What’s in a name?

I usually love having the opportunity to name things. I’ve had my future dog and children’s names picked out for some time, and I love when a turn of phrase hits my ear just so. So it’s surprising that, given the opportunity to name two things I’m involved with recently, I’m coming up completely blank. For weeks. I’ve been batting around a number of ideas, but nothing has triggered that a-ha moment.So I turn to you, non-existent readers of this blog that I restarted yesterday.

Name the first: On April 15, I’m doing a public lecture at Machine Project called “Ill-gotten Brains: The Grisly History of Sourcing Bodies for Anatomical Learning.” My friend Peigi has awesomely offered to brew an Irish Red Ale for attendees of the event. I am unbelievably flattered to have a beer brewed in my honor, but I can’t come up with a good, gory name for it!

Here are some of the ideas we’ve batted around: Hops & Robbers, Skullgluggery, Pils-Gotten Brains, Death Rattle(r), Eviscerator, Gutpunch, Bodysnatcher, Desecration, Graverobbin Rye, Scapelbock, The Vesalian, Plastinator, Indigent, The Bloody Quill, Burke & Hare of the Dog, Cerebrus, Cadaver, MMMBrains, Burke & Hare of the Dog, Bloody Murder, Pickled Ginger, Trepanic Attack…

Some of these aren’t style appropriate (they were before we knew what style the beer would be) but I think I like Burke & Hare of the Dog, although it’s a little inside baseball (most people will only get the reference after my talk, when the beer would be likely long gone.)

Name the second: In February, I put on a really fun event at our library with author Colin Dickey, where he read from his book Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius. We also had phrenology and anatomy related rare books on display, and wine and cheese. I got permission to do another one, this time on a larger scale, in October and I’m very, very excited about it. We’ll have <I>New York Times</I> bestselling author Deborah Blum discussing her book, The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. We’ll have rare books from our collection dealing with pharmacology and toxicology, some old herbals, etc. We’ve also got Food2 babes Alie & Georgia coming up with an alcoholic “poison brew” for the event. As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about this event. Now that there are two, and ostensibly I should be able to do one event like this per year following this beautiful formula (history of medicine popular author talk + rare books + booze) I feel I should name the series. But what? I want it to be short, sweet, recognizable. Mad Science was vetoed. I like Weird Science, Old Medicine Show… I just don’t think I’ve hit it yet.

I keep expecting to wake with a start one night and blurt the most perfect name for both things out in a rush. That hasn’t happened yet. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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