ethnicity of the hurricane area, and 2) a kick-ass name. So, Arthur, Josephine, Fred, Bonnie, Helene, and Pablo are fine, reflecting both rules 1 and 2. But Cristobal, Lisa, Bret, Kyle, Barry, Nicole, and Olga fail on at least one of them. And why have both a Kate and a Katia? (I vote for Kate.)

If the current trouble-maker's name were changed to Gustavo or just plain Gus, well, yeah, I could go along with it. Those are perfectly good Atlantic/Western Hemispheric hurricane names. But Gustav should be reserved for some Scandinavian disaster, like an over-abundance of Midnight Sun or a dearth of pickled herring.

As for me, and out of deep respect for the late Flip Wilson, I'm going to refer to the inaptly-named Gustav as Geraldine. Better brace yourselves because "What you see is what you get, Baby!"

10 comments:

jomoore said...

Australia have some good ones: Selwyn, Iggy and Wylva among the more unusual.

But Fiji seem to have some list compilers with their heads screwed on. Unless Hurricane Jo ends up a bad one, I'm happy to let them use my name...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Katrina sounded like a tamborine playing gypsy to me and look what she caused.
Now Bertha is a a name with some umph or Rocky or Butch but I agree, Gustav kinda sounds wussy. Gus would have been better!
Bro.

MaryB said...

Jo - no, see, you WANT a hurricane with your name to be a bad one. Makes you kinda (in)famous. There's a Josephine coming up - let's see what that one holds, eh?

Bro - yeah, I agree about Katrina, but a wussy name doesn't determine the impact of the storm. (Betsy? Andrew?) The namers shoulda stuck with Berta and Ethel. Grrrr! BTW, there's a Bill and a Kate slated for 2009. :-)

Anonymous said...

See, Bill works but Billy wouldn't.
Kate will be a humdinger!
Bro.

Anonymous said...

Fluffy the hurricane.

MaryB said...

Gustav = Fluffy
Bruno = Oooh! I'm scared

Ashley said...

What happens when we run out of names? Will it become: Hurricane 2014-001, 002, 003 etc... As an accountant, it makes more sense to me.

MaryB said...

Well, Ashley, that's why we don't let accountants name hurricanes!
:-)

Liz said...

You've put some serious thought into this, haven't you, mary?

MaryB said...

Well, yeah, Liz. I mean, we go through this hurricane stuff every year, so that gives us time to wonder about such things. (I notice there's not a Liz or Lizzie or Elizabeth or Betty. Betsy's been retired as a name, so maybe that's why.)