I happen to be in Italy right now (in your faces, bitches! – but I mean that with love), so I haven’t had a lot of time for Dick research. I’m also posting a tad early because I have free internet here in Florence, but I won’t in Venice. Since being cheap is one of my salient characteristics, I will not pay to post (even for Dicks).
So here are some random thoughts, randomly organized.
What’s in a Name?
So the name Richard breaks down into two parts “Ric” and “hard.” The "ric" part means ruler, while the "hard" part means strong or powerful. When their powers combine you get [Captain Planet!] “powerful ruler.” Or maybe “hard ruler,” which is completely hilarious given the diminutive Dick.
I also discovered that Richard is the name of a variety of street football (or soccer as some of the world likes to call it). While I know a few things about soccer-football (way the hell more than I know about American football), I don’t feel qualified to explain Richard to you. So I’m letting Wikipedia do the heavy lifting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_%28football%29#Richard
“The name comes from the Spanish verb rechazar ("to reject"). The players must reject the ball from their area (the limit is usually the middle line of the field) and score goals. After one player kicks the ball to the other area, the second player may touch the ball up to three times (two optional touches and the shot). Richard is usually played with one or two players per side.
Players gain one point per goal, and two if the player shoots at once with no additional touch (and previously shouts that he/she will try to score double). If a player exceeds the three-touch limit, touches the ball within his/her goal area with the hand or within the opponent's area, a penalty kick is given to the opponent.
If one player stops a kick with its chest before the ball hits the ground (to perform a pechito, a Spanish diminutive for chest), the player can enter the rival's area and touch the ball any number of times to score. This "status" is finished if the keeper catches the ball (outside the goal area or the rival's area), so he/she can throw it to the attacker's body to be given a penalty.”
I have also spotted some Dicks in a few books, but these are not books I feel inclined to extensively blog about.
Dick from News From Nowhere by William Morris. This is a utopian socialist book, in which the narrator falls asleep and wakes up in the England of the future. The future is a world without money, where everyone does whatever work they feel inclined to do. Laziness is a real fault in this society, so you don’t have tons of people who fail to be productive. Dick is a ferryman who first meets the narrator and then serves as his guide. This Dick is a pretty cool guy, further disproving my theory that Dicks are dicks in fiction.
Dick Sands from Dick Sands, Boy Captain by Jules Vern. As the title character of this adventure novel, the orphan Dick is damn-near perfect. His main fault is his youth, which prevents him from knowing when someone on his crew is messing with him. In this book, Dick becomes captain after the rest of the crew is killed while whaling; Dick is left in charge of the cook (an evildoer), five formerly-shipwrecked black men, a woman, her five-year-old son, and her maid. Because the cook is really a Portuguese slaver on the run, he messes with the ship’s instruments in order to send the ship to Africa (rather than South America) so that he can sell the black men into slavery. (The ship has to go to Africa because this is the late 1800s and the four younger black men – all American – were born free). Bad things ensue in Africa, but Dick, with the help of Hercules (the biggest and strongest of the shipwrecked men) saves the day. Eventually they all make it back to the US (even the men who were sold into slavery) and the evil cook ends up dead. Dick completes his education and becomes the youngest captain his company has ever had. Good inspirational stuff for boys, no doubt.