September 8, 2008

Help Me Out Here

I should have my next dispatch from the Caucasus region ready within 24 hours. I thought I would finish it today, but this one is a bit longer than usual and I need one more day. In the meantime, I could use some suggestions.

The name of this Web site needs to be changed from Middle East Journal to

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2008 9:54 PM
Comments
Dear Michael
You might 'get away' with simply using your name as your brand now that you're doing this professionally. "Michael Totten's Journal", for example, freeing your from any geographic (or topical) limitation.
Posted by: Aram at September 8, 2008 10:35 pm
The site is not the brand. You are the brand.
Totten's Travels
or
Dangerous Planet
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:38 pm
Fighting Words
Dangerous Destinations
Globetotten (sorry, couldn't resist)
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:40 pm
Borderlines
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:41 pm
In Transit
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:42 pm
Combustible Material
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:44 pm
Incoming
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:45 pm
Counterfire
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:46 pm
Forward Observer
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:47 pm
Sparkline
Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at September 8, 2008 10:48 pm
Interesting Times
Posted by: Andrew at September 8, 2008 11:07 pm
Explorations
Impressions
Spectrum of the World
Using "MJT":
Magnificent Jewels of Truth
Michael's Journeys Transcribed
Michael's Jots and Talks
Michael's Juicy Tales
Many Juxtaposed Thoughts
Posted by: gus3 at September 8, 2008 11:20 pm
Middle Earth Journal
Independent Journal
M. T. Thoughts
On The Ground
Global Warmings
World Talk
Nomadic Writings
Quill and Lens
Open to Debate
I Was There
My Perspective
Seeking the Truth
Eye on the World
Posted by: Kevin China at September 8, 2008 11:43 pm
Lonely Foreign Women and the Men Who Occassionally Shoot At Them
Posted by: ilurker at September 8, 2008 11:59 pm
Using your name in the title is not a bad idea.
Michael J Totten/Field Notes
Posted by: mcmill1599 at September 9, 2008 12:26 am
Them's Totten Words
Downstream Media
Real Journalism
Michael Totten Unbound
Travels With Totten
Totten's Jottins
Totten's Journal
Posted by: Savtadotty at September 9, 2008 12:29 am
Just call yourself
"The International War Blogger"
or
"The International Crisis Blogger"
or
"Michael J. Totten Crisis Zone"
or
"Michael J. Totten Crisis Blog"
Best
Zeno
Posted by: zdavatz at September 9, 2008 12:33 am
Michael J. Totten's Dangerous Places
Danger Zones by Michael J. Totten
Posted by: m0rtaar at September 9, 2008 1:00 am
My suggestion is:
Globe Totten...
Love your stuff.
Orion
Posted by: Orion at September 9, 2008 1:01 am
Drat. I did a search for Globe Totten first and now I see someone had it as Globetotten...
Hmmm...How about Globe T(r)otten...
Or...
In Depth, with Michael J. Totten
Under Pressure
Danger Close (I know, it's Mike Yon's book title too, so that might not work too well)
Ernie Pyle's Legacy
Scouts Out! (*GRIN* Had to put that one in there)
Orion
Posted by: Orion at September 9, 2008 1:12 am
How about Michael Totten's Red Zone, or Red Zones (since everything outside of the kinda sorta safe Green Zone in Baghdad is a red zone)
Posted by: The Anti Jihadist at September 9, 2008 1:30 am
I like the "Red Zone" or "Red Zones" name.
But I really love the "Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal" title. That has been you for so many years.
I advocate keeping the title, even if it becomes misleading.
I suppose splitting the site into two is not a good idea? Can you at least keep the title "Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal" for articles on the middle east?
Posted by: Leauki at September 9, 2008 1:43 am
i'd just go for "Michael J. Totten," with a strap explaining the rest. it's the most professional, least contrived, and, as others have noted, you are the brand here.
e.g.:
Michael J. Totten
Notes and dispatches from the misunderstood frontlines of global politics
though i also think "totten's jottins," as suggested by savtadotty, is possibly the most amazing thing i've ever heard :)
Posted by: cfw at September 9, 2008 4:11 am
World Wide Journal
Posted by: Michael Bryant at September 9, 2008 4:58 am
1. Inside the Hornets' Nest
2. Into the Hornets' Nest
3. Troubled Regions
4. Regions on the Edge
5. Regional Cauldron
6. Geopolitical Boiling Point
7. Boots on the Ground
8. The Totten Report
9. Harris Teeter Totten
(Just kidding! It sounds fun and reminds me of a supermarket chain in Virginia.)
Posted by: supermontoya at September 9, 2008 5:31 am
Michael,
A simple change of removing "Middle East" from your title will still be familiar for your readers and will do the job in broadening the scope of the title to reflect what you're doing.
Michael J. Totten's JOURNAL, is a fine brand.
Posted by: AcadiaJoe at September 9, 2008 5:33 am
"The name of this Web site needs to be changed from Middle East Journal to
Posted by: leo at September 9, 2008 6:02 am
TottensTroubleSpot
TottensTroubledWorld
Well, I tried...
tom
Posted by: tomw at September 9, 2008 6:30 am
Michael,
I agree with many of the statements above, your name is becoming a brand. There are a lot of excellent ones above, or you can consider:
- MJT Global
- MJT Perspective
- The MJT View
Probably
Posted by: Chris in Tulsa at September 9, 2008 6:31 am
Got Truth?
Posted by: Kerry Franklin at September 9, 2008 6:55 am
I've read all the suggestions above and I have to say I like the ring of "Forward Observer" the best. "MJT Journal" seems a little too vanilla. (Not that there is anything wrong with vanilla...)
Posted by: Rich Horton at September 9, 2008 7:09 am
What about:
Michael J Totten: Where the Wild Things Are...
It nicely sums up the dangerous aspects of your important work... and as far as many of the dodgy players you encounter are concerned, you are always making "mischief" with your original journalism
Plus -- not unlike the wolf suited Max in Maurice Sendak's classic original -- when it comes to the likes of Iran and Hezbollah, some of your monsters are (IMHO) very much imagined!
Posted by: Microraptor at September 9, 2008 7:10 am
Microraptor: When it comes to the likes of Iran and Hezbollah, some of your monsters are (IMHO) very much imagined!
Yeah, I mean without Totten's wild imagination influencing our judgment, we'd all see the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah for what they really are: a sort of Middle Eastern peace corps bringing happiness, prosperity and stability to the entire region.
Anyway, I would suggest a name that expresses the opposite of what microraptor seems to think of your blog--something capturing the realism and unfiltered nature of the news you gather.
Posted by: Edgar at September 9, 2008 7:37 am
Hahaha GlobeTotten. That rulez. It gets my vote.
Posted by: Creamy Goodness at September 9, 2008 7:38 am
"Where the Wild things are" is the story of an naughty, bossy kid who makes things up in an attempt to deal with his anger. I'm not surprised that it appeals to Microraptor.
I like GlobeTotten too..
Posted by: maryatexitzero at September 9, 2008 7:54 am
Totten World Oregonization
Posted by: JohnJimson at September 9, 2008 8:32 am
maryatexitzero: "Where the Wild things are" is the story of an naughty, bossy kid who makes things up in an attempt to deal with his anger.
I didn't even realize. Man, I never cease to be amazed by people who post a comment starting with "Thanks for all your great work," or some variation, then proceed to call Michael an idiot in a roundabout way. Do they seriously believe people don't realize what their true feelings are?
It's kind of weird how Michael attracts more complex, passive-aggressive insults than direct, simple attacks.
Posted by: Edgar at September 9, 2008 8:40 am
"when it comes to the likes of Iran and Hezbollah, some of your monsters are (IMHO) very much imagined!"
I was a student in Haifa during the 2006 war Michael "imagined".
What is your experience with Hizbullah?
Posted by: Leauki at September 9, 2008 8:45 am
Leauki: What is your experience with Hizbullah?
Microraptor is either Darius Bazargan (who worked as a BBC reporter and covered stories on Hizballah)or a wannabe who took his name for Typekey.
If it's the former, he does have personal experience with Hizballah, and has decided they are completely harmless.
Kind of like interviewing Ahmadinejad and then coming home with a positive view of the Iranian government because the president was hospitable, polite and had his wife serve you cake and cookies.
Posted by: Edgar at September 9, 2008 8:58 am
Edgar,
He has personal experience, you can't comment against him. Didn't you know personal experience trumps rational arguments under every circumstance? It doesn't matter how brutal the Iranian proxy is that this BBC tool tries to apologize for, what he says goes!
Posted by: JohnDakota at September 9, 2008 9:16 am
"Where the Wild things are" is the story of an naughty, bossy kid who makes things up in an attempt to deal with his anger. I'm not surprised that it appeals to Microraptor.
I'll take "Reading way too much into an offhand comment" for a thousand, Alex.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 9, 2008 9:38 am
I also like the name "Forward Observer"; perhaps the combination of "Michael Totten: Forward Observer" would be a nice title.
Alternatives might be:
"First Hand" (or the combo "Michael Totten First Hand" or "Michael Totten: First Hand")
"Eyewitness to History"
"Into the Fray"
"Smokejumper" (alluding to firefighters that jump into forest fire zones)
"Factfinder"
Posted by: Tiptree at September 9, 2008 9:53 am
Yes, Michael, Mike, MJT,
YOU are the brand.
How do you want to be known in the future?
I strongly wish you give up the pompous J., altho I do understand that "Michael" has been the most popular first name for over 20 years (and we named our first born Michael before I learned that.)
You have the chance to push for use of "Michael" more, or "Totten" (or even "Mike"), but I suspect you'd prefer to keep both names available. Non-friends can more easily call you Totten when they disagree. (I don't like GlobeTotten so much.)
So anything, or nothing, after --
Michael Totten 's Journal
in Transit
's Jottin's (especially if you start using Jott for rapid voice to text emailing to yourself)
Have Blog, Will Travel
This is actually an important decision for you.
Many good choices.
Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 9, 2008 10:07 am
Thanks for all the suggestions. Keep 'em coming.
Tom, the J isn't pompous. It's required because there is another professional writer out there with the same first and last name. He writes for environmental magazines, and he published under the name "Michael Totten" before I did.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 9, 2008 10:13 am
Go for the gusto.
Journal
With maybe a featuring Michael J. Totten after it.
Posted by: Phelps at September 9, 2008 10:15 am
Think about having blog title be a good book title.
Borrowing from a fellow commenter
Frontline by Michael J Totten
An american perspective of foreign affairs
Posted by: Oobs at September 9, 2008 11:13 am
While I got a good laugh out of a few of the proposed names, I would stick with a more serious tone. Your thorough and objective dispatches from the front lines stand in stark contrast to the narrow-minded focus that befalls the majority of journalists and media outlets. So, my suggestion would be to leverage your objectivity and expansion beyond the Middle East in the title. Something like:
Michael J. Totten's Panoramic View
Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 9, 2008 11:51 am
The journal of might
Posted by: lee at September 9, 2008 12:05 pm
If you decide to go to North Korea, do not publish stuff on your blog or send / exchange emails containing details of your trips when you're STILL in North Korea (although I suspect you wait until you're back at home to write). Chances are you'll be escorted by agents who will google you or search your laptop to find anything questionable. They can kick you out if you take a picture of Kim Il Sung statue in a casual manner.
Posted by: lee at September 9, 2008 12:11 pm
Michael Totten and the Gaucho's of Doom!
Michael Totten Challenges the Amazon Slave Women of the Supernova!
Michael Totten Smoking and Drinking with Interesting People Around the World!
Michael Totten Going There So You Don't Have To!
Intellect, and the Travels of Michael J. Tottten
Jaundice (talk about yellow journalism...)
Tempting Fate with Michael J. Totten
Razorblade Brinkmanship
I Drank What?
Sintering the World with Michael J. Totten
Risking a double post
Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 9, 2008 12:56 pm
Michael Totten and the Gaucho's of Doom!
Michael Totten Challenges the Amazon Slave Women of the Supernova!
Michael Totten Smoking and Drinking with Interesting People Around the World!
Michael Totten Going There So You Don't Have To!
Intellect, and the Travels of Michael J. Tottten
Jaundice (talk about yellow journalism...)
Tempting Fate with Michael J. Totten
Razorblade Brinkmanship
I Drank What?
Sintering the World with Michael J. Totten
Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 9, 2008 1:00 pm
Michael Totten's Face in the Breeze (When it Hits the Fan)
Michael Totten Worrying His Family...A LOT!
Daredevil, the Blog Without Fear (might get some copyright flack on this)
Redneck Roundup (might call for some content change)
Thin Ice
Dousing Rod (might get the wrong crowd from Google)
World Conflict Context
Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 9, 2008 2:00 pm
Michael J. Totten's Dangerous World
Michael J. Totten's Foreign Affairs
Michael J. Totten Overseas
Michael J. Totten Reporting
Posted by: CERDIP at September 9, 2008 2:27 pm
How about simply "wars and rumors of wars?"
Posted by: sprucegoose at September 9, 2008 2:45 pm
With a nod to Thomas Barnett, perhaps some variation on "Michael J. Totten: Reports from the Gap"
Posted by: Warhorse at September 9, 2008 4:26 pm
Totten's Warzone Reports
Totten's (something like troublesome areas) Reports
or journals but you need to specify that it is related to conflict and that you're in the middle of it.
Posted by: nameless-fool at September 9, 2008 4:36 pm
Just keep it Michael Totten. Everyone knows who you are and what you do. If they don't, point them to an About page or your wikipedia entry.
The closest description I can think of to what you do is War Correspondent, but honestly your name is all the branding you need.
Posted by: Wellspring at September 9, 2008 4:37 pm
Michael J. Totten Reports
Posted by: kioman at September 9, 2008 6:05 pm
Your first commenter nailed it. With the J., of course.
Posted by: Scott S. at September 9, 2008 7:23 pm
I like "News From The Front".
Or
"Michael J. Totten Writes From"
Posted by: Larry Sheldon at September 9, 2008 8:42 pm
"By Line: Michael J. Totten"
I think that actually lends itself to a logo, and while at first glance it might look ... abrupt?... it also allows your article titles to become a part of the brand, too. For example:
"BY LINE: Michael J. Totten"
This time reporting from CHICAGO - Russian Peacekeepers Remain On Navy Pier For Third Month Despite Assurances To Secretary Albright They Will Leave At End Of ChicagoFest.
During a White House presser on the ongoing crisis,President Obama said "Ah um well um" thirty four times consecutively before being escorted from the podium by the MSNBC staffers who have apparently replaced the Secret Service detail....
See? It just flows, doesn't it?
I haven't eaten this much popcorn in decades. Truly.
Posted by: TmjUtah at September 9, 2008 9:35 pm
Fardles. "Byline" is one word, and common to other trade, service, and copy marks.
All that means is you would compete to "own" the common understanding of the brand.
I bet you'ld do okay - "Byline" would quickly come to be understood as "Totten reporting from the scene again".
Good luck, sir.
Posted by: TmjUtah at September 9, 2008 9:39 pm
Michael J Totten: He's everywhere you don't want to be
Where in the world is Michael J Totten?
Micheal J Totten: Troubled World
Just plain old "Michael J Totten" works for me. Why clutter up the joint.
Posted by: Lindsey at September 9, 2008 10:01 pm
The Totten Report
Posted by: antimedia at September 9, 2008 10:03 pm
How About
Flashpointe or Flash Point Journal
or
Hot Spot Diary
or
From the Front Line
Posted by: EastBayDoug at September 9, 2008 10:34 pm
Totten
TOTTEN
totten
Totten
Totten's
Tottens
Totten's Report, etc.
The Totten [Report, Journal, ...]
Totten on ...
Totten On ...
Totten in/In ...
Inside Caucasia, by Michael J. Totten
Fall In To The Gap, by Michael Totten
Money Where My Mouth Is, by Mike Totten
Posted by: Nichevo at September 9, 2008 11:02 pm
on a second thought: I actually like the other poster's suggestion: Just Michael Totten's Report (or journal)
Let the name "Totten" imply what you do, you are linked by many and pretty well known.
Posted by: nameless-fool at September 10, 2008 1:51 am
(Leauki) "What is your experience with Hizbullah?
Microraptor is either Darius Bazargan (who worked as a BBC reporter and covered stories on Hizballah)or a wannabe who took his name for Typekey.
If it's the former, he does have personal experience with Hizballah, and has decided they are completely harmless.
Kind of like interviewing Ahmadinejad and then coming home with a positive view of the Iranian government because the president was hospitable, polite and had his wife serve you cake and cookies." (Edgar)
and
"He has personal experience, you can't comment against him. Didn't you know personal experience trumps rational arguments under every circumstance? It doesn't matter how brutal the Iranian proxy is that this BBC tool tries to apologize for, what he says goes!" (John Dakota)
and
"It's kind of weird how Michael attracts more complex, passive-aggressive insults than direct, simple attacks..." (Edgar... again)
YIKES.... Rumbled at last.... I am the true Microraptor..... guys, guys.... actually it was just a little attempt at humour... not an attempt to belittle Michael's reports or look at the non-existant Max's "anger issues" or come over all "passive/aggressive" (sheeeeeee-ite get off the couch and get a grip) I just think it's a cool name, yet someone is reading way too much into the comment -- but that wouldn't be the first time it's happened....
John Dakota, why am I a "BBC tool"? Where did I suggest that what I say goes? Aren't we allowed to have different opinions anymore...
Edgar: Hezbollah are far from harmless (indeed some US commentators are arguing that the Georgian military should reconfigure themselves on a Hezbollah model if they are to face down Russia's tank forces in the future), but they are - I believe - rational actors, grounded very much in realpolitik.
For the record, I think I am quite friendly towards Michael -- considering I have never met him face to face: I have, like many here, helped the blog financially, I have spoken to him directly about the possibilities and pitfalls of working in Iran, I have given him contacts in Kosova -- including my brother-in-law, who formed a major part of one of his blog entries -- and I have given him insider information on the fate of a certain Lebanese media nemesis....
So you really don't know what you are talking about.
Michael and I don't see eye to eye on everything with regards to Middle Eastern politics.... but that's the whole point of blogs like this isn't it? otherwise you could call it:
"Michael J Totten Tells It Like It Is" -- and not bother with a comments section.
Posted by: Microraptor at September 10, 2008 2:38 am
Yes, Microraptor and I are on very good terms. Everything he just said is true.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 10, 2008 2:42 am
What about:
Michael J Totten's "Badlands"
(with apologies to Terence Malick and no, I am not suggetsing that Michael is the blogging equivalent of a psychopathic hillbilly who runs off with an underaged Sissy Spacek... or that South Lebanon is Montana with beards... although....)
Posted by: Microraptor at September 10, 2008 5:46 am
Michael Totten :FOJ (forward operating journalist)
Michael J. Totten's Full Contact Journalism.
Michael J. Totten: Global Witness.
Michael J. Totten: Crisis Watch.
Posted by: AtadOFF at September 10, 2008 5:58 am
If you can't have "Michael Totten" without the J, what about "Mike Totten"? Or "MJ Totten"?
(So what if my 100+ blog references to "Michael" become obsolete)
Maybe Spiderman fans might think MJ is too red-haried.
Maybe Iron Mike Totten might get confused with Tyson.
MJ Totten's Journal
Mike Totten -- Hot Spot Journal
Totten's Interesting Journal
Smoking & Drinking Hot Spots
(with a special emphasis on what you eat!)
Byline: Mike Totten @
Mike Totten on the Less Traveled Roads
MJ Totten's Journal of There
where you are probably not
Mike Totten was WHERE?!
Where Mike Totten is now.
But there are other "Mike Totten" google entries, too, altho little for "MJ Totten".
Michael J Totten
independent journalist extraordinaire
Michael J Totten's Independent Journal

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 10, 2008 9:15 am
MJT; Not Too Biased Journal
Posted by: leo at September 10, 2008 10:19 am
I think your opening paragraph serves up the answer:
"I should have my next dispatch from the Caucasus region ready within 24 hours."
Why not name the site Dispatches, or Michael J Totten's Dispatches?
Posted by: Mark Rutledge at September 10, 2008 1:45 pm
"The Human to Human Truth"
"To See for Myself"
"In-Between Places"
"I Know It When I See It"
"I'm Not Sure I Should Be Here, But ..."
"Chats on the Ground"
"Good Guys, Bad Guys"
"Somewhere Near Trouble"
"A Peek under the Rug"
"A Semblance of Sanity"
"Good View from the Cheap Seats"
"Bad Accommodations"
"In the Company of Nervous People"
"Searching for the One-Eyed Man"
"Good People in Bad Places"
"Unfunded Research"
"Close Enough"
Posted by: jj at September 10, 2008 4:49 pm
..not an attempt to belittle Michael's reports or look at the non-existant Max's "anger issues" or come over all "passive/aggressive" (sheeeeeee-ite get off the couch and get a grip) I just think it's a cool name, yet someone is reading way too much into the comment -- but that wouldn't be the first time it's happened....
oops - micro - In my comment, I wasn't trying to imply that you thought Michael was spoiled or had anger issues, I was trying to imply that you liked the "Where the Wild things are" (perhaps) because you identified with Max. Maybe I read too much into things. Or, maybe I was projecting, since I liked the story too.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at September 10, 2008 5:25 pm
It's simple and a no-brainer, Michael. Call it the "Totten Journal," like the Drudge Report.
:-)
Posted by: hikercoast at September 11, 2008 12:49 am
Totten's Truth Trek
Posted by: Brian H at September 11, 2008 2:02 am
TottenTales
Posted by: tomw at September 11, 2008 8:21 am
Panolrama.
Personally I feel that this is what you provide me with regarding most of the topics that you tackle. Keep up the great work Michael.
Posted by: Kdouh at September 11, 2008 9:57 am
Forgive for the typo. I meant Panorama.
Posted by: Kdouh at September 11, 2008 9:58 am
Michael J. Totten's On The Line
" " The View From Here
" " Eyes And Ears
" " Wish You Weren't Here
Okay, that last one was a joke.
In any event, wish you the best of luck on this. It's such a personal decision.
Posted by: Justin Gardner at September 12, 2008 5:08 pm
Michael J. Totten: Facts on the Ground
Or...
The Totten Report
Posted by: sean at September 12, 2008 8:27 pm
Well, many of the above comments are similar, so something of:
Michael J Totten's Diaries
MJTotten's Diaries
Totten's War Diaries
If to tie to war issues only, then include war in the title, but if to cover post war issues also, then keep it more general.
e.g.
Tottens Diaries.
Either way, keep posting and stay safe.
Martin
Posted by: Martin Davies at September 14, 2008 11:40 am
How about Michael J. Totten's Going Places?
Or Observations?
or Frontline Pajamas?
Roaming Charges?
Road Less Travelled?
Long Walk Home or Long Way Home?
Travelog?
In any case, keep it up Mr. Totten. We appreciate it!
And, I must say, GlobeTotten is catchy.
However, Michael J. Totten is fine as is Journal, Byways, or any of the above suggestions that these fine comments have wrought.
Be safe!
Posted by: SashasDoc at September 14, 2008 1:13 pm
How about 'Hotspots'?
Posted by: Bailey at September 14, 2008 7:03 pm
Michael J. Totten: Into the Hot Zones
Posted by: Karl K. at September 15, 2008 6:55 am
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