The Corner

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A Boy Named Jo


Toward the end of Impromptus, after discussing grave and world-affecting matters, I spend some time on the Detroit Tigers. That’s grave and world-affecting too, for some people (some of us). I mention that Anibal Sanchez has broken a team record held by my boyhood hero, Mickey Lolich. (I also loved another Mickey, Stanley.) Sanchez struck out 17 in a game; Lolich struck out 16.

I write, “I don’t care that ‘Anibal’ sounds ever so slightly like a girl’s name. I don’t care that he’s breaking my man’s records. All I care about is that the Tigers win.”

Readers have informed me that “Anibal” (really Aníbal) is the Spanish Hannibal. Oops. That’s maybe the least girly name there is. In any event, I’d like to mention something related, here on the Corner. The British press has been reporting on Boris Johnson’s brother, who has been given a significant job by David Cameron. I’m sorry to refer to a man merely, or primarily, as someone else’s brother. Boris is famous, however, both as a writer and as mayor of London. And before I continue: You know the famous story about the Kalbs, don’t you? I think it’s apocryphal, but it’s a wonderful story — “too good to check,” as the saying goes.

Marvin Kalb and Bernard Kalb both worked at NBC News. The latter was well-known; but the former was positively famous. The story goes, their mother calls NBC one day and says, “Hello, this is Marvin Kalb’s mother. Is Bernie there?”

Anyway, Boris’s brother — his name is Jo Johnson. “Jo” is short for Joseph. Here in America, “Jo” is only feminine, as far as I know. Indeed, Jo is one of Louisa May Alcott’s “little women.” Maybe in Britain, they do things differently.

Consider this blogpost a break from the grave and world-affecting . . .


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