Terra Sigillata

Before my colleague DrugMonkey gives me more grief about not yet having a CafePress shop (theirs here) to sell and give away paraphernalia related to this blog, I have a question for you, the always erudite and good-looking reader of this humble blog.

You see, I don’t know exactly what text to put on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and thongs, that properly reflect the name recognition – dare I say, “brand” – of this blog. When I first started the blog on 15 December 2005, I thought that Terra Sigillata was a great name and a great metaphor for the natural product medicines I try to write about mostly. (Read here if you didn’t know the Terra Sigillata story.) However, I never anticipated that:

1. More than two dozen of you would actually be repeat readers.

2. “Terra Sigillata” would be difficult for some to pronounce.

3. “Terra Sigillata” would put us in the bottom quarter of most blogrolls.

I started thinking about this when some of my colleagues put “Abel Pharmboy” in their blogrolls where, happily, I was at the top of their alphabetical lists.

When I meet people in meatspace, they invariably call me “Abel” even if they are privy to my real name, but there is often hesitance in pronouncing “Terra Sigillata” – the only exception, no surprise here – is Bora Zivkovic. It can be pronounced in two ways depending on whether you are a student of Latin [sij-uh-ley-tuh] or, more commonly (and the way Bora does it), sig-uh-lah-tuh. (You can go here to hear the second, more common pronunciation).

However, when referring to the blog I used “Terra Sig.” Of course, “my blog” also works. (I’m also reminded that Dr Shelley Batts (Retrospectacle, Of Two Minds) was fond of using my hip-hop name, “T-Sig.”)

I’m not planning on changing the blog’s name, mind you. I am more interested in knowing how you refer to the blog so that I can put text and images on a CafePress shirt that the 500 of you will actually recognize. I can assure you that regardless of your input, my new tagline, “The Awesome Power of Natural Products,” will be featured.

Hence, might I impose upon you to take a moment from your Friday slacking to answer this poll. You are permitted up to two answers and, for the more creative among you, an “Other” choice and fill-in box has been provided.


Of course, any comments or suggestions for T-shirt design will be gladly taken under consideration below.

Have a great weekend!

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Suh
    October 23, 2009

    At least according to classical latin, isn’t the pronunciation “sig-i-lah-tah”? I usually say “Terra Sig”, which is generally enough for people to Google accurately and find your blog.

  2. #2 Katharine
    October 23, 2009

    Actually, in proper Latin, it’s ‘seeg-ee-lah-tah’.

  3. #3 Abel Pharmboy
    October 23, 2009

    Thanks, Eric. Yes, your pronunciation is actually most common.

    “Terra Sig” on Google currently brings the blog up as the #3 return. “Terra Sig blog” actually brings up the old Blogger blog as #1, then this one #2 despite the fact that I haven’t posted over there since June 2006 and this blog has 10X the number of posts and total visitors. Any SEO folks care to comment?

    Katharine, see, there’s even no online consensus about the Latin pronunciation!

  4. #4 Cássio
    October 23, 2009

    For a native speaker of one of the romance languages, pronouncing Terra Sigillata is quite straightforward. But Abel Pharmboy is cool.

  5. #5 Joe
    October 23, 2009

    That was a tough call. I decided on Terra Sig because I favor conservation of syllables and, in English, the longer form conveys no more information (at least, for us- the cluelescenti). I decided against the APB-type names because I think the name of the blog is the primary consideration.

    As far as pronunciation, take the case of a simple, organic functional group “amide” for which I accept three pronunciations. I think what happens is that somebody publishes a paper proposing the term, and we are left to our own devices to figure-out how to enunciate it.

  6. #6 Art
    October 23, 2009

    That science blog … you know the one … with the funny name … the pharmacy guy.

    Yea … the one with the picture. Kinda a caricatured drawing of an 80s lounge lizard?

    I know that one … picture looks like an extra from that old TV show … ummm … Miami Vice.

    Exactly.

    Puts out good posts. A bit full of himself I think.

    Good, clear posts … understandable and interesting … I’ve learned a lot from that blog. But you’re right … a bit full of himself … sort of like Miami Vice was …

    Something about being around drugs I think …

    LOL.

  7. #7 frog
    October 23, 2009

    Isn’t the Roman way ‘si-gil-LAH-ta’? The penultimate a is long, so it’s the accent point, altering the i’s to ‘i’ instead of ‘ee’, and the syllables are CV/CVC in Latin. So: TER-ra si-gi-LAH-ta.

  8. #8 Phoenix Woman
    October 23, 2009

    Go ahead, market it as Terra Sigillata. Use a fancy font, too, and great big letters.

    Underneath, in slightly smaller script, put something like: “The power of the earth” or “the earthy science” or “uncommon cures from the common clay”.

  9. #9 bill
    October 24, 2009

    “Gettin’ Siggy Wit It.”

    Shoot me. Shoot me now.

  10. #10 Abel Pharmboy
    October 25, 2009

    @Art – you’re killing me. Full of myself like Miami Vice was. 80s lounge lizard. I guess it’s the appearance of neck and chest hair by the artist (Australian illustrator and painter, George Aldridge) that I lack completely. I did spend a fair bit of time in Florida though.

    @PhoenixWoman – yes, that’s why I have the “medicines from the Earth” tagline in the masthead my brother-in-law and sister designed for me.

    @bill – That was actually good. I’ll shoot you when you get home /BugsBunny

  11. #11 Art
    October 25, 2009

    The lounge lizard look is all from the caricature. The jaunty, laid back, gratuitously relaxed posture. The glasses that lend both inscrutability and exaggerated coolness. The porn star facial hair. The jacket/tee shirt look is very Miami casual-cool.

    But there is nothing wrong with any of that. A caricatured drawing is not a person. Any more than what you see in a fun house mirror is the person. But it is the picture you selected and says something.

    Personally it doesn’t matter beyond being a convenient triviality to post about. My predilection is to pull a Mr.Rogers and love you ‘just the way you are’ because the oddity of presentation are by far overwhelmed by the usefulness of the blog itself as an educational and informational source.

    As for the name. I can never remember it. But there isn’t much need to remember it because, as with other Sciblings, I connect with your posts by way of the Sciblogs 24 hour scroll page. Pharmboy would be more immediately memorable but I can’t say it would change how frequently I read your posts.

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