Saturday, May 7, 2011

And They're Off!

The Kentucky Derby is today. Horse racing always kind of creeped me out--I don't care for horses, and the old, dusty unemployed men at the OTB just make me sad. Also, I suck at gambling, so there's that.

Still, one of the more fascinating things about horse racing is the names they give horses. They're always kind of weird and nondescript. There's no "Boxer" or "Trigger"or "Silver" running laps; it's names like this year's "Dialed In" and "Midnight Interlude" and "Pants on Fire." Some get away with normal-sounding names (for, well, horses, anyway) like "Nehro". But just like show dogs, they tend to get saddled (ha!) with odd phrases for names.

And so I began to think--where do they come up with these crazy names? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that jockeys are pretty much just 80 pounds of muscle powered by a thin stream of Red Bull and cocaine, and the type of rich guys who own race horses border on the Howard Hughes end of the sanity scale. So I thought of the only place where such odd names come up readily available: Amazon's "Statistically Improbably Phrases."

The SIPs are supposed to be phrases within the text of a book that are unlikely to show up in any other work--they have to have been specifically strung together and unique. They're often very strange but oddly make sense in the context of the book. So I've made the quiz below: match the classic or well-known book with one of Amazon's Statistically Improbably Phrases that would serve well as the name of the race horse you will one day own, and the most likely owner of said horse:

1. Quaker Librarian
2. Red Hunting Hat
3. Bloated Colonel
4. Impudent Strumpet
5. Great Snipe
6. Green Green Brown
7. Portable Property
8. Stable Buck
9. Lemon Verbena Sachet
10. Incarnate History

a. Free-Market Objectivist With Little Imagination
b. Someone Very Hungry
c. Trophy Wife
d. The Most Boring Dinner Party Invitee
e. Rich Prankster Everyone Secretly Resents
f. Sour Professor
g. Foreign Billionaire With Language Syntax Problems
h. Retired Officer Living Off Of Pension
i. Risk-Averse Cad
j. English Lord With Little Fashion Sense

A. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
B. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
C. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
D. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
E. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
F. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
G. Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger
H. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
I. Ulysses by James Joyce
J. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

No comments:

Post a Comment