Thursday, December 9, 2010


If I'm counting correctly, this is the 23rd different variation on my name and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. I recently read somewhere that parents are putting a premium on unique names, rather than traditional or family names. Maybe this Starbucks cashier was just trying to help me out in that department? I'll give her plus two (+2) style points: one for the very girlie and loopy handwriting and another for the smiley face. I wonder if she drew the smiley because she knew she spelled my name incorrectly and just wanted to soften the blow, or if that's her signature trademark as a Starbucks cashier?


With its very faint accent mark on the E, this spelling reminded me of CHAROLE -- the very first post on this blog. Who knew that four months later I'd still have fodder? (Please check out some of the old posts if you haven't already done so.) Some of you have commented that the various clerks have to be doing this on purpose. I would believe that conspiracy theory also, except that my purchases are spread out between at least a half dozen different locations and a few different eating/drinking establishments across the Los Angeles area. It's been the story of my life since Day One. I used to get mad, but now I like it because 1) I have a new blog post; 2) It brings a little humor in my life; and 3) It just proves that in the battle of evolution, my gene pool has won.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Get Drunk at Starbucks

USA Today reports that Starbucks is planning to serve regional wine and beer, along with cheese platters on china plates. Seventy-percent of Starbucks' business is before 2pm, so this is an attempt to make the evening hours more profitable. Click here for the link. I don't know about you, but nothing says "fine wine" or "romantic atmosphere" like Starbucks.  Also, in major cities, Starbucks is one of the few establishments that offers a public bathroom. We all know what happens when you mix public intoxication and lavatories. Nice, right?

I wonder if when you order your glass of Merlot or Cabernet from the hipster cashiers and wine stewards (oh god, hipster wine stewards!), if they'll write your name on the side of a plastic glass? I can't even imagine what kind of misspellings I'll get if there's alcohol in the mix. I'll look forward to that. 

Friday, December 3, 2010


Today's entry comes from the corporate cafeteria. I don't go there too often because I've been brown-bagging it to save up some money (Starbucks aren't free, you know.) A previous entry at the commissary yielded the only full-on bingo/correct spelling I've had of my name since the inception of this blog back in August. But alas, today's post will not disappoint in the misspelling department.

I went to the grill and ordered a black bean burger and some fries. The cook noted my menu choices and asked my name. I told him, but then there was a long...dramatic...pause. He looked to me for some help, but just as I blurted out "C", he quickly scribbled SHAREL. He apologized and went back and corrected the "S" to a "C", but, of course, in the whole scheme of things, it really didn't matter.

I went back and looked over all my old blog posts, and this is a completely new and unique spelling (with either the C or the S), so I'm going to give plus three (+3) style points for originality, and one more style point for a yummy and filling lunch.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SHERILL - Part 2

Otherwise known as "Sherill: When Misspellings Attack" or "The Revenge of the Misspelling." Sherill is a repeat from an August blog post, but seems to be one of the favorite variations, along with Sherell. Yes, phonetically I get it, but logically, I'm just having a difficult time. What started as a funny little experiment to amuse myself is turning into a depressing commentary on the American educational system.

But rather than wonder where the country went wrong, let me dissect this entry even more. First, not sure if you can get the scale from this photo, but this is some of the tiniest writing I've seen in a long time. I'm going to deduct negative one (-1) style points for the "S" that looks like an number eight, and that "R" is dangerously close to being a "V". I've noticed at this Starbucks location, the regular barista doesn't announce names when beverages are ready, he just yells out the drink size/type. He must be as equally baffled as I am.

Maybe I'll pronounce this CHEV-VEAL with a French flair? (Though that would require an E on the end, it's almost as logical as this spelling.)

Until they misspell again -- and you know they will very soon!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

And have some 'punkin' pie!

This was in my email this morning from my friend David in New York City. No explanation as to where/who/why, but do we really need one?


I was so impressed they got "we're" correct, it took me a second to see the misspelling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I know I've been remiss in updating this blog, but it's not without good reason. I've been very inspired in my larger writing and re-writing projects. Also, my script "Within the Darkness" was recently named a Finalist in the annual Horror Screenplay Contest sponsored by Cherub Films, so I've been trying to send my twisted little baby out into the world to gather more accolades and attention.

However, today's coffee mangling was just too good not to share immediately. As you can see, Starbucks has switched over to their holiday-themed hot cups. It was a chilly 39F (3C, for my international readers) in Los Angeles overnight, so I was looking forward to a hot steamy beverage with my morning commute. When I gave the cashier my name, I could tell she was confused and waiting for me to spell it for her, but, of course, I didn't let her off the hook. I could tell by the swoop of her hand that she boldly went for the "Sherl" -- but then was at a loss for the second soft syllable. Her little hand got all tight and she brought her face closer to the cup and scribbled a few more characters. Seemingly satisfied, she passed the cup onto the barista and took my money.

The barista was equally confused. When he was done with my order, he yelled "Sheri!" (Or Sherry).  When I picked up my cup, my initial reaction was "Sherlle" -- but on closer inspection, she appears to have scribbled the final two letters out. But if you look even closer, you can see she was making a political statement for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Maybe I'm warped in the brain, but to me this strange little Rorschach Test looks like a Native American caricature. He's in 3/4 view, looking to the right with a cartoon grin on one side of his face and a couple of feathers sticking up proudly on his head. Yes, and before you say it, I have been in therapy.

I promise to be more diligent in my updates here. Several friends have sent me submissions and I have a backlog of my own misspellings too (no correct spellings of my name yet, by the way).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We've had a case of indecisiveness like this in the past, i.e. covering your bases with a creative use of both C and S, but this cashier's handwriting takes some other creative liberties.  Notice how the Y loops through the second E.  I would almost dare to say that there's a phantom R in there, which would actually make it S/CHERERYL.

I'm not a handwriting expert, but I am super assistant--so from an efficiency standpoint, this cashier is a time waster. They lifted the pen a total of five times to write my name: 1 and 2) between and after the C and the S (and which came first the C or the S?) 3); after the R; 4) after the second E; and 5) after the Y.  Also was the second E an afterthought and squeezed in between the R and the Y?

I'm feeling generous this morning because Los Angeles has finally cooled down after 3 or 4 days of blazing heat.  We broke an all-time record on Monday--113F/45C.  I'll give S/CHEREYL plus one (+1) style points for giving me another new and unique spelling of my name, but don't expect anymore because sitting on the fence with the C/S is just cheating.

UPDATE:  I just found out via #trending topics on Twitter that today is National Coffee Day--and they still couldn't spell my name correctly.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


No, that's not a title of a new SciFi movie. As promised in my last post, here's a special interpretative/collaborative post. When I got this beverage a couple of days ago, I knew it was mine because I was the only person there who ordered an iced latte, but you wouldn't know it from the writing on the side of the cup.  I had a couple of theories as to what it said:  Sherl, Shurl or even Cherl--if that loopy first letter is a C--but I just wasn't sure. So I decided to ask for a little help from my friends (via Facebook, of course)--

What do you think?
--everyone was pretty much as puzzled as I was, but here are a couple of alternate interpretations: "Sherlu! That's short for Cheryl-Lue" - John; and "I think they were trying to call you sherbet" - Susan.

But as much as I like those two ciphers, I'm going with "PHERLI" as suggested by my friend Todd because you just can't deny that first letter looking like a P. So I declare Pherli to be the second recipient of the LEFT FIELD award.  Say hello to Mr. Ted Williams and thanks for playing!

So far to the left...not even in the ballpark!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


After having a dead battery AND getting locked out of my car last night (long story), I really needed some instant gratification java this morning. When I walked into my local Starbucks, I recognized several of the clerks, so I thought we might get some kind of repeat today, but...

Though this is a variation on the SHERAL/SH@ROL/SHARROL theme, we haven't seen this exact spelling yet. Because the writing is clear and legible and because the venti Americano managed to power me through my entire day without droopy eyelids, I'm giving a very generous plus two (+2) style points.  Stay tuned.  In the next couple of days I'll catch up with a couple of guest posts and a very special interpretative/collaborative post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

CHERLY - He doesn't know how to spell his mother's name

This past Sunday, I felt for sure this science experiment was coming to an abrupt end. I walked into my local Starbucks late afternoon to get a little icy pick-me-up before I headed out for my weekend adventure. When I ordered my venti iced Americano, the cashier exclaimed, "oh, that's my mother's name!"  My brain responded, "oh well...." [insert cartoon wah-wah sound here]  However, I saw him pause and look quizzically at the cup.  He then added, "my mother would be really pissed if I spelled her name wrong."

Well folks, looks like Sonny Boy's momma is not going to be so proud of him for this.  She got stretch marks for you and you don't spell her name correctly?  Shame on you!  Your mom's name is not Cher-Lee, which is how this would be pronounced.   Also your R looks very much like a V.  So once again, here's a close, but NO CIGAR for Cherly -- and here comes the cheesy picture of Lieutenant Starbuck:


Please note that the Sheryl Crow "100 Miles to Memphis" CDs appear to be SOLD OUT, so I'm guessing this will lessen my chances for HALF-BINGOs for awhile.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SHAROL with a triangle for the A

I'm going to call this entry our first duplicate, though graphically it may be a bit of a stretch. As with SH@ROL, there is an unique flair going on with the A. In fact, I'm relatively sure it was the same cashier -- so at least she's consistent in her incorrectness.  While this A looks a bit more like a triangle (or perhaps she's promoting pyramid power), while the other is more of an at-sign, I'm going to chalk up the differences to hot vs. cold cup.  I would guess it's a bit slippery to actually write on those cold cups.  Also note the two loops on the O, which makes it look like a little lasso from the roper R trying to snare the runaway L.


I want to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly positive response to this silly little blog last month.  I may not be doing as many updates this month, as I'm in need of a research budget to continue this highly technical and sophisticated experiment.  Before starting this quest, I treated myself to a coffee maybe once or twice a week.  However, I became a tad obsessed in the month of August, and therefore was over-caffeinated.  I tend not to be a creature of habit in my beverage/food consumption either, but Starbucks presents unique opportunities to have my name mangled.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CHERYLL -- and a little shameless self-promotion

I know I promised you pie(charts) to go along with the coffee, but when I clicked chart wizard in my Excel spreadsheet, the data was actually a bit boring graphically. In the gender category, males and females were split evenly 50/50 in misspelling my name. There was one Starbucks and one non-Starbucks (McDonald's) HALF BINGO. The only correct spelling of my name was from a non-corporate joint (the company commissary). In the month of August, there were sixteen different incorrect versions of my name, and -- drum roll please -- Starbucks' clerks spelled my name correctly a whopping total of ZERO times (nil for thirteen).

Since you've been denied piecharts, here's a little extra credit reading for you:  my regular "Hollywood Notes" column in the UK literary publication, ONE Magazine.  (Click on the link to read -- and be sure to check out the other great articles and stories. If you live in the UK, you can pick up a free copy in finer establishments in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and surrounds.)

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

I really-really-really thought for sure today was going to be a HALF-BINGO. After all, this was the third day in a row I've ordered my Venti Americano with Sheryl Crow's soulful gaze staring up at me from her CD display in front of the register. When I told the cashier my name, he asked me a question I haven't heard in eons, "is that with a C or a S?" (Did I put this out into the universe when I noted this a couple of days ago with my SHERLY post?) Now technically, BINGOs only count without any kind of prompting, but as you can see, I didn't have to worry about dolling out the big guns today. Like CHERYLLE, this is another case of "should have stopped while they were ahead." 

We've already had a variation on this spelling with the indefinite C/SHERYLL back in the early days of this month. Although he had a bit of help with the C or S part of my name, I'm going to begrudgingly award him a NO CIGAR award -- mostly because I want to see Dirk Benedict's handsome face again on this blog.


Thanks for reading and I'll be back in a few days.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Again, as with SHERELL a couple of days ago, the cashier reached right over the Sheryl Crow "100 Miles from Memphis" display to hand me back my debit card.  (But don't shed a tear for Ms. Crow, it seems they've sold a few more since then.)

This misspelling is a little bit like fingernails on the blackboard, as it's only one letter from being SHRILL.  Many people can vouch for me.  I'm definitely not a Type A personality.  I'm not prone to screaming, and the timbre of my voice falls more into a mellow alto range than a squeaky soprano.

Tomorrow I have one more for you to wrap up the month of August. And what goes better with coffee than pie? How about a pie chart? Hold on to your Excel spreadsheets!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm surprised I hadn't gotten this variation of my name until now. If casual acquaintances or friends are going to misspell my name, they most often reverse the Y and the L (CHERLY) -- and for some reason this is the misspelling which irks me the most. SHERLY would be pronounced something akin to "Shirley." So even though the cashier spelled it incorrectly, I have to give props to the server who brought me my take-out. She yelled out "Sher-Lee," which is how it would be pronounced with this spelling. LY is a "lee" sound - like in unexpectedly, stupidly, lamely -- or a slew of other adverbs.  Customer service type people used to ask me if my name was "with a C or an S?"  Then they generally got the rest of it correct -- except for the occasional reversal of the last two letters.  

I thought for sure I would be getting a duplicate. Take special note. Notice the host's name. Luis took my order a couple of weeks ago and dubbed me SHARO.  I'm rewarding Luis plus two (+2) style points for a general improvement in spelling.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

GUEST POST: The many sides of Deven

Here's a special shout out to my friend Deven for not one, but two -- count 'em two -- submissions.  (Be sure to check out his delicious food blog at -- and if you live in New York City, sign up for one of his Grub Crawls.)  Plus he also has taken the challenge into a whole new direction by sending me screen shots of text messages from his iPhone (how new millennium of him!)

Since HALF-BINGOS are only for SHERYL, both of these entries technically fall into my category of being a NO CIGAR, that is they're only one letter off from being a correct spelling.

And here's a little gentle reminder to join the Cheryl Revolution and send me misspellings of your name or, if you're game, be bold and proudly tell them your name is Cheryl.  [Any guys confident enough to do this will receive plus ten (+10) style points.)

+ = two no cigar awards

And in case you don't get the visual reference for this award, it's Dirk Benedict as Lieutenant Starbuck (how appropriate for this blog, huh?) from the original "Battlestar Galactica."

Friday, August 27, 2010


I thought for sure today was going to be at the very least a HALF-BINGO kind of day.  You see, when I walked into Starbucks this morning for my ritual pre-commute java, this CD was sitting on the display right in front of the cash register:

However, as you can see below, the cashier must not be familiar with the merchandise stock available in the store.  The CD was less than two feet away from him, and he reached directly over it to give me my change.

I'm going to deduct three (-3) style points just for general inattentiveness and for the two non-matching E's.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was certain today's entry was a duplicate, but when I looked back over the archives, the closest was SHARROL -- what a difference one little R makes.  If I'm counting correctly, we're up to 11 different misspellings of my name now (plus a couple of Half-Bingos).  Can anyone else make that claim?

I'm feeling a bit generous today because after margaritas with some pals last night, I needed an extreme caffeine jump start.  So here's plus two (+2) style points for the A that looks like an at sign (or asperand, more formally).  Or if I really wanted to stretch the imagination, it also looks a bit like SHGROL, but I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce that, unless it's Klingon or some other alien language.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cherilyn Sarkisian, an honorary Cheryl

I got into Starbucks earlier than normal this morning, so there was no name-writing on my cup.  In the meantime, until my dear readers ante up with some submissions or I hit the 'Bucks at rush hour, here's a little change of pace for everyone --

Cherilyn Sarkisian is an honorary Cheryl. Of course, I'm talking about no other than the one-name musical/acting/media sensation, Cher. Throughout grade school, I was the lone Cheryl in my school -- which was good if you wanted to stand out, but bad if you desperately wanted to be invisible -- like I did.

You see, by the end of grade school, I was just shy of my current height of 6'-1/2" (yes, that's six foot and a half inch tall). Although Cher was/is only 5'7", she seemed like a giantess icon to me because she towered over her then-husband, Sonny Bono.  She just seemed to have this glamour factor that was unattainable for me.

Glamour, thy name is Cher
I know Cheryl doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  In fact, my younger brother was unable to say my name as a toddler.  Rather than lisping through it, my nickname became Sissy.  To this day, my father occasionally calls me by my childhood moniker when he's feeling silly.

But if Cheryl isn't sexy, Sissy isn't much better.  When I made it to junior high and high school, there were a couple of other Cheryls, but -- in my mind -- it still wasn't one of those names that invoked steamy sexiness.  However, pin-up gals Cheryl Tiegs and Cheryl Ladd helped change that.  But they were more the good-girl-next-door types and I just didn't relate.  Despite my quiet nature, I was a rock & roll gal on the inside -- just like Cher.

The Name is Cher -- not Share
I wonder what name Cher gives when she goes to Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?  I'd be willing to bet every last cent in my savings account that if I went into Starbucks tomorrow and said my name was Cher, they would write some form of Shar, Char or Share.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CHERYLLE - shoulda stopped while they were ahead

I walked into Starbucks on Saturday late afternoon/early evening, which is not my usual time for a coffee break, but if I was going to make it through a two-hour movie screening, I needed some liquid energy.  It was 90+ degrees in Los Angeles, so I switched over to a venti iced Americano. Since it was pretty slow at the corner Starbucks, I wasn't sure if the cashier was going to ask my name.  He was a quite a bit older than the typical hipster cashier (i.e., my age, give or take a couple of years).  I figured if anyone was going to get it right, it would be him.

As you can see, he started off on the right footing.  I was worried that I was going to have to try to make another BINGO sound interesting, but then I saw his wrist make two distinct downwards strokes.   Such anticipation!  When the barista handed me my tasty beverage, I was pleasantly surprised to find CHERYLLE written on the side.  This is a totally new spelling in my life-long experience of misspellings, so I'm going to give plus three (+3) style points for that factor alone, as well as for the fact that my correctly spelled name is contained within the misspelled mess.  

Interestingly, I used to always hope cashiers would spell my name correctly and would carefully spell it out for them, only to have them still mangle it.  Now, I'm visualizing unique and creative discombobulations.  (Take note:  other than than half-bingos for SHERYL, we haven't had a repeat on the misspellings yet.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

SHERAL rhymes with feral

You probably can't tell from the photo below, but this is some of the tiniest writing I've seen on the side of a Starbucks cup.  The cashier was really concentrating as he wrote my name and his poor little fist was balled up so tight around the blue Sharpie.  Happily for this blog, his hipster self didn't quite pull it off.   However, he did get a few things correct:  two syllables (check), H-E-R in their rightful order and place (check) and the L at the end (yep) -- and at least a passable phonetical spelling, unlike Churl from my Saturday post. Forget the S -- that errant A changes the name so much.

I identify as being a bit of a rebel, but I've never considered myself feral in any real way. In fact, you'd probably find me rather civilized.  Hence, I always hated when we played the Name Game in grade school.  "Cheryl Sheryl, bo-beryl, banana-fana, fo-feral, fee-fi-mo-meryl, Cheryl!"  It had nothing to do with being feral, but rather being compared to a barrel (Beryl), which wasn't much fun for an insecure, tall girl.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

GUEST POST: The Evolution of Rion

If I learned anything in the short history of this blog, it's that my name isn't the only one that gets mangled, mauled and misspelled on a regular basis.  Here's the second submission from my good friend Rion.

The Evolution: RION--BRION- BRIAN??

I have a Left Field Award, but maybe I should also have a Right Field Award?  Or the "quit listening to your iPod at 11 and pay attention" award?  Although this submission isn't correct, I find the "A" intriguing.  It kinda looks like a backwards 6.  I also appreciate the slash/dotted I, which resembles Chinese calligraphy.  I'm feeling generous today (because I have two fantastic misspellings of my name coming up), so I'll give a half point each for the two fancy letters for a total of plus one (+1) style points.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

CHURL -- am I a boor?

I've been waiting to document this spelling for awhile now.  I grew up in southern Indiana and heard people pronounce my name this way for the first two decades of my life.  Even though it's north of the Mason-Dixon line, southern Indiana still identifies as the south.  The imaginary Yankee border is about an hour and a half north from the Ohio River in Bloomington.  Indiana University is there and students and residents seem to identify more with Chicago and the accents prove it.  I can say this because I'm from there, but folks from the southern Indiana/northern Kentucky area are lazy speakers.  I can pick out the drawl from across a crowded bar.  

For example, the city right across the border from Louisville, Kentucky is New Albany.  However, when southie Hoosiers say it, they shorten it to three syllables and slur it all together, so it sounds something akin to "knobby knee" or "knaw bah-nee."  Even our state nickname for natives, Hoosiers, is supposedly a contraction/lazification (my invented word) of "who's ear?" -- from a rougher, less civilized time when people used to fight and bite each others ears off.  Hence, my name becomes one syllable with a hard R drawl on the end.  Listen to George Clooney speak.  He's from northern Kentucky and you can hear that sluggish accent slip out occasionally.

From the movement of her wrist, I could tell that the cashier scribbled a C, then she paused (notice the break between the first and second letter.)  However, I didn't hear a tinge of southernness in her voice.  So she heard me say my name and her brain somehow twisted it into this Dixieland version.

I know it was only 8:00am when I walked into the Starbucks and my personality doesn't fully kick in until about 10:00am, but what are they trying to tell me with this spelling?

CHURL –noun
1. a rude, boorish, or surly person.
2. a peasant; rustic.
3. a miser: He was a churl in his affections.
4. English History: a freeman of the lowest rank.

Plus one style point (+1) because this could also be interpreted as C-Hurl, which may have to be my new rapper name.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Something you haven't seen yet --

Nearly three weeks of blogging here and this is the first time my name has been spelled 100% correctly.  Granted, I'm not at Starbucks or any other major chain, but I'm sticking to the rules of the quest.  Below you'll see my order slip for a delicious black bean burger and fries.  Not only is it spelled correctly, there's some nice penmanship going on; so I'm giving plus five (+5) style points for being readable and elegant (a true rarity, as my dear readers know).

Here I am with the lovely Priscilla, who works at the company commissary.  Before this encounter, we didn't know each other, so it wasn't as if I beat her over the head with a stick and made her memorize my name.  Of course, this rare Bingo happened on a day when I wasn't wearing any makeup and basically rolled out of bed, so please excuse my pale ginger-ness.

Cheryl (L) with Priscilla, the spelling bee champion!

Priscilla, you're the first BINGO AWARD winner on "The Name Is Cheryl" blog.  I'm sure your family and friends will be so proud...and happy Friday to everyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Halves Does Not Make a Whole --

-- at least when we're talking about the rules of this blog experiment.  As just a little reminder, although Sheryl is technically a correct spelling, it's only considered a HALF-BINGO, because it's not how I spell my name (Sorry, Sheryl Crow).

First, here's my own entry from my local Starbucks.  Though this isn't the best penmanship in Southern California, I do like the way the R and the Y are hooked together as one hybrid letter.  So I'm going to award this cashier plus one style point (+1) for creativity -- and I really needed my venti Americano this morning, so I'm feeling a little generous with the style points.

And here's the second part of this special two-parter, which is from my friend Tina who was visiting SoCal and her Aunt, who just happens to be named Cheryl.

They were in the weeds at McDonald's, so they took names and brought food out to the tables.  Although this is a HALF-BINGO, I'm going to have to deduct negative one (-1) style points on this one because of the decisive, heavy block letters -- they were just so sure of themselves.

In case I haven't schooled you enough today, here's some blog math for you:  two halves does not equal a whole; and (+1) style point + (-1) styles point = (0) {zero/nil/nada/zippo} style points overall.

+   = not a bingo

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coffee Quotes

Inspired by Fiona who shared the first quote below in the comments section of yesterday's post, as well as sending me a picture of her friend Florica's coffee, to follow are some of my own favorite coffee quotes:

"Coffee, which makes the politician wise/And see through all things with his half-shut eyes." -- Alexander Pope

Coffee falls into the stomach...ideas begin to move, things remembered arrive at full gallop...the shafts of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similes arise, the paper is covered with ink."
-- Honore de Balzac

"No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness."
-- Sheik Abd al-Qadir

"Sleep is just a symptom of caffeine lack." - Herman Friele

And one of my all time favorites from Eddie Izzard:

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As I said back on Friday, Cherl is one of the most common misspellings of my name. Well, here it is in all its glory in the S-version.  I guess I get it phonetically:  Sher-L, but written this way it's one syllable and would be pronounced "Shurl," which, growing up in Southern Indiana, is also a spelling I've seen before.


Stayed tuned in the next couple of days when I'll have two special guest posts:  one is another post from Rion, and the other is the first Cheryl guest post.  Please remember to send me photos of your own name mangling at -- thanks!

Friday, August 13, 2010

CHEREL (with the 2nd E as an afterthought)

I stopped by a Starbucks which isn't on my usual route.  You might even call this an elite, fancy schmancy Starbucks -- smack dab in the middle of Beverly Hills 90210.  But no matter the zipcode, there's still an issue with spelling my name.  I gave the cashier my handle and she scribbled away.  She placed the cup in line with all the other ducks awaiting tasty beverage preparation, then she picked it back up and scribbled something else.  Quel intrigue!
My guess is that her initial spelling was Cherl, which is something I see quite often (and hope to document on this blog soon), but I suppose that second syllable sound just nagged at her and she went back and added another E between the R and L to make it CHEREL.

I'm going to give one style point (+1) for the R that sorta looks like a V -- just because that would make my name Chevel and that's pretty darn close to Chevelle, one of my favorite 60's muscle cars.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

GUEST POST: It doesn't sound or look ANYTHING like that!

My friend Fiona jumped on my mistaken identity blog almost immediately.  However, she says the cashier's at her local Starbucks are on it, and although she has a moniker that could be a potential landmine,  (Feeohna, Feeona, Feaonah) they are well-trained in how to spell her name.  But lucky for me, it seems that courtesy doesn't extend to anyone else.  Fiona and her friend took a little java break together today.  You can see they got Fiona correct (abet with a very funky looking A), but when her friend picked up her skim venti latte, they were waaaaay off.  From the spellling LOREE, I would have guessed her bud was named LORI, but nooooo.....

LOREE???  Wha???
Her friend is named FLORICA!  I sympathize with the fact that Florica is a very unique name, but they're missing at least one syllable and the FL sound at the beginning!

This spelling prompts a new official award for this blog.  I'm going to call it the LEFT FIELD award, as in you're way out in left field.  In case you don't get the photographic reference below, it's Ted Williams, legendary left-fielder and Red Sox Baseball Hall of Famer.

LOREE -- first recipient of the LEFT FIELD award!
This also reminds me of an incident the other day at the 'bucks.  While I waited for my tasty beverage, the barista kept on shouting "Den!  Den!" -- but no one materialized to pick up their drink.   Every 30 seconds or so, they would again bellow "Den!  Den!"  Finally when they called my name, I saw what was CLEARLY written on the side of the cup:  DEAN, as in James Dean, Dean Cain, Howard Dean or Dean Martin.  Hope poor Dean's beverage wasn't too cold when he finally picked it up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

That's Not My Name

THE TING TINGS (the patron saints of mistaken identity) perform their battle call:

FYI, her name is KATIE (Kaytee, KT, Caytea in Starbucks speak) and he's JULES (or Jewels, Jools or Joules).

Roll call:  Charole, Sharo, C/Sheryll, Sharrol, Sharil and Shuyl, and a special guest post from Ryan/ week down and still no one who has spelled my name correctly without me spelling it out for them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Your guess is as good as mine

I'm tempted to give this entry a half-bingo for a "Sheryl", but I'm going to refrain (my rules, remember?)  Plus I'm going to deduct negative three (-3) for handwriting style.  While feminine and loopy, it lacks a certain readability necessary for the course of this experiment.  While the S, H, Y and L are clear, the series of humps and bumps between the H and Y are questionable.  It could read SHUYL or SHUNYL or SHIRYL???  What do you think?

I really don't have any right to criticize anyone's handwriting, as my has deteriorated so badly over the years with all the FLH (that's Fast Long Hand for the novices out there) I've taken   Other than the C, it might be difficult for anyone who didn't know me to decipher what I've written -- but then again, I don't work at Starbucks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stupid in Three Languages

From the movie "Role Models" -- one of my favorite commentaries on the Starbucks coffee culture:

Says who? Fellini? Priceless.


Definite negative two (-2) on style points for the overlapping I and L at the end.  It almost makes it look a K -- SHAIRK -- which would be a really unique mangling of my name

It wasn't very crowded when I went into my local 'Bucks, so the barista didn't even bother with trying to interpret this chicken scratch.  The only acknowledge I got that my Americano was ready was a hipster "yo, what's up?" upwards nod of the head.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First Guest Submission - RYAN/RION

This is a case of  poor attention to customer service and detail.   My dear friend spells his name RION, which I believe is a more traditional Irish spelling.  According to Name Voyager, Rion has never been ranked in the top 1,000 popular names for any given year.  However, Ryan has quickly increased in popularity since the 1930's and 40's and was the 12th most popular name in 2003.  I'm a little divided on the issue.  My uncle's name is Ryan and I went to college with Ryan Murphy, the creator of the TV show "Glee" (hey Ryan, if you're out there, I have some scripts I'd love for you to read!).  But whatever the spelling, my Rion is #1 in my rankings.

I'm going to rate this one on the same scale that I rate my own name.  This is an acceptable spelling, but just not the proper spelling for the person who actually ordered the tasty beverage.   RYAN is the first official recipient of the HALF-BINGO award.

Good enough for government work, you basterd.

Home brew and personalized items

After a couple of days of venti lattes and Americanos, I'm taking a break from Starbucks and making some coffee at home. I know it's completely old school, but Chock full o' Nuts is one of my favorite brands -- and for the price of two takeaway coffees, I can buy the giant canister.  We're talking pennies per cup!  Plus it's a lazy Saturday and I have no plans of getting out of my pajamas anytime soon.

Here's one of my favorite mugs, which my mother gave to me at least 15 or 20 years ago. Mom told me she named my brother David and I relatively common names so we would be able to get personalized souvenirs on vacation.  She said as a child she was always disappointed there were no keychains, pencils or coffee mugs with the name Norma on them.  I rarely see my name on such items anymore, but luckily I'm all good in the keychain department.  Stay tuned for the first guest entry on this blog later today.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

Join the Cheryl Revolution!

Do you have a relatively common or easy-to-spell name that gets mangled, or a more exotic name that is absolutely eviscerated every single time you order a coffee or take-out?  Snap a photo of your cup or receipt and email it to me at and I'll post it here on this blog.

Or if you really want to get into the spirit, tell the barista or cashier your name is CHERYL and see what they come up with.



This Starbucks cashier was tall, pale, red-haired and freckled (i.e., he could be a distant cousin), so with all that waspy/Anglo-Saxon-ness coursing through his veins, he really doesn't have any excuses.

This is one of the more common bastardizations of my name, along with Charrol.  While I do really appreciate the period after the name -- full stop, decisive and confident, I'm going to have to deduct one style point (-1) because of the double-R that also looks like an N.  It also seemed to confuse the barista.  She glanced at the cup and instead of announcing my name, just yelled, "Venti Americano with room!"  Perhaps she too was debating the Sharrol/Shanol paradox?