Okay, so right about now you're thinking, "Boona what? What the heck is a Boona anyhow?"

Boona isn't a what. It's a who. He's a character in David Brin's novel The Practice Effect.


The book was published in 1984, when I was 13 years old.  I remember reading it and really loving it as a kid.

Its been about 30 years since I read it. Boona, as I recall, isn't even a major character. But he's got a funny, interesting name.

As it turns out, Calumny isn't made up at all. It's an archaic word from Middle English:

noun, plural cal·um·nies.

  1. a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something: The speech was considered a calumny of the administration. 
  2. the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation. 

Origin: 1400–50; late Middle English < Latin calumnia, equivalent to calumn-,perhaps originally a middle participle ofcalvī to deceive + -ia -y3)

I stumbled across the word yesterday as I was listening to another blast-from-the-past, an audiobook version of Christopher Stasheff's The Warlock In Spite of Himself.  It's also a great book, and has a lot of Renaissance culture and antiquated language in it, including use of, you guessed it, the word Calumny. 

This morning on the train, I was thinking about the warlock book, just sort of turning it over in my brain.

Out of nowhere the phrase Boona Calumny just popped into my head.

After I thought about it for a while, I realized it was the name of the character, but I couldn't recall from where.

A quick search on Google later, and I had my answer, and was reunited with my old friend The Practice Effect. 

This whole experience boggles my mind. First, I'm amazed that a tiny piece of information from a book I read 30 years lingers in my brain just waiting for me to fish it out of my mental soup.

Second I'm blown away by how technology enabled me to make this connection happen.  

In a very real way, what I just did is just like being a character in one of these novels.

I enhanced my own mental abilities with a network of information that's available almost planetwide.

Which was only possible because the brain is so amazing to begin with. 

I just downloaded the audiobook version of The Practice Effect, and I'm going to enjoy experiencing it in this new way. 

I'm grateful for what the human brain is, and does.  We really are amazing creatures.

AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude