Irrelevant Troubadour

The Top 9 Worst Shipping Pormanteau Names

Shipping is a strange and woolly phenomenon.  I mean, I can understand why people do it and find it fun–it’s fun to speculate about romance, after all, and it’s much easier and less risky to do it with fictional characters than with real people.  Heck, I’ve even had brief fascinations with ‘ships in my time (not telling you which ones–people I know in real life read this thing and I gotta hide my powerlevel!)  Still, this doesn’t negate the fact that a lot shipping is extremely silly.  That, I imagine, is one of the big reasons behind its appeal.

One aspect I never will understand, however, are the portmanteau names.  You see them in mainstream gossip mags all the time–Brangelina, TomKat, etc. etc.–and they never stop being silly-sounding.  What’s even worse is when fans start to identify themselves via their ship names, leading to large groups of otherwise sane teenage girls referring to themselves as ‘Zuatarans’ or ‘Harmonians’ like they’re aliens from a 1950s B-movie.  With that, I present the top nine worst shipping portmanteaus.  Please note that in this list I’m not bashing the pairing in question (for most of these, I haven’t even seen/read the canon in question), just the name, so don’t worry, I’m not internet persecuting you.

9. Suzalulu (Suzaku/Lelouch, Code Geass)

god damn CLAMP people are skinny

Hot hot figurine yaoi used completely without permission from someone named milk_of_time's Livejournal

This one just sounds silly.  I think I had a mai tai at a tiki bar called ‘Suzalulu’ once.

8. Spuffy (Spike/Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

a-blah, a-blah!

I have no idea who made this but it's pretty silly looking.

I absolutely refuse to ever watch Buffy (watch me get hooked on it a few months from now and start writing vampire slashfic or something), but I’ve known enough enough fans of the show to know that shipping is serious business.  The shipping names, though, are not, as evinced by ‘Spuffy’.  And its rival ship, ‘Bangel’, doesn’t get off easily either.

7. Logurt (Wolverine/Nightcrawler, X-Men)

hey, they could've been listening to "car talk"
No idea where this is from.

Don’t you want some delicious Logurt?  It’s the cultured pairing!  Hee.  I slay myself.

6. Gwack (Gwen/Jack, Torchwood)

one classy waterfoul

Google Image Search is my friend.

Gwack gwack gwack!

5. USUK (America/United Kingdom, Axis Powers Hetalia)

checks and balances motherfucker
Have a diagram of the US and UK govermental structures from Wikipedia.

I’m sorry, I really am.  I just can’t help but read it as “u suk”.  And names for slash ships should generally be a bit more eloquent than YouTube comments.

4. KatPee (Katniss/Peeta, The Hunger Games)

he is hiding something

I got this image from someplace called "". I won't be surprised if they've conquered the entire internet within a year.

Eew.  Now I have even less of a reason to ever read these books.

3. Kum (Kurt/Sam, Glee)

i really can't imagine someone wearing this in public, even though zazzle says it's "rated G"

You can actually purchase these shirts from Zazzle, though I have no idea why you'd want to.

Kum.  Kum.  Kum. There’s no way to say it that sounds good.  In fact, Glee in general is really bad with it’s shipping names: it’s also given us “Furt” (Finn/Kurt, sounds like an armpit farting noise) and “Puckleberry” (Puck/Rachel, sounds like something old people have to eat).

2. Rwanda (Ralphie/Wanda, The Magic Schoolbus)

not even gonna make any jokes

Image courtesy of the US State Department

I don’t know which is worse, that there are Magic Schoolbus shippers out there, or that they decided to name their shop after one of the most war-ravaged countries on the planet.  Like, I feel bad making jokes here.  Let’s go on to the next one.

1. Chair (Chuck/Blair, Gossip Girl)

really, it's just a chair

A chair. Just a chair. That's all it is. A chair.

So you ship Chair?  Because I ship End Table!  I hate those people who ship Sofa, though; that pairing is so OOC.

There are plenty of pairings out there that take names from real-life objects and phenomena, but I’m singling this one out because it just seems so silly to go on the internet and say “Chair forever!” or “I hate Chair!” or “I wish more people wrote about Chair!”.  It’s just…Chair.  I don’t know what else to say.


Well, I hope you learned something about the magic of shipping.  I know I certainly didn’t.  But wasn’t it fun not learning anything?

And before you ask, me and my girlfriend’s portmanteau couple name is “Weaselboner”, so in a way making this list was cathartic.


Something I Just Realized
February 25, 2011, 1:49 am
Filed under: music, ridiculousness

According to Wikipedia, Joanna Newsom has been in a relationship with Andy Samberg since 2007.  This means that there’s a good chance that she may have written the love songs on Have One On Me (a great album, by the way) about him.  This means, in turn, that said songs are now retroactively hilarious.

If you don’t get why, listen to this:

while looking at this:

That is all.

I’m Giving Up Blogging
February 22, 2011, 8:33 pm
Filed under: internet nonsense, live action tv, ridiculousness

I’ve just found the best website on the internet.  I’m never going to be able to top it, so why bother?

I present to you:

Fuck Yeah, Whose Line Fanart!

a steamy showertimeIt’s been real.

Let’s Get Metaphorical
February 7, 2011, 1:32 am
Filed under: literature, ridiculousness

In which I explain some jokes and in so doing deprive them of their humor.

You know what I find hilarious?  Bad metaphors.  It’s one of the few sub-categories of bad writing that’s consistently amusing and very rarely dull or off-putting.  They way I see it, you have four kinds of bad metaphors:

  • The basic mixed metaphor.  Simple and often effective. From the sports column of the New Jersey Star Ledger: “He was marooned in the jaws of a human minefield, and with every step the noose grew tighter.”
  • The forgotten metaphor, or “metaphorgotten” to quote the perpetually pun-happy TV Tropes.  Writing a metaphor is like riding a bull, see: you have to be careful not to let it get away from you or you’ll end up lying on the sand at a fairground in New Mexico while a bunch of snot-nosed kids laugh at you and then you’ll get puked on by a drunk clown.
  • The absurd metaphor.  It works, but the thing it compares the event it describes to is so outlandish that it draws attention to itself, something that in my mind metaphors shouldn’t do unless they’re begin deliberately silly.  It’s something like this, from the often hilarious LiveJournal community weepingcock: “And then he was fully socketed to her, like a pipe wrench in a crock of warm chili.”  Although thinking back on it, I kind of think “socketed” is much worse than any number of pipe wrenches in chili.
  • The completely literal metaphor.  I had to go to the Lyttle Lytton Contest to find this one: “The boat moved through the sea like wood through water.”  If you don’t get it, read it again.

And before you say it: yeah, I know all of these are similes, but I’ve never really cared for that distinction.  In closing, I hope you enjoyed reading this completely pointless post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It’s been real.

The Top Nine Most Homoerotic Prog-Rock Album Covers
February 3, 2011, 12:07 am
Filed under: music, ridiculousness

People on the internet love lists, right?  Well, even if you don’t, here’s one anyway.

When someone says “prog rock” to you, what’s the first image that comes into your mind? I mean, after the bemusement was to why a random stranger is walking up to you and mentioning a musical genre for no discernible reason. Is it Rick Wakeman in a cape? Peter Gabriel in a flower costume? A mellotron? No, I’d be willing to be that for most of you the image that prog rock conjures in your mind is of one its iconic album covers—The Dark Side of the Moon, In the Court of the Crimson King, a Roger Dean thing from Yes, something like that. Prog is a genre defined as much by its visuals and its icons as much as its music.

Prog rock is also almost exclusively a boys’ club. Oh, I know, there was Kate Bush, there was Renaissance, there were all those Canterbury bands I haven’t bothered to listen to, but besides them the vast majority of progressive rock was created by men. And in all-male communities, well…things happen. So it should come as no surprise that I present to you the Top Nine Most Homoerotic Progressive Rock Album Covers.

Before we begin, let’s first deal with the honorable mentions. These albums don’t make it onto the list not because they aren’t gay enough, but because they aren’t prog enough. True, they’re from prog-related genres—jazz and power metal, if you care—but the just don’t have that necessary cocktail of sophomoric genius needed for true prog. Still, they are pretty damn gay, so here they are.


Herbie Mann - Push Push


Manowar – Anthology (though really, any Manowar album could fit here)

Now, without further ado…

9. Captain Beyond – Captain Beyond

Now, there’s nothing overtly gay about this cover, but you have to admit that this guy (who I must assume is the album’s titular “Captain Beyond”) is more than a little bit fabulous. I mean, look at that coat! Look at those boots! Look at that bulge!

8. Gentle Giant – Acquiring the Taste

Now, again, there’s nothing explicitly gay about this cover; neither the extremely creepy-looking mouth nor the, um, body part it appears to be licking are given a gender. But still, there’s no way I was going to leave something like this off this list.

It’s also worth noting that when you open up this record’s gatefold, you discover that the…object that the tongue is about to take a healthy lick from is in fact a piece of fruit. This is about the calibre of humor we can expect from Gentle Giant.

7. Marillion – Fugazi

UK neo-proggers Marillion raise so many more questions than answers with this album cover. The issue of why a DC punk band decided to name themselves after this album aside, you have to wonder about the guy on the cover’s hips. Are they broken in some way? If not, how exactly is it physically possible for him to lie like that? As for the stuff in the background, well, Marillion have a well-documented history of including lots of pointless shit on their album covers. I’m sure the sad clown painting, the walkman, and the lizard all have intense symbolic significance to the members of the band, but here, they’re mostly just clutter.

How, then, is this album cover homoerotic? I mean, sure, it’s got a good deal of male skin on it, but it’s not particularly sexualized male skin. No, to figure this one out, you need to look back at the cover to Marillion’s earlier opus Script for a Jester’s Tear.

Now see that little bit of motley on the Fugazi guy’s foot? Yep. Marillion have made Rule 34 of themselves.

6. Emerson, Lake, & Palmer – Love Beach

Love Beach is considered by many to be not only ELP’s shark-jumping moment, but also the end of the classic prog era. Here was a band that was previously known for concept albums about cyborg armadillos and half-hour keyboard solos, standing on a beach with their shirts open like the Bee Gees. And that’s the reason this album isn’t higher up on this list: it’s quite gay (in a coked-up 70s sort of way), but it’s not particularly prog. But still, Emerson (or is it Lake? maybe Palmer?) and his hairy chest mean that I can’t very well ignore this album.

5. Dreamscape – Trance

Now no one has heard of prog-metal-electronica act Dreamscape besides their, like, three MySpace friends—indeed, I hadn’t heard of them until I started researching for this list—but this can’t be ignored. Besides the fact that’s it’s got a man in a thong on it, this cover is just bad. There’re all the crappy blends, gradients, and Photoshop filters, there’s that god-awful font, there’s the sickening blue color—this is the sort of thing that keeps graphic designers from getting any sleep at night.  In fact, I’m starting to have second thoughts about including this on the list; I’m a big fan of both progressive rock and gay people, and I don’t really think either deserve to be associated with this image.

4. Atomic Rooster – Nice & Greasy

Now, I know that this cover is from an extremely limited edition version of this album that only came out in Germany, but come on. They’re shooting laser beams out of their massive penises! Who thought this was a good idea? All I know is that is a band that was definitely compensating for something. Oh, and calling the album Nice & Greasy doesn’t exactly help things either.

Tie for 2. Rush – Hemispheres and Yes – Going for the One

Ah, yes, the naked man-ass duo of the late 70s. Many a young prog nerd at the time had to endure the painful sting of mockery from his peers as he purchased these records from the shop, and no amount of justification (“But Rick Wakeman’s back for this one!”) would make him seem any more masculine. At least in Rush’s case, there’s a pretentious symbolic meaning for everything on the cover: you see, the straight-laced businessman dude represents the Apollonian ideal, and the naked guy posing on the giant brain represents the Dionysian ideal, beckoning the Apollonian to go on a journey into the center…of the mind, man. With Yes, on the other hand, it’s just a naked dude’s toned, firm rump. Which, admittedly, is a bit more than you got with Roger Dean.

And the number 1 most homoerotic progressive rock album cover of all time is…

Dream Theater – When Dream and Day Unite


So what have we learned here today? Well, I think the main thing to take away from this is that homoeroticism in prog rock transcends time, place, and obscurity. On this list, you have 70s classics and 00s upstarts, stadium legends and MySpace losers, Canadians and Brits. Truly, the full spectrum of prog is represented. Except for, y’know, all the other prog bands that weren’t on this list. Okay, so maybe there isn’t a message to take away from this. Ah well, enjoy the branding.

All Your Evolutionary Theory Are Belong To Us
December 2, 2010, 4:04 am
Filed under: internet nonsense, ridiculousness, social sciences

I wonder if Richard Dawkins knew when he came up with his theory of memetics that in 30 short years the term “meme” would come to apply almost exclusively to humorous cat pictures.


"I went on /b/ one time and it reaffirmed my lack of belief in a just god."

Laurel Hill Follow-Up: “HaHaHaHa!!! That was unexpected! =D”
November 25, 2010, 11:58 pm
Filed under: internet nonsense, ridiculousness

This really speaks for itself.