No, I’m Not That Rebekah Cotton

There are five Rebekah Cottons in the United States. I know because I googled “how many of me” and then found this site. Pretty cool, huh? Meanwhile, there are 219 Americans who share my husband’s name. Among them are a doting father, an economist, and a minor league baseball player. They’re all Christopher Cotton.

But what are the chances that I would share my name with a Playboy Bunny from Australia? A Playboy Bunny who even goes by Bekah, just like me? A Playboy Bunny with an enormous online presence (among other enormities).

But let’s back up. Before I discovered this like-named Bunny, I expected to find pretty much what I found the last time I googled my name: a few hits from, an old article I wrote, and 100% cotton T-shirts for sale. This time I found none of that. Sometime in the last two years, the Bunny has emerged from her rabbit hole and snuffed out every other Rebekah Cotton in cyberspace. No one else with that name stands a chance of showing up in a google search. Type in her name—my name—and you get dozens upon dozens of hits, and they’re all her. Not until page 15 do you discover that there are other people named Rebekah Cotton.

howmanyCan I just say I’ve always liked my name? It was my dad’s idea to put the K in there. Most people with my name spell it Rebecca. I like the K, and I like the last name too. (Thank you, Christopher.) I kept my birth name for several years after I was married, until I finally had to admit that Cotton was easier to go by than the cumbersome Greek name I grew up with. Granted, I still have that Greek name—it’s now my middle name—but I don’t use it much.

That is, I haven’t used it much. The Bunny has changed things. Do I now use my middle initial and go by Rebekah T. Cotton? Or just go for the full Rebekah Torges Cotton? Using the middle initial seems a bit pretentious, and Torges is hard to remember (unless you consider that it rhymes with gorgeous, which I hesitate to point out). How about Bekah Cotton? But that seems informal, and I don’t like strangers referring to me as Bekah. It’s like the boyfriend who meets his potential in-laws and immediately starts calling them “mom” and “dad.” Too much, too soon. Of course I could just stick with Rebekah Cotton and let the rabbit poo fall where it may.

In the end, I don’t think there’s much risk that Rebekah’s fans and my clients will confuse one of us for the other. Still, the main problem is that my potential clients may google my name to size me up in advance. If they do, they will come across nude photos and words with extra Xs—like xerotica and—and they will likely think I’m underdressed and a terrible speller. No, I can’t afford to damage my reputation like that. Rebekah T. Cotton is winning by a hare.



Six Splendiferous Words Added to the OED as Roald Dahl Turns 100


You can now look up “oompa loompa” in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Every three months, editors at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) unveil a list of new words to be added to their dictionary. The latest list was especially scrumdiddlyumptious. In honor of Roald Dahl’s hundredth birthday, the OED added six words created or popularized by the beloved children’s author. Here’s a look.

This word refers to Dahl’s writing—which is “typically characterized by eccentric plots, villainous or loathsome adult characters, and gruesome or black humour,” notes the OED. The literary magazine Books Ireland first used the word in 1983.

Golden Ticket
The term “golden ticket” dates back to 1801, according to the OED, but the classic movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), and its endearing song, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” ensured that the phrase went mainstream.

Human Bean
Human bean is the mispronunciation of human being (and brings to mind Dr. Suess’s lovely play on “roast beast” in How the Grinch Stole Christmas). As the giant in The BFG said, “We is having an interesting babblement about the taste of the human bean. The human bean is not a vegetable.”

Oompa Loompa
Think small orange men with green hair and dungarees, singing a very catchy tune. Even though the word is just now debuting in the dictionary, it’s been popular since 1971, when you-know-which-movie came out starring Gene Wilder.

The OED’s take: “Extremely scrumptious; excellent, splendid; (esp. of food) delicious.” Although it originally appeared in 1942’s American Thesaurus of Slang, scrumdiddlyumptious became a household word after the release of The BFG: “Every human bean is diddly and different. Some is scrumdiddlyumptious and some is uckyslush.”

Witching Hour
Shakespeare gave us witching time, but Dahl came up with witching hour. The BFG defines witching hour as “a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world to themselves.”

If that’s not enough Roald Dahl for you, check out the OED’s revisions to these four Dahlesque words:

  • Frightsome
  • Gremlin
  • Scrumptious
  • Splendiferous


Post based on Quartz, Sept. 12, 2016.

Writer Rushes into Burning Building to Save 2 Novels


Writer Gideon Hodge dashes into his burning apartment building to save 2 novels, his “life’s work.”

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 15—Gideon Hodge was at work when a fire in his New Orleans apartment building broke out. On learning about the 3-alarm blaze, Hodge rushed to the scene with only one thing in mind: save the laptop that contained his two novels.

Dozens of firefighters were on the scene, trying to control the blaze, but 35-year-old Hodge, clad in a Batman T-shirt, was not daunted. Dashing past billowing smoke and firefighters yelling for him to stop, the self-described playwright, novelist, and actor managed to rescue his laptop and save his two novels.

“Anybody that’s ever created art, there’s no replacing that,” Hodge said. “It’s got pretty much my life’s work.” Hodge did not hesitate before running in. “Despite my better sense, I just ran inside and grabbed it. I didn’t think to be scared,” he said.

The computer was intact with no water damage. The charger was a loss.

No injuries were reported.

The New Orleans Advocate, 9/15/16