Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 03.22.04
Stanstead, Quebec


What's in a name?

Many readers may be asking themselves, "Alphonse" - in my mind, all readers are named Alphonse; don't ask me why - "Alphonse, how could it be that the former owner and editor of The Stanstead Journal is suddenly writing a column for the competition?

Also, where did I put my car keys?"

These are good questions. To address the latter first, did you look on the breadbox?

As for this column, it is part of a new trend in my life. I recently converted from Macintosh computer to Windows. I've also gone from journalism to public relations.

So I figured, why not go completely over to The Dark Side and write for The Sherbrooke Record?

I'm also considering voting Reform - oops! I mean Conservative - in the next Canadian federal election.

What will this column be about? Another good question, Alphonse. (Did you check on the dresser?) After eleven years covering the news, I feel I have my finger on the pulse of the Eastern Townships. I'm also checking the cholesterol of Lac-St-Jean and performing a vasectomy on Rivière-de-Loup.

Thus, this column will be about the whacky world around us as well as other things that go "whack," like cricket bats and those doohickeys in film production they clack together when they say "Action!"

Tremendous thought - a full two minutes! - went into finding a name for this column. Column names, after all, are like wallpaper; you better find one you like because you're going to be stuck with it a long time. Sort of like Democratic presidential candidates.

At first we thought of "Stuff." This name was found to appeal to this column's target audience: mouth-breathers with short attention spans. Our crack team of researchers found that "Stuff" conveyed the main themes of this column, which are a) sundry items of foolishness and b) food stuffed inside other food: stuffed tomatoes, stuffed turkey, Double-Stuff Oreos, and cheese stuffed in everything else.

But that name wasn't punchy enough.

So we tried "Stuff and Nonsense," which hearkens to hoity-toity Oscar Wilde characters who say things like, "Pish-tush!" or "Poppycock!" (Isn't it interesting, by the way, that when an idea is bad, it is described as "poppycock" whereas brilliance is described as a "crackerjack idea." Perhaps our culture has an ugly subconscious caramel popcorn bias. And that's the kind of deep insight you can expect from this column every week.)

Soon we discovered that most any column name eventually ends up sounding lame and unfunny. Sort of like Democratic presidential candidates. Here are some other rejected names for this column:

  • The Libel Corner
  • Say That Again and I'll Pop Ya
  • Secrets and Flies
  • Let Me Tell You About My Operation
  • Code-Name: B.S.
  • My Own Private Heidi-Ho
  • Ego Central
  • Letters from a Dork
  • The Second-to-Last Word
  • As I See It (Blurry)
  • Today's Special Comes With Soup
  • "Column"? I Thought You Said "Colon"!
  • Words, Slightly Used, Taking Best Offer
  • Call Me Ishkabibble
  • Townships Voices in My Head
  • You're Not Going to Like This But...
  • Can't Get Enough of My Love
This column will attempt to highlight the foibles of mankind in the 21st century. Together, we'll explore world affairs as well as marital affairs of people named Alphonse.

We'll be walking a path of discovery towards enlightenment through laughter, through love, and through lunch. We'll attempt to determine what it is deep inside us that makes us human.

Ah, who am I kidding? This column's all about my kids.