Today’s Little Irony

Getting an e-mail from a site saying that’s given my site an award for being famous, and that the site was “has been selected and evaluated by a network of subject specialists,” and then going over to see the site and noticing that I’m referred to there as “Joe Scalzi.”

That’s some excellent evaluation there, site specialists.

I do occasionally see myself referred to online as “Joe Scalzi” or “Jeff Scalzi,” both of which make at least a little bit of sense because of the “J” connection, but I’ve also seen me referred to as “Dave Scalzi” or “Richard Scalzi,” which are a little more puzzling to me. But all of them are a little weird; it’s not as if “John” is that difficult a name, you know. And it’s all over the Web site and the covers of my books. Maybe all somewhat-common first names blend together in people’s brains. This is where it’s nice to have a last name like “Scalzi.”

58 Comments on “Today’s Little Irony”

  1. atleast you now have a list of pen names if you want to switch genres.

    Richard Scalzi: Romance
    Jeff Scalzi: Young/Adult Vampire Romance
    Joe Scalzi: Creationist Fiction

  2. A rough sampling, courtesy of Google:
    254,000 for “john Scalzi”
    245 for “dave Scalzi”
    150 for “richard Scalzi”

    I was thinking, maybe those other Scalzi might have more links, which the spam generator pulled, however unlikely that may be, given the nerdtastic culture of the internet. But no.

    I often get ‘Brian’ instead of ‘Bruce,’ but that’s perfectly understandable.

  3. So, do you suspect this is one of those “I’ll give him an ‘award’ and then he’ll mention us in his column and we’ll get a lot more traffic to our site as a result” kind of things? Or does it look more legitimate?

    I note that you did not provide an actual link to said site.

  4. Did you ever consider that this is how you would find out about one of your other unknown personalities?

    Joe Scalzi has been hiding in the background for so long, over-looked, accessing the internet and building websites. He’s not very different from you but just different enough to garner an award.

  5. Whine moan and complain. That’s all you famous people do. I bet you even want your paychecks to have your name right on them.


  6. @KenS I actually know a couple whose names are Ken and Barbara.

    My first name is Heidi. I had a boss who called me Hildy all the time, even when reading me my schedule over the phone (from the line that had my name correctly spelled). I don’t think he was doing that to tease me, though.

  7. I have a theory that an unusual name really helps one to make it as an sf/f author. And it’s especially helpful to have a Z or a V in there somewhere.

    Which may be a reason why people are frequently misspelling it Azimov.

  8. I find “Jake Lake” quite irritating. It crops up fairly often. “Joe Lake” doesn’t bother so much, as my given name is “Joseph”, so there’s ways to get to it.

  9. Wait a minute. This is John Scalzi’s website? The guy who grades mail? Crap, I’m gonna have to tell Joe S. that there’s a guy pretending to be him on the internet.

  10. Having the name Scalzi isn’t bad, except when the typo leaves it reading Scalvi.

    I got a snail mail once from an outfit that wanted to do my web site for me — have it done by a professional! They misspelled my name. I like that in a professional proofreader. Or a professional web coder. Makes it real easy to make a decision. Real easy.

    Dr. Phil

  11. This thread is reminding me of Google Maps being unable to find your house.

    Someone must have cast a Confounding spell on you or something.

  12. My favorite was a job applicant thanking my boss for the interview, and then saying, “I appreciate the time you, …, … and Bridgette spent with me.”

    Uh huh.

  13. Are they actually using “Richard Scalzi” or the commonly associated nickname as in “…that Dick Scalzi is really something…” ;->

  14. … And now I have “Richard Corey” playing in my head, except the lyrics are changed to “Richard Scalzi”. Oh, I wish that I could be, I wish that I could be…

  15. Hum, try ‘Neal’ on for size and see how long it is before you want to rip out a few throats. You’re really interested in my work are you? Then how come you haven’t noticed the spelling of my name in big f**king letters right across the top of it?

  16. Try having a phonetically spelled uncommon first name that every damn person on the phone thinks is a much more common English surname even when you go out of your way to say that it has a *P* on the end every time you give it out, goddamnit.

  17. Perhaps you should consider changing your first name to ‘The’. Or maybe just your middle name. A conversation start, to be sure. I’m thinking of changing my middle name to ‘of’. Maybe someone will think I’m royalty or something.

  18. My last name, when spelled correctly, is totally badass. One day it will sit on the shelves in giant print, no matter how bad my writing is, simply because it looks so reassuringly cool to all metalheads, skaters, and surfers. Some people will want to know if it’s real or fake.

    With the removal of a single letter, though, my name is a synonym for ‘wastebasket.’ Alot of telemarketers call me Mrs. Wastebasket when I answer the phone. I’d be aggravated, but it’s a real timesaver; I hang up the phone as soon as somebody asks for me by the wrong name.

  19. And here I thought Joe Scalzi was his evil twin. I mean the pictures alone postulate the existence of one.

  20. I feel your pain. My name is Daniel. Simple enough, right? Tenth most popular name in the US at last check. However, people invariably read “David.” I don’t know why. Yeah, there’s that whole “pattern recognition” thing in the brain and why pple cn ndrstnd wdrs wth jmbld lttrs, but STILL.

  21. Ah, but that’s nothing to when you’re own Mother is looking right at you and calls you by your brother’s name (who isn’t even in the house at the time – his name is “Scott” btw). Not to mention having confused which running jokes are for whom, and which one of us likes white chocolate (my brother does, but my Mom consistently has put the white chocolate bunny in my Easter Basket for almost two decades now even though we remind her every year).

    And here I thought that in the aboriginal tongues, “Scalzi” meant “Those who digest their foes.”

  22. We at have awarded you “Grandmaster Poobah” for your excellent website.

    Award to: Roland Scuzzi

    Please mention in your blog how much you are honored by this award.

  23. @29

    Tumble of Weed???

    I guess it sounds some what royal, but I’m thinking it won’t catch on.

    I say this in jest of course, being too lazy to follow through to your site and digging for your name and all…

  24. @30

    “With the removal of a single letter, though, my name is a synonym for ‘wastebasket.’”

    I can only assume your last name is Thrashcan, which would, indeed, be awesome.

  25. Dear John, Joe, Jeff, Jingleheimer-Schmidt:

    I get approached all the time by people who swear I’m their friend Scott from high school or college. Always a different Scott from a different town/school – never been mistaken for the same Scott twice.

    I’ve got a neighbor of 14 years who calls me Stanley. No idea why. Nor why I respond to her.


  26. I have a poorly spelled last name, or a last name that is easy to misspell/mispronounce. Make it easy to know the flakes when they call, as they invariably get my name wrong.

    My name also happens to be a singular. As far as I know there is no other person with my name in the universe, and that is without using my middle initial. One guy in England had most of my name, but he’s been dead for about 100 years. Every google search hit is a reference to me.

    Anyone else a singular, or have a better name for this phenomenon?

  27. Singular names. Back in the 90’s, I was the only one I could find online with my last name but sadly, now there’s a whole bunch of us out there. I mean, even my Dad’s online! And Dad, if you’re reading this, those videos are so 2001. Just sayin’.

  28. There was a time when any reference to my last name on the Internet was me, but that was back in the Alta Vista days. Add the given name, though, and the near uniqueness wins. (Though there is one other person with the two combined in the US.)

  29. @41: My last name is both highly unusual and culturally unlikely to be linked with my fairly unusual first name. So unusual, that I usually use a pdeudonym of some sort on the web to protect my privacy– until I discovered someone else had decided to use my full name as their handle. (We went to summer camp together 20 years ago. Creepy, no?) So while there is no one else in the real world with my name, there are two here online– and one of them writes Harry Potter fan fic. I can’t tell if she wants to be me or wants to destroy me. sigh.

  30. I’ve had a strange name problem all my life. I think when I was little there were a lot of Johns and Daves in my life, and the two got locked in my head together as “popular man’s names 1A and 1B.”

    Consequently, for the rest of my life I’ve had difficulty keeping Daves and Johns straight. The names aren’t that similar, as you point out, but I’ll almost always call a new acquaintance Dave when it should be John and vice versa.

    I can’t stop it. It’s weird.

  31. People seem to want to call me “Kowalski” all the time. I suppose it’s because of Streetcar Named Desire, maybe? My name has been murdered for my whole life.

    Hundreds of people have thought surely they were the first person in the world to think to call me “Koala Bear”.

    A telemarketer called me “Ka-wookiee” (imagine Chewbacca but Polish) and didn’t seem to understand why I would be upset by that.

    A friend once spelled my name “Qualik”.

    My mother-in-law doesn’t even know how to spell my name, which my wife didn’t believe until it was recently proven.

    Good times …

  32. @25 barstoolcadaver

    But you remember Richard Corey’s fate don’t you?


  33. Considering John is the second most common male name in the US, you’d think this wouldn’t be too hard to remember…

  34. I’ll go over to that site and set them straight. They’ll never misspell Gene Scalvi again.

  35. Trying to remember that somebody’s name is John is like trying to remember that their car is silver. It just doesn’t register.

  36. I get Natalie and Nicole.
    Narelle really is an aboriginal name, despite my complete lack of any resemblance to our indigenous peoples. The translation is quite boring though. Red Lily.

  37. @42 tolladay:

    My real name is a singular, unfortunately, due to a creative transcription of my first name from its original Cyrillic alphabet by the USSR passport service. I wanted to change it to its normal English spelling when I was getting my British nationality, but my husband got freaked out by the idea.

    My maiden name was also a singular, with any spelling. I promptly changed it.

    I don’t like being easily found.

  38. @52 cinderberry
    Yes there are privacy issues with being a singular, but there are advantages to being easily found. For instance, old classmates and such can find me with a simple google search. Alas the reverse is not true. An old college roommate crossed my mind often, but his name is the same as a famous movie director, and he is very much the opposite of singular (a plural?). I finally found him on FB, but only after 2 years of on and off searching.

    I have my own business, and my wife has her own business as well. Her’s happens to be online (she’s the Candlewitch), so privacy has been sacrificed in chez tolladay for the sake of commerce. So far it has worked reasonably well (other than having our web addresses spoofed for junk mail, which is not about us as persons). Knock on wood, we have not had any identity theft issues, yet.

  39. My name is fairly uncommon outside of Germany, however when searching for my name on the intertubes I come across a professor of astrophysics which just happens to be my major. Spooky.

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