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January 20, 2009

From catchy to clichéd in no time flat
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 05:13 PM *

Gamma is a Dutch chain that sells everything from hardware (paint, wood, tools) to, well, hardware (computer).

Front page of the flyer that dropped through our mailbox today:

gammacan

(The rest of the flyer is in Dutch.)

Comments on From catchy to clichéd in no time flat:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:18 PM:

It's the way of the world. As Tappan King once observed, all human experience moves on a line from gnosis to wallpaper.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Yes we can

It paints me to see people make such lame puns.

#3 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:43 PM:

Yeah, one of the Boston area radio stations (WZLX) is doing an Inauguration Day special on "The Change We Need: Top Songs from Z to A!" (It's a change because usually they go A to Z, you see.)

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:51 PM:

Well, the Dutch invented capitalism as we know it.

#5 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:53 PM:

It's also been borrowed to sell cars in Australia. If that's supposed to be an imitation of the US's newly installed President in the voiceover, well, I don't recall him sounding vaguely like Kermit the Frog, which this voiceover does, unfortunately.

#6 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Good lord. I'm in Belgium, wonder if they'll pull the same stunt for this week's Gamma flyer.
During the campaign, a local paper already used Obama's photo in a job ad for telemarketers.

#7 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:08 PM:

"Yes, we can" sounds like something a parent would say when trying to persuade a finicky toddler to eat a spoonful of creamed spinach. heh.

#8 ::: Tam ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Has no one seen the Pepsi ads? The logo and the slogan were co opted while they were still warm.

#9 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Earl, It's worse than that.

Can we build it? YES WE CAN!.

(Bob the Builder, for those of you without 4 year olds to run the dvd player).

#10 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Whenever I see the phrase in the UK I assume it's been borrowed from Bob the Builder, who was saying it long before Obama.

#11 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:20 PM:

I believe it's actually borrowed from César Chávez, who was saying it long before Bob the Builder.

#12 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 4

The Dutch for sure invented the basic mechanisms of Free Market Capitalism as we've known in recently: the Bubble, and the Collapse of the Bubble. Tulip shares, anyone?

#13 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:42 PM:

Bob is a union builder.

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:52 PM:

Bob employs underage sapient construction machines.

#15 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:58 PM:

A local inauguration party is has flyers, with appropriate illustration, entitled "Yes, we can-can".

#16 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:03 PM:

The Copland got me. I was holding my own til then. After that I just cried.

#17 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Actually, that was John Williams' variation on Copland's theme. I was listening raptly to it until just after Yo Yo Ma entered on the cello, at which point the damn anchors started whispering to each other about it. I think it's time to start agitating for multi-track digital transmission, with the content on one track and the commentary on another, and a big switch to shut off the commentary.

#18 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:22 PM:

This is my favorite Yes We Can pun: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/01/19/yes-we-can-the-warho.html

I'm a visual-pun person. Well, I'm also a verbal-pun person. But visual puns tickle me particularly.

#19 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:22 PM:

Bruce @ 17: start agitating for multi-track digital transmission, with the content on one track and the commentary on another, and a big switch to shut off the commentary.

Amen, brother! They were doing the same things all through the parade. I wanted to hear the music.

#20 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:31 PM:

Bruce@17: I *know*. Excuse me: possibly the best chamber music group you'll ever get to hear is currently playing. PIPE DOWN.

#21 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:36 PM:

Amazingly, given how *absolutely determined he was to make up for eight years of not concern trolling the president because that would be Tacky* Tom Brokaw actually shut up at that point.

Also awesome: Aretha Franklin's hat, and the brave, brave work of whoever it was who was doing her close captioning while she scatted.

#22 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:42 PM:

Bruce @ #17, and Copland swiped the theme for Appalachian Spring from a 19th-century Shaker Hymn called Simple Gifts.

#23 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:48 PM:

YouTube of the music without commentators here.

#24 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Thanks for the U2b Linkmeister!

I missed the music while I was watching it live.

If I'd heard the first 30 seconds cold I'd have thought "Vaughan Williams". Though as soon as the "gift" tune comes in its obvious what we are listening to. Very lovely. I think I'm about to play it again...

#25 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:37 PM:

NYT review of the musical piece.

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:38 PM:

As it happens, Mom just sent me this link to a Dutch chain's website -- don't click on anything (I don't think you can anyhow), just wait a few seconds and enjoy the chaos. (There's sound too.)

http://producten.hema.nl/

#28 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 12:07 AM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) (#17} "I think it's time to start agitating for multi-track digital transmission, with the content on one track and the commentary on another, and a big switch to shut off the commentary."

HELL, YEAH! I mean, that was the main feature I was looking forward to when digital television came in. For the Olympics, but so much else. Haven't found an example of it yet. You'd think there'd be a huge demand, and not that hard to do — even if it hurt the poor widdle commentators' egos.</hobbyhorse>
Returning this thread to normal transmission <g>

#29 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 12:40 AM:

Stefan, swiped wasn't meant to be pejorative.

#30 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 12:46 AM:

#29: I know. I think both Copeland and Carter did wonders with the tune.

#31 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 12:48 AM:

Am I the only one who found the Williams really trite? I mean, really, "Simple Gifts" on the clarinet, can you rip Copland off any more blatantly? I don't expect anything beyond boilerplate at a ceremony like this anyway, but it offended me as a lover of classical music that Williams put in so little effort.

#32 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 01:48 AM:

I don't think it was a matter of cynically ripping off Copeland, but more along the lines of reexamining the source material that inspired Copeland in the first place.

#33 ::: Elyse Grasso ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:41 AM:

I thought the music was very good, and wondered if the subtext of the performers was deliberate on someone's part: Jewish violinist, Chinese cellist, black clarinetist, female Hispanic pianist. Some of the best musicians in the world, Americans. (And together they fight crime?)

#34 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 03:31 AM:

The Bob the Builder song

And, yes, there is a version with Barack Obama on TouTube.

#35 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 03:59 AM:

Dammit, I was going to post that flyer up today.

Ironically we actually can't, as the local Gamma burned down last year.

#36 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 04:34 AM:

I always have to think of the Moulin Rouge film... because we can can can!

#37 ::: Aaron ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 05:52 AM:

Not only was it taken from Bob The Builder, but up here in New Zealand we even had a politician use it as a campaign catchphrase back around '05. Winston Piters, a horribly racist politician that relied on the grey vote. He's gone now. But the association with that sort of politics made more then a few people I know mutter about Obama for awhile.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 07:30 AM:

I watched on C-Span. No commentary.

#39 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 09:22 AM:

Martin Wisse @35:
So you're from Doetinchem?

#40 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 09:34 AM:

Sheesh, how many Gamma's burned down last year?

I think Martin is referring to my local Gamma (I can't either, in other words) in Amsterdam Noord. I remember seeing the pillar of smoke from that fire from my office. It was very dramatic, and smelled somewhat toxic.

I think they keep sending the flyers in the hope that we will be keen enough to go to a less local branch. At least once they even offered a discount to compensate for the travel costs.

Not that I need anything from them.

#41 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 09:44 AM:

Earl Cooley, 32: Oh, I'm sure Williams earnestly ripped off Copland!

There's a saying about how good composers borrow and great composers steal. I suppose I think Williams didn't hide the loot very well and will have to give it back.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 09:53 AM:

Abi @ 40...

What's wrong with Holland that so many of their gradnmas spontaneously combust? It's outrageous! Can't they do som...
("Serge, it's gamma.)
Oh.
Nevermind.

Doc Bruce Banner,
Belted by gamma rays,
Turned into the Hulk.
Ain't he unglamo-rays!
Wreckin' the town
With the power of a bull,
Ain't no monster clown
Who is that lovable?
It's ever lovin' Hulk! HULK!! HULK!!

#43 ::: elisa ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 10:15 AM:

Oh, good grief... I'm gonna avoid that flyer/store for a while. @_@ (I live in Belgium)

#44 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:04 AM:

I didn't think the Williams piece was trite. I thought the transitions between the sections were a bit awkward, and there was only about five seconds that I would have immediately recognized as Williams. It was certainly beautifully played.

#45 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:16 AM:

And while I'm thinking of Vaughan Williams, the fourth verse of the "Old Hundredth Psalm Tune" that he wrote for QE II's coronation is a note-for-note rip-off of Dowland's setting of the tune.

#46 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:20 AM:

My eyes were moist by the time I heard the new arrangement of "Simple Gifts" as well, mostly because I could hear the lyrics as I was watching:


To turn, turn will be our delight
Til by turning, turning we come round right.

This verse is a dance instruction, but to me it prefaced the themes in President Obama's speech quite well -- keep trying, and eventually things will come 'round. Most of the ceremony held together thematically: President Obama's speech referenced 1 Corinthians, and so did Elizabeth Alexander's poem. It was so refreshing to see principles of composition brought back to the executive branch.

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:44 AM:

Madeline Ashby @ 46

It's refreshing to see principles of any sort.

#48 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:48 AM:

eric @9, Chris @10, so the McCain people got the idea for their last ditch attempt when they did background research on Obama's slogans?

#49 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:51 AM:

Don't brush off folks' attempts to make paint-related puns! [puts coat on and departs]

#50 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:53 AM:

...And I really like that title font on the flyer.
[--as I peel out of here...]

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 12:55 PM:

Angiportus @ 49-50... How easely those threads degenerate.

#53 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Elyse, #33: I heard, somewhere in the flood of commentary yesterday, that Obama approached Yo-Yo Ma about performing, and Ma coordinated it from there. I would not be at all surprised if he took diversity into consideration as well as musicianship.

C. Wingate, #44: Quite a bit of it sounded Vaughan Williams-ish to me. I suppose it might sound trite to someone who doesn't like the "Simple Gifts" theme -- but I do, and I thought it was a lovely performance too.

And re #45: Are you talking about the "Doxology" section of his Psalm 100? Because if you are, then I have to disagree. Yes, he used the traditional church melody -- but the harmonic structure is completely different, and has thoroughly spoiled me for any lesser setting ever again. I sang that piece with my college choir, and to this day I remember how amazed and delighted I was when we hit the end of the first line, and then again at the end of the second -- because I'd scanned it and seen that it was the standard church melody (sung in unison), but hadn't paid any attention to the accompaniment. After that I was expecting it to be different, so it didn't hit me quite as hard on the 3rd and 4th lines.

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:15 PM:

Between 1977 and 1989, when he paid homage to others, John Williams was great. Now, not so much. Still, he gave us Star Wars, Superman and the Indiana Jones scores. That's what I intend to remember.

#55 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Chris Quinones #41: Oh, I'm sure Williams earnestly ripped off Copland!

Chris, I really don't like your use of the phrase "ripped off". However, so be it. It's of little consequence overall that we disagree about this.

#56 ::: Dom ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:52 PM:

#17, 19, 28:

Second Audio Program technology is already supported even in analog television transmissions. PBS uses it to verbally describe performances (ballet, for example) for visually impaired viewers.

#57 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 03:53 PM:

re 53: We aren't talking about the same piece. "The Hundredth Psalm" is from 1929; "The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune" is from 1953 and begins with a fanfare by "all available trumpets" (that's what it says). It's the fourth verse of the latter that is cribbed from Dowland. (I believe he does acknowledge this in the music.)

#58 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 10:32 PM:

Serge @54: Still, he gave us Star Wars, Superman and the Indiana Jones scores.

Also, themes for Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants (all titles in the Irwin Allen oeuvre).

#59 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:29 PM:

Chris, #31, the WashPost slammed it.

#60 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 12:22 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 58... But not the theme for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea for some reason. (Did you know that Chief Sharkey's full name was Francis Ethelbert Sharkey? Yes, 'Ethelbert'.)

#61 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 05:00 AM:

"The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune" is from 1953 and begins with a fanfare by "all available trumpets"

For some conductors of my acquaintance, that sort of thing would just be asking for trouble.

#62 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 10:06 AM:

One imagines that at the coronation, a lot of trumpets were available. I can tell you that 14 trumpets in the Kennedy Center concert hall is nigh unto deafening: that's how many there were, arrayed over all the balconies and the first floor, when we heard the Verdi Requiem.

#63 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 10:10 AM:

re 59: If it had been me, I wouldn't have chosen "Simple Gifts". It was different enough from the Copland for me, but I can see how others could come to a reaction.

#64 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 01:02 PM:

Dom (#56) so, theoretically, I could tune into the Channel 9 feed of the MSNBC broadcast (say) and somehow get a transmission giving me only the sound of music, speeches, crowds, noises made by sportspeople, thwack of bat against ball, swish of skate against ice, hovering helicopters, distant traffic, birdsong, wind, etc?

No-one explaining who's mother has just recovered from cancer, or triple-Axel turns, or the effect of new developments in golf clubs, or that this is only the third time a left-handed twin batsman has faced a left-handed bowler at the MCG in a Test match, etc? That's a really lovely idea.

Troublingly, lately they've been dropping product placements into the commercial commentary (including betting odds offered by a sponsor), so I can see very high resistance to enabling its removal on commercial broadcasters.

I'm very fond of The Old Hundredth, tune and words, but my preferred wording for the first line is "All creatures that on Earth do dwell". Am I not a Speculative Fiction reader? (OK, we should work out one for beyond Earth too.) Must look up your different versions. *Is glad Hector Berlioz isn't around mustering "all available trumpets"* Incidents of Jericho- or Samson-like proportions could ensue (views with alarm).

Sorry; rambling. Not sleeping well in the heat. Bedsit hasn't cross-ventilation, and is right under sun-soaked roof. I'll apply more cold water and attempt dormition once more.

#65 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 01:16 PM:

so, theoretically, I could tune into the Channel 9 feed of the MSNBC broadcast (say) and somehow get a transmission giving me only the sound of music, speeches, crowds, noises made by sportspeople, thwack of bat against ball, swish of skate against ice,

Ah, the happy memories of leisurely Sunday afternoons spent watching Ice Cricket...

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 06:58 PM:

Serge #60: I had a great-uncle named Egbert. No kidding.

#68 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 11:17 PM:

ajay @ 65: Ah, the happy memories of leisurely Sunday afternoons spent watching Ice Cricket...

No doubt followed by evenings spent arguing over how many Triple Axels should have been awarded that over*? Did the silly mid-on commit a Quadruple Salchow? And did the sweepers come in contact with their stones**?

*Any errors in terminology will be immediately blamed on lack of sleep.
**Not touching that one.

#69 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 04:36 PM:

And just who was that Salchow guy, anyway?

#70 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 04:42 PM:

Fragano @ 66... Ouch. Did you know that Gregory Peck's real name was Gregory Eldred Peck? Yes, he loved that as much as can be expected.

#71 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 12:03 AM:

As someone with the name of Elbert (which I am rather fond of, though I don't make much use of it), I am amused at the number of "El" names being disparaged, albeit mildly.

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 12:47 AM:

I take the hint, Terry.

#73 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 06:43 AM:

Test Match Special used to be better when it was raining, but the pace of cricket is slow enough that the commentary could wander between balls.

In some ways, it felt fannish--intelligent people talking about a subject they knew well.

More cake, anyone?

#74 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 07:26 PM:

Serge: No hint. I am, in actual fact amused.

The sense of, "ooh look at that name," is mild amusement, not real horror. If the names were things like, "Squid", or "Fauntleroy," "Chomondsley", etc.; which tend to be be familial, I'd not see it quite the same.

When I was working S1 for an artillery unit one of my duties was to keep the Line of Duty Investigation log (reports of accidents the Army was required to pay for), there was a kid who got himself dinged up quite regularly, Algernon P. Quattlebaum.

That was a name.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Terry @ 74... My wife refuses to believe there is such a name as 'Quattlebaum'.

As for unusual names, I may be as much a comics fan as Nicholas Cage is, but I'd never call any son of mine Kal El. Then again 'Cage' isn't Nick's real patronym, but is taken from another comic-book character.

#76 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 09:13 PM:

0.001% of all Americans have the surname Quattlebaum per the Census Bureau. It's Algernon that's the rarity.

#77 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 09:15 PM:

Serge: For your wife:

Quattlebaum

#78 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Serge @ 75 - A friend of mine, big Superman fan for decades, is amused by my "Kryptonian name".

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 09:33 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 78... Some people think 'Joel' sounds Kryptonian? Come to think of it, it does, outside of a francophone context. Been jumping over tall buildings in a single bound lately?

Meanwhile, I was watching North by Northwest recently, and I realized that being called 'Emile' is a source of hilarity in an anglophone context.

What do girl names 'Murielle' and 'Chantal' sound like in English? The latter probably no so bad because, when I mentionned it to a co-worker, he decided that this would be his newborn daughter's name.

#80 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 09:41 PM:

"Algernon Quattlebaum" gets multiple hits in a Google search, which makes me inexplicably cheerful. I am now restraining myself from googling the names of P.G. Wodehouse characters.

#81 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 10:43 PM:

Serge: They sound fine. The first is likely to be mispronounced/misheard, but it's not odd. Chantal is not unknown to me. I've met a couple of women who have it.

#82 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 10:48 PM:

When I was riding to Connecticut with my sister's family, they had the first "Harry Potter" audiobook playing(*). Names like "Hermione" did not sound anything like I'd naturally pronounce them!

Also, my Mom used to "collect" funny-in-context names -- not so much the intrinsically silly ones, but ones like "Dr. Hertz".

* Even the 4-year-old was following intently, though she declared the climax was "too scary". I have to say, the narration was good -- I could understand it easily, despite a hearing loss that makes many recordings an exercise in frustration.

#83 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 11:01 PM:

David Harmon: Yes, Hermione drives me bats, because I learnt it as Ere-me-ohn.

#84 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 12:16 AM:

I used to have an Aunt Moine. That was all anyone ever called her, but ISTR hearing at some point that it was short for Hermoine. Yes, spelled like that, and pronounced "HER-moyn".

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:22 AM:

When I hear the name 'Hermione', I think not of Harry Potter's friend, but of Hermione Gingold, better known in America as the aging courtisane in the musical Gigi.

#86 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:32 AM:

IIRC the head of the Flat Earth Society during the 1950s was an English gentleman hight Frampwich Gospatt.

#87 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:40 AM:

David Harmon @ #82, the narrator (in the American versions) is Jim Dale. I've heard him interviewed a few times, and his obvious glee at doing the Potter books was unmistakable.

#88 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:41 AM:

#87: Also the narrator of "Pushing Daisies."

#89 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:54 AM:

Serge: Yes, but she's best known as "Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn" (which brings us back to odd names) from "The Music Man", though I tend to think of her as "Grand-mama" from "A Little Night Music" by Sondheim (which role I saw Glynnis Johns performing, in wonderful performance).

(as a piece of trvia, Meredith Wilson is

#90 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 03:13 AM:

The oldest source I know for the name "Hermione" is the Odyssey, in which it's the name of Helen's daughter by Menelaus. (The Odyssey asserts that Helen had no other children; other sources differ on the point.)

#91 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 04:02 AM:

There is a connection between HMS Hermione and HMS Surprise.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 09:23 AM:

Terry Karney @ 89... "Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn" (which brings us back to odd names)

And Hermione Fernandina Gingold was, in Bell, Book and Candle an old witch called Bianca de Passe. Not that weird a name, true, but, phonetically, it's close to the French expression that translates as "past it".

#93 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Davd Bell: yes there was, and Pigot got not much more than he deserved.

#94 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:02 PM:

If people have trouble with Hermione, what on earth do they have with a lovely, old-fashioned name like Hortense? (I haven't come across a Hortense in years, but I used to know a few.)

I've also come across a Euphemia (which makes me wonder, is David Goldfarb around, and if so would he mind telling us what phemia is, and what's so good about it).

Chantal makes me think of 70s Marxist political theory, Chantal Mouffe having co-written a piece with Ernesto Laclau.

#95 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Fragano... 'Mouffe' sounds extremely silly, even in French, especially for a Marxist, unless one is a fan of Groucho.

#96 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 01:52 PM:

I once hired a data entry clerk named Eugenie. She had shortened it to Genie long before I hired her.

#97 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 04:07 PM:

david harmon,

Names like "Hermione" did not sound anything like I'd naturally pronounce them!

yes, & when listening to lois mcmaster bujold's curse of chalion on audiobook, i wished she hadn't named her hero something that could be pronounced so close to "casserole."

think of the audiobook, fantasy authors!

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 04:29 PM:

miriam beetle @ 97... Did you know that the French word 'casserole' translates as 'pan' or 'saucepan' in English.

#99 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 05:02 PM:

The -phemia in Euphemia comes from the same Greek root as -pheme in "morpheme", and so means speech or sound; thus Euphemia means something like 'good speech", meaning that the person so named speaks well, or that the are spoken well of.


#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 05:57 PM:

euphemismos: use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one.

#101 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 07:45 PM:

Serge #95: Well, given that she's Belgian she might be expected to sound funny in French.

#102 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 07:49 PM:

Fidelio #99: Thanks. The Euphemia in question was not spoken well of, believe me.

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 08:56 PM:

Fragano @ 101... Oh, it's nothing like that. 'Mouffe' sounds like 'touffe', which translates as 'tuft' and which, where I come from, is a slang word for female pubic hair. (All knowledge is on the intertubes, for better and for worse.)

#104 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 11:14 PM:

Serge: I am sure you are aware casserole is in english, both a dish, and a style of food cooked in such a dish (and the dual meaning of dish was an interesting thing to work around too).

#105 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2009, 11:36 PM:

Terry Karney @ 104... Oh, I knew that. I just thought it was interesting how the French word, when it became used in English, transformed from the object to the specific cooking the object is used for.

#106 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 12:15 AM:

Yes, φημι means "I say" (sometimes used in a metaphorical sense of "I think" or "I suppose") and φημη the noun form means "speech". Whence we have "euphemism", as has been noted, also "blasphemy". (Which according to my dictionary is the root of "blame".)

#107 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:20 AM:

Back when I first began reading the Harry Potter books (which was after the third or fourth book had been published) there was a page on the official web site where all the main characters' names were listed, and one could click on each to hear it pronounced.

I recall that one had to click on the villain's name several times before the voice would assent to pronounce as written, instead of as a homophone of "He Who Must Not Be Named".

#108 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:56 AM:

Serge @ 101: ... whereas an Australian phrase for the same is "map of Tasmania" or "map o' Taz". Check your nearest globe or world atlas for clarification. (I've always assumed this is the intentionally silly phrase for it, but maybe it's what Australians actually use. I dunno.)

#109 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 05:16 AM:

I knew a girl once called Annie. It was only after some time that I learned that her full name was in fact Andromeda. She had a younger sister, Cassie. Yes, Cassiopeia.

I suppose it could have been worse: Debbie (short for Aldebaran)? Merope? Taygeta? Wolf 359? V* V1099 Tau? Zubenhakrabi?

#110 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 07:33 AM:

Serge #103: I had wondered if there was a relationship to the English word 'muff'.

#111 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 08:30 AM:

When my sis-in-law and her hubby were going thru the adoption process, they asked for name suggestions. I didn't have good suggestions for a boy's name, but my favorite for a girl was "Theora". Yes, that was Amanda Pays's character in Max Headroom. I told them I thought it meant "she who opens doors", but we never could find confirmation of that. It must have given them ideas because they wound up calling their son "Theodore". And yes, they very much consider Theo a gift from the gods.

#112 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 08:32 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 108... Ah, the things one learns on the internet...

#113 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 10:31 AM:

Maia Selene, and Sola Terrene.

After that what need for more children?

I don't know what they would have named a boy.

#114 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Terry Karney #113: I don't know what they would have named a boy.

My guess would be Sterling Yorito.

#115 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:20 PM:

Quick, more boy names! We don't like any of them, and we have to name a baby in 4 months.

Last time we'd picked Broccoli after I found it on a list of flower names for boys, but looking at that US Census site, nobody in the country is actually named that. Which makes me wonder about the compiler of said list. (Seriously, though, Brock - it's an excellent name. But, ok, no, we weren't actually going to use it. We did have the whole family convinced that we were, which is much more entertaining than actually going through with the scheme.)

We already have excellent girl names in the family history - Calpurnia (Purnie!) and Eguenia spring to mind. But as far as men go, the only interesting ones are things like Washed-In-The-Blood-Of-The-Lamb Smythe, and those don't work in these modern times. (Too long for databases, email becomes inconvenient...)

#116 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:26 PM:

Cat Meadors @ 115... more boy names!

I think 'Serge' has a certain ring to it.
("With a 'clonk!' in it.")
I heard that.

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:34 PM:

Cat Meadors @ 115... How about 'Jonathan'?

#118 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Serge - why Jonathan?

Already on the list of definite no's - anything John-, James-, Steve-, Robert-, Charles- or Tom- related (we know too many people with those names); also anything with an "aden" sound in it (the male version of "Madison" a few years ago).

See? That rules out like 90% of guy names right there. Girls get much more leeway in having interesting and euphonious names. (My parents had the same problem. The only name they'd come up with was "Dempsey", after the Dumpster company, so it's a good thing I wasn't a boy.)

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Cat Meadors @ 118...

Why Jonathan? For me anyway, that name evokes quiet strength, because of this. Also, your son could abbreviate it to Nathan.

#120 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:07 PM:

cat,

a sort of "aden"ish name, but not, & also pleasantly old-fashioned, is "avery." i dunno if that one's come back into style, but it sounds like it ought. also "caleb."

hmm. all my weirdass secretly favourite boy names are jewish (for my heritage) or japanese (for my husband's). like, i thought hiroki was a great name for a boy, but "heroes" has ruined boys named hiro forever.

my other favourite japanese boy's name i would never get away with is "kaneda," like in akira. i have joked that i would name a son kaneda israel (yes, "israel" is a traditional jewish boy's name).

my favourite hebrew boy's name i would never get away with is aviron, or possibly avi-ron. i made it up, but "av" (meaning father) & "ron" (meaning happy) are both popular building blocks for israeli names. so it could mean something like "my father's happiness," but it also sounds like the word for "airplane" (although spelled differently).

#121 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:22 PM:

Cat:

Rowan
Oake
Ashe
Thorne
Alexander/Alexei/Alexias/Alessandro
Kevin
Ciaran/Kieran (I think it means "twilight")
Christopher (a name that means the world to me)

If you want more unusual names (and don't worry about the kid being teased for his name in grade school, that will happen no matter what you name him), you can try some of these:

Theremin
Stradivarius (you could call him Strad)
Hephaistion
Patroklos

#122 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Cat Meadors, here's a list of Hawaiian boys' names; most are euphonious, and some might even be worthy of consideration.

Besides, think of the confusion! "Are you Hawaiian?" "Nope." "Then why. . .?" "My parents liked it!" "Oh."

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:42 PM:

One thing to keep in mind re a kid's name, no matetr how neat the name is... You don't want to punish your kid with having to spell his name every single time for the rest of his life.

#124 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:45 PM:

People misspell my name (Christopher) all the time.

They omit the last six letters. I can't understand that level of stupidity. They leave out the last two syllables when speaking it, too. Can you believe the godsdamned GALL?

#125 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:49 PM:

Cat- some boy names of less-common usage, but common enough that everyone knows how to spell them (mostly)...
Keith
Simon
Isaac
Casey
George

My family has a surplus of little boys at the moment, so I sometimes feel as though I've spent the last 8 years coming up with boy names.

#126 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Except when they spell it Kieth instead. Not that I've ever had to deal with that or anything.

In my experience, it's nice to have a name that's actually a name but is uncommon enough to mean that you're often the only one.

#127 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 02:59 PM:

My father's side had a thing for W: there were a Willard, Wilbur, Wofford, and a Walker (fortunately not all Wingates). We also have the requisite supply of puzzling southern female names (where did Met come from?). But my Son James is named after my great uncle James, and my wife's great aunt James.

#128 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:06 PM:

c,

(where did Met come from?)

oh, that reminds me of another unique-baby-names thought i had. since monet was a trendy girl's name for a bit, i always thought it would be funny if someone named a boy manet.

but for twentieth-century-painter-surnames that would make cute baby names, my two semi-serious nominations would be magritte & matisse. like, magritte, you could pass off as a variant of margaret.

#129 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:06 PM:

My list, although the only one that we could agree on was Stefan:
Alexander
Benjamin
Brennan
Davin
Nicolas
Patrick (or Patraic, I guess)
Ryan
Scott
Travis
Tristan
and
William
I also liked Edward, but Graeme thought it was too Posh.
Hey, Graeme is a good name too. Or other names in his family that we didn't want to use as they were too close - Gareth, Owain, Lewys.
We wouldn't use names from my side of the family. Seriously, Norman Isidore? Who does that to a baby?

#130 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:13 PM:

It's a good thing -Steve has been eliminated. My entire life I've had to explain that the full form is Stephen "with a long e" rather than something like Steffen with the accent on the first syllable.

#131 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:15 PM:

I forget where I read the advice, but one should never select a name for a child until you've practiced yelling it out the back door a few times.

#132 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:19 PM:

"HEPH-A-A-A-AI-STIO-O-O-ON!"

Works fine. :-)

#133 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:39 PM:

KeithS @ 126, my fiancé (Keith K) agrees with you. Also for some reason everyone remembers his name as "Kevin." Does that happen to you, too?

And miriam beetle, "Caleb" is back in style, with such fascinating phonetic spellings as "Kaylub" spotted in the wild.

I've always liked "Lennon" for a boy's name. But last-namey first-names are trendy these days, which may be a point against it.

I also like Andrew and Nicholas. You have a choice of nicknames with those.

#134 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:41 PM:

Xopher @ 132: Have you checked your back door since you yelled?

#135 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Yep. Cute guy, but he's wearing a skirt.

#136 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Re names for boys... I'm trying to think of at least one per letter of the alphabet which fits the stated criteria. Where possible, I'm also going for the "recognizable but not ubiquitous" criterion.

Aaron
Bryan (I prefer the "y" spelling)
Carl
David, or Davis (I have a friend whose son is named Davis, but it was a family name)
Edward
Finn
Gene
Harrison (shortens nicely to Harry, and gives him something to aspire to)
Ian
Kyle
Liam
Matthew
Nelson
Oliver
Paul
Quinn
Richard
Stanley
Timothy
I don't think there's a single male name that begins with U!
Victor
Wayne
Xander (yes, that's cheating, but Xavier is too outré)
Y and Z seem also to be bereft of appellations.

You might consider alternate cultural spellings of common names, too.

#137 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:47 PM:

Lee @ 136 - U is for Ulysses.

#138 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:49 PM:

Oh, I forgot the other criteria.

#139 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Serge@111: Actually "Theora" comes from θεωρός, meaning "watcher".

#140 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:55 PM:

'Darwin' could work as a boy's name, and it would acknowledge one of the heroes of science. However, it would be a lightning rod for a whole class of idiots.

Also, IIRC, it was one of the names Endora used for Samantha's husband Darrin, when she wanted to insult him by refusing to use his real name (which was all the time).

#141 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Heh - I just noticed "Barack" was added to the spelling reference. (Ok, it's probably been there for ages, but I usually don't look at it unless I need to spell Tolkien.) There are gonna be a lot of little Baracks and Obamas running around in this kid's peer group...

And oh, do I know about the spelling thing. I could spell "Meadors" before I knew what spelling was, because I honestly thought my mother's last name was "Meadors. M-E-A-D-O-R-S." My first name is spelled oddly too, which leads to the "Cat" shortening, because most people can figure that one out. (Also, it's what my gramma did, and I'm named after her, so why not?)

My father was Gilcin Finley, so it could have been worse.

I'm gonna point my husband to this thread and see what he doesn't veto. If it's a boy, I'm starting to think we're gonna name him "Male Child" and let him change it when he's old enough to care. (Part of the problem is that we picked the World's Best Name for our daughter, and now everything else pales in comparison.)

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 03:58 PM:

Yaron
Zed

#143 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Aloyisius to Zachery

#144 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 04:09 PM:

I don't think Xavier is that outré, but Keith worked with a Xavier at one point, so I'm used to hearing it.

What about Zachary for Z?

#145 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 04:10 PM:

You could name him αγόρι. (Agori, I think. David?)
Or Ragazzo.
Or Junge.
Or мальчик (Malchik; you could call him Mal!)
Alternatively, сынок (Synok), Hijo, or Filho.

#146 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 04:21 PM:

Cadwaleder?

#147 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 05:03 PM:

Caroline @ 133:

I've only ever had Kevin trouble once, and I don't even remember who it was with. In fact, I'd forgotten about it until you mentioned it, although I do remember that trying to correct it was a bit of a losing battle. I wonder if it's a common problem.

#148 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 05:12 PM:

I like "Arthur". Not too common (in the US--maybe more so in Britain?), not weird, only one spelling in use, good connotations.

#149 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 05:17 PM:

U - Uwe (if you're okay with a German name) That was my German name for German class as apparently there's no equivalent for Neil.

Everyone thinks they can spell both my given name and my surname, and mostly they get one out of two right.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 05:22 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 139... 'Theora' means 'watcher'? Thanks! A perfect name for Pays's character.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 05:24 PM:

Has anybody suggested 'Marcus' yet?

#153 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Cat Meadors @#115: For baby names, my general advice would be to look for names from your grandparents' generation (that is, 3 generations before the kid). A lot of names seem to follow that cycle. My own grandfathers were Jerome (IIRC -- he always went by Jerry) and Maurice (Murray).

Of course, it's always fun to ransack the mythologies of your forebears (and many Biblical names never go out of style), or you could draw from your common interests. (Hey... author's names?) And of course, there's going to be a lot of kids named "Obama" this year! ;-)

Xopher @#124: I used to know a transsexual who was originally named Christopher, but usually went by Chris. When making the social transition, xe initially tried changing it to Christine, but found that having the same nickname was interfering with getting people to switch pronouns.

#154 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 06:30 PM:

Steve C, the "yelling out the back door" thing is my sister's rule for naming kids, discussed here some time about the time Cory Doctorow's daughter Poesy was born (and I still love that name).

I can't think of any names right now. Or, to be honest, I can't think right now, as the unofficial flu still has me in its grippe.

#155 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 06:40 PM:

re 153: Another name to avoid is one that tells everyone exactly how old your child is.

#156 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 06:58 PM:

Sorry, the discussion of Fanty, Mingo, Badger, &c, there led me to put this in another thread. Reposting in the actual place intended.

Boy's Names: A quick mental skim through my SF & F bookshelf for names (with variants) not already given –

Alastair, Aldous/Aldus, Alfred, Anthony/Antony, Arthur, Blake, Brad/Brady, Bradley, Conan, Ellis, Frederic[k], George, Gibson, Harold/Harry/Harrison, Hugo, Isaac, Joseph, Jules, Kurt, Neal/Neil, Nikto, Philip, Ray/Raymond, Reynold, Roger, Roy, Tarrant, Travis, Tyrell (I pronounce this like Tirrell), William, Winston

#157 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Sorry, the discussion of Fanty, Mingo, Badger, &c, there led me to put this in another thread. Reposting in the actual place intended.

Boy's Names: A quick mental skim through my SF & F bookshelf for names (with variants) not already given –

Alastair, Aldous/Aldus, Alfred, Anthony/Antony, Arthur, Blake, Brad/Brady, Bradley, Conan, Ellis, Frederic[k], George, Gibson, Harold/Harry/Harrison, Hugo, Isaac, Joseph, Jules, Kurt, Neal/Neil, Nikto, Patrick, Philip, Ray/Raymond, Reynold, Roger, Roy, Tarrant, Travis, Tyrell (I pronounce this like Tirrell), William, Winston

#158 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 07:12 PM:

My first thought for U was Uther. Then I thought of Uriel, but that's the OBSCURE archangel and nobody would believe it was a boy's name.

Uriah is Right Out.

#159 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Cat Meadors - if you really want in-depth name analysis, you should check out the discussion forums at "Baby's Named a Bad Bad Thing" - http://www.bigbadbabynames.net/forum/index.php. They lean towards classic and historical there, not so much trendiness, so might fit your style.

My favorite boy names include:
Simon
Arthur
Timothy
Jerome
Edmund
Paul
Walter

#160 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 07:21 PM:

<mode=crestfallen>Darn. Sorry for the double posting. Reading back, during my doing-five-things-at-once distraction while writing, several names were suggested by others too. Still, popularity may show something.</mode>

#161 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 07:43 PM:

Epacris my good friend, please stand your crest back up! It was a good and helpful thing, popularity may indeed show something, and we all double post double post once in a while.

#162 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 08:44 PM:

Brock Croagunk Samson

Please don't saddle a child with a name that will get them beaten up every day on the playground.

#163 ::: Shalanna Collins ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 10:08 PM:

Baby names? Who's having a baby? Mazel tov!

Names, huh.

I was the first Shalanna I'd ever heard of. We thought we'd be the only one--that we'd invented the name. But now there are several grown-up Shalanna/Shalana women out there--Google them. One is a lawyer, one is a singer. They're around 25 years old or so. Interestingly enough, I got on CompuServe with the screen name "Shalanna" around 1984, and ran a FidoNet BBS as sysop-ette from 1986-1991. So perhaps they came up with the name independently, or maybe. . . . *grin*

However, it IS a pain to hafta spell it for everyone, and tell people that it rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna" instead of sounding like "Sha-na-na."

#94 ::: Fragano *and* #79 ::: Serge:
Chantal? I have a cousin named Chantal. She pronounces it "shaun-tall." That's probably the French way, n'est-ce pas? My aunt named her after Sandra Dee's character in the Bobby Darin/Sandra Dee film _If A Man Answers_, based on a book by Winifred Wolfe that you can't find anywhere. (We used to have the book in our local library, but now they sell off any books that are not checked out during the previous year to make room for the 23 copies of current best-sellers.)

Chantal has always had to spell her name for people. It's a flamin' pain. But anyhow, it does mean that you are usually the only Shalanna or Chantal in the class or on that floor of the building. *GRIN*

Teaching public school enables one to hear all manner of unusual names. Don't even get me started on Oranjello and his twin Lemonjello. *aack* I hope that is a teachers' urban legend, but I fear it is rooted in truth, as so many teachers swear they've met these guys.

#164 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 10:39 PM:

Earl Cooley III: Sterling Yorito ?

Quite apart from my being certain that's not the case, I wonder why you chose that selection (I know how they came to the selection they did, A star, and the moon; then the sun and the earth. That they were euphonius was part of it too. I also know an Aria Dawn)?

Rikibeth: That's one of my favorite names of angels.

#165 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 11:09 PM:

Names: would someone who steals names be an ycleptomaniac?

#166 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 11:47 PM:

First of all, hee to Erik @165.

And more contributorially, have Cat et al checked out NameVoyager? Put in a name and it will show you how common it's been over time, and perhaps save your kid from being the 5th Jacob in his class.

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:37 AM:

Shalanna @ 163... She pronounces it "shaun-tall." That's probably the French way, n'est-ce pas? My aunt named her after Sandra Dee's character in the Bobby Darin/Sandra Dee film

That's the one where Gidget falls in the Time Tunnel, then Moondoggie's surfboard crashes into the Titanic, making it sink at the very moment when Tony and Doug... What? Oh. Nevermind... Yes, the pronouciation is close to what you describe. And, yes, beautiful as I consider the name, it's one of those that condemns its wearer to the Spelling Curse.

#168 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:42 AM:

rikibeth,

but that's the OBSCURE archangel and nobody would believe it was a boy's name.

the son of occasional makinglight commenters naomi libick & alter s. reiss is named uriel. but they live in israel, where it's not at all uncommon. (for english speakers, the girly -el suffix seems to be less of a problem than the initial u. people try to put a y-sound on the front of it, like "urinal.")

earl,

Please don't saddle a child with a name that will get them beaten up every day on the playground.

as others have pointed out, it's no good trying to determine what will & won't get a kid teased. i knew of a guy named zero spero (i found one, googling just now, whose birthyear seems about right). he was very well liked.

#169 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:48 AM:

Congratulations! And good luck finding an appealing name.

I named my daughter Ellery, after my mother's twin, but it's normally a boy's name. (Somehow it ended up becoming a girl's name on my mother's side of the family.) It's a legitimate name, but quite obscure. Right now I believe the best known Ellery is Ellery Eskelin, a free jazz saxophonist.

If you want to find traditional, generally recognizable, but less common names, you can always just sit down with an Old Testament and start looking for something that doesn't make you either go "Yeah, every other kid is named David" or "That is too bizarre." That will give you a long list of names like Adam, Isaac, Zachary, Jed, Ezekiel (Zeke), Elijah, and plenty of others. I'd avoid Cain, though.

#170 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 08:41 AM:

But anyhow, it does mean that you are usually the only Shalanna or Chantal in the class or on that floor of the building.

In my grade school there were 52 Jennifers, but I was the only Carrie. We did have a couple of Karens, but no other Carries. The name had a slight surge in popularity about the time I was born, but it seems it was only a slight surge.

Teaching public school enables one to hear all manner of unusual names.

An acquaintance of mine who's a pediatrician swears he once had his nurse come into the exam room, hand him a file, and say, "It's pronounced 'shih-thii-ed'." Looked at the file, and yes, "Shithead".

Your Honor, the defense rests.

#171 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 09:00 AM:

Rikibeth... miriam beetle... If Uriah and Uriel are out of the question, as far as angels are concerned, what about Metatron?

#172 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 09:40 AM:

Terry Karney #164: Sterling Yorito ? Quite apart from my being certain that's not the case, I wonder why you chose that selection?

I willfully misinterpreted Maia and Sola as anime references, then googlesmurfed for an appropriately linked name in that sphere.

miriam beetle #168: as others have pointed out, it's no good trying to determine what will & won't get a kid teased. i knew of a guy named zero spero (i found one, googling just now, whose birthyear seems about right). he was very well liked.

And here we're dabbling our toes into the wading pool of anecdotal evidence. I think the "infinite cruelty of peers" trumps "savvy kids don't let themselves be victims."

#173 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:13 AM:

Sometimes, I come across a name that has me think "Oh my! He/she must have been taunted as a kid" and, when my wife asks why and I answer, she then usually say that I give kids too much credit for inventiveness. Cruel people can be quite inventive, says he whose nickname was the French word for 'asparagus' because it rhymed with his True Name, and also because it fitted with the physique of his young days.

#174 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:49 AM:

170: In my grade school there were 52 Jennifers, but I was the only Carrie.

The Jennifers all made fun of her, but THEY LEARNED THEIR LESSON.

#175 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:53 AM:

Earl Cooley III: Ok, that makes sense. I just failed completely at making the connective leap. Too close to the people I suppose (or too far from anime).

Now that I understand it, it's a pretty good joke. I don't the think the frog was more than wounded in the explanation.

#176 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:57 AM:

Shalanna Collins #@163: Don't even get me started on Oranjello and his twin Lemonjello. *aack* I hope that is a teachers' urban legend...

Nope, both names are out there. American blacks in particular often have kind of "arbitrary" names. (I've seen "Adequate" as a given name.) I've heard this is a holdover from slave times, when the slaves weren't allowed surnames.

#177 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:00 AM:

I've had the spelling curse for as long as I *could* spell ("like Karen, but with an F on the front"). It would have extended to my married name if I used it (and I don't have any handy phrase to cover Hanscom), so I stick with Miller. Mom is Aleta, which most people can spell. Grandma was the more flowery Eurilla, usually called Rilla, and either version is up for grabs these days. Rilla's maiden name of Farren inspired my monicker, but Serge would probably prefer her stepdad's French-Canadian surname of LaLiberte -- supply your own accent mark at the end.

The most sensible advice, which various people have given above, is: Don't succumb to current fads! (My niece and nephew by marriage, Ashley and Jason, are victims of that parental tendency.)

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:01 AM:

ajay @ 174... And does your mom look like Piper Laurie?

#179 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:25 AM:

And one wonders why the names of yesteryear are thought ill.

I like my grandmother's name (Mildred), but I don't think I'd give it to a daughter, because the full name isn't likely to play well, and the only nicknames I can think of are things like Mille, and Edie, and the like; which feel limiting too (as in cute, and so diminishing).

#180 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:55 AM:

Also, when you pick a name, be sure it's easy to say both first and middle names together without problems--either in terms of what they can be twisted into by imaginative tormenters, or in terms of ease of clear pronunciation. My nephew and his wife named their daughter Lillian Ella, for her deceased great-grandmothers and a beloved great-aunt, and while she is the only Lillian, or Lily, in her classes so far, saying both names together usually ends up with people thinking the has a very long, melodious, and unusual first name.

On the subject of peculiar name choices, I had a claim on a small child named Toyota Chevette (I will allow all of you all to imagine the comments on that one), as well as claims on two older women, from different parts of the state, whose parents had named them "Orangietta"--one used the full version, the other abbreviated it to "Orangie"--in both cases, the emphasis was on the second syllable. I don't know if the families were originally from New Jersey or adherents of the House of Orange-Nassau, or if their mothers had both had cravings for that fruit during pregnancy. I have to say that, at least in Tennessee, all races manage to come up with unique and interesting names for their children--names that, in many cases, no one who leans to good sense rather than their tendency to dramatic flair would use.

My own family has gotten carried away over the years: my grandmother's middle name was "Bashie"--she was named for an old lady who was a friend of her mother's, known to as all Miss Bashie, and actually named Bathsheba; my father's middle name, supposedly in honor of a well-known trial lawyer in the southern US, was Hamlet.

Oh, and one final word of advice, from one of the old doctors I work with, a retired ob-gyn. Never ask an intern, resident, or medical student to name your child when you either don't have a name ready or can't decide. They are not reliable, and you will regret it. Ask the nurses what their father's/mother's name was, or ask an agreeeable-looking person in the waiting room or other nearby spot. Better to name your child for a stranger than have them deal the rest of their lives with the consequences of trainee doctor humor, which goes well beyond the boy named Sue pale.
In hospitals run by the Roman Catholic church, the result for undecided parents who appealed to the staff used to be the saint of the day, and the results could be either quite safe or very strange. My cousin went to school with twins named Cosma and Damiana; I know of someone from Canada named Michel Tous-anges.

#181 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:11 PM:

My grandmother's first name was Mabel (she went by her middle name, Jane); one of my great-aunts (not her sister) was Agnes. I've been known to tell people who want to know what the initials on my nametag stand for, that I'm 'Mabel Agnes', but I don't think I'd give either to a child now.

Boys names I haven't seen mentioned yet:
Christoph
Fergus
August/Augustus/Augustine
Anselm
Tycho

#182 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:22 PM:

Any kid name Tycho should be given a telescope. And probably a silver and gold nose appliance. :-)

#183 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:23 PM:

Fidelio #180: I've been told that in Martinique there was a time when there was a good chance that boys born on 14 July could be named Fêtenate (short for Fête Nationale).

Jamaican women born around the turn of the last century had a distressing tendency, for some reason, to be named for the then Queen of the Netherlands. I've no idea why. 'Wilhelmina' tended to be shortened to 'Wilhel', and there were a few old 'Miss Wilhels' around in the 1970s.

This is not as bad as the tendency in Jamaica in the 1950s and 1960s to name children after cosmetic products. I've known several women named Icilda (after a face cream), and even a man named Ambie after a skin-lightening cream, poor chap. (I will pass in silence over my own name, inflicted upon me by a father who had no thought for what idiot clerical workers would do to it over the years.)

I used, by the way, to know a John Hamlet.

#184 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:29 PM:

miriam, #168: Also, even with "ordinary" names you never know when someone who shares your name will become infamous. There were a lot of Britneys before anyone had ever heard of Spears.

Clifton, #169: Ellery Queen, surely?

David, #176: I once knew a woman who joked that she and her brother had both been given "black names" even though they were white. Now, her brother's name was Cleon; I'll give her that, although to me it reads as much "Southern rural white" as "black". But her name? Was Denise. No odd spellings or internal capitalization, just a perfectly ordinary mainstream-culture American name. I guess she considered any name starting with "De" to be "black" by definition. Go figure.

#185 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:32 PM:

Lee @ 184 - I think Cleon was also the name of Emperor in Foundation.

#186 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Well, I started this hours ago, and it's already way too long, so here it is:

KeithS @ 126 - that's excactly what I want! It should be a name, but not EVERYONE's name. And you can't ever 100% win the spelling game - but at least your parents didn't go with Ceith. (It'd solve the i before e part, but...)

EClaire @ 129 - Edward is posh? Really? I know a guy who claims his name is actually Edamame, because he thinks "Edward" is so boring. (We know a lot of Eds, too.) Graeme is a good name. Or at least it looks cool. But I don't know how to pronounce it.

Lee @ 136 - Apparently you think like my inlaws - you've got my husband's and his brother's names on your list. Come to think of it, they picked good boy names - I should see what they think.

Rob Rusick @ 140 - I know two Darwins! (Both in their early 60s... I wonder if it was a thing around then?) Hm, if I wanted to avoid the controversy, I guess I could go with Planck... (Brock Planck! Yes! Er, no...) Avogadro? Fresnel? Why don't physicists have better names? (Tesla! Kelvin's actually kind of nice, but too close to Kevin... Polycarp? Seriously? Oh, I see it's a saint's name. Well, that'd take care of the scientific AND religious communities, but then I'd have named a child Polycarp, and, well, no. Even if it is spelled like it sounds.)

David Harmon @ 153 - I like stealing from the grandparents' generation - our girl name is taken from one of each of our great-aunts. But all the men in that generation were named some variation of John or Robert. (Or Gilcin, but the less said about that the better.) We already named our cat Terry, unfortunately.

Clifton Royston @ 169 - Ellery Queen! (Am I the only person who had a gramma with very limited reading material?)

Can't use Nic(h/k)olas or Elijah, either - both of those are coming into vogue enough that our daughter knows bunches of them (and is related to a couple). I mean, that's a game you can't totally win either - the kiddo is 5, and we know many many 2-year-olds with her name now. But at least we were first!

I didn't realize Uriel was obscure - but I still don't think I'd name a kid that. I've always been fond of Eleazar as far as OT names go, and hey, he was the son of Aaron, but it totally fails the spelling test. (Even if Eli is a good short name.)

Worrying about the kid getting teased? No. I mean, short of naming him "Poopyhead Stinkypants," nothing you do is going to make a difference one way or another. When I was little, my parents called me "Katy," which should be pretty tease-proof - except that some company came up with the idea of "Katie the Cleaning Lady" and a long series of popular commercials based on her. My parents' fault? Certainly not. But there was a lot of teasing nonetheless. (I spent a solid year being angry that they hadn't named me "Princess Sunflower," so I'm not going to worry about the kid liking their name, either.)

#187 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Franklin.
Benjamin.
Jefferson.

#188 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Now, her brother's name was Cleon; I'll give her that, although to me it reads as much "Southern rural white" as "black". But her name? Was Denise.

Clearly her brother should have been called Denephew.

#189 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:55 PM:

The Jennifers all made fun of her, but THEY LEARNED THEIR LESSON.

Is this where I go Mwa ha ha?

#190 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 12:56 PM:

#180
I understand that one factor in the odd naming in the South might be the lack of infant baptism. On the other hand, the mid-19th century got a little wild in their naming.

Chad. Perfectly good biblical name.

#191 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Sometimes the combination of given and family names is far more interesting than either alone, such as that of my one-time co-worker Warren Pease. At the time, he and I were working as radio announcers. He consistently used his real name. On the air.

#192 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:02 PM:

Carrie S @ 189... That's the part where you topple John Travolta's car over.

#193 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Re: unfortunate names...

Last week my SO and I were sitting on a plane waiting to take off, when a flight attendant came on the PA looking for missing passengers. One of the names made us both chuckle:

Iona Trailer

My SO felt bad about laughing, and punched me when I pointed out what would happen if she married someone named Park.

#194 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:10 PM:

"How was the prom, Carrie?"

"It was really hot!"

#195 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:18 PM:

I had a student whose name was 'Lamonate' pronounced 'Lamontay'.

#196 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:34 PM:

The first time I saw Gina Kolata's byline at the NYT I thought her parents were nuts. Then I realized she was using her married name, and I thought that was evidence that Love Conquers All.

#197 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:36 PM:

P.J. Evans @190 Chad. Perfectly good biblical name. Indeed. Only avoid it if your last name is Smith; there are famous Chad Smith's all over the place, and at least one person I know gets teased about it, even though he's now a full-grown welder.

Names which, as a member of my generation and social class, I wish people would have used with more discretion and attention to commoness:

Sage
Raven
Dylan


#198 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Personally, I will disbelieve in the Lemonjello, Oranjello, and Shithead name stories (and related ones, like Vagina, Gonorrhea and Clitoris) unless and until I personally see documentary evidence. So far, I've always heard it in classic urban-legend format -- "I have this friend who knows this guy who swears....." Sometimes it's even been explicitly racist. "They don't even know how to name their kids." (That was a lovely conversation I overheard while trying to eat a peaceful lunch one day.)

In fact I put down Freakonomics in the bookstore precisely because it stated the Lemonjello/Oranjello story as fact (citing no evidence, of course).

/curmedgeonly

#199 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:45 PM:

I got given one grandfather's middle name (Henry) for mine after he refused to let me have Denys inflicted on me.

I don't like my first name all that much, but it has the singular advantage that nobody ever, ever misspells it - except, admittedly, by appending an extra three letters that I never use.

How about Ezekiel (Zeke - and that's the least feminine -el ending I ever saw) or Jeremiah (Jeremy, Jerry, Jer, Jez, or Remy)?

#200 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Steve C. #182: Any kid name Tycho should be given a telescope. And probably a silver and gold nose appliance. :-)

I think he'd probably prefer a Rogue Squadron insignia patch and a starfighter manufactured by Incom Corporation.

#201 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 01:57 PM:

People named Cleon should be grateful that Aristophanes is no longer read much in school.

#202 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:06 PM:

There was an athlete nemed Lemonjello - I can't remember if it was basketball or football. So I'll believe at least that much of that story.

#203 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:13 PM:

...Shithead name stories...always heard it in classic urban-legend format

I heard "Shithead" from a man who claimed to have met the child. But of course you don't know me. :)

Steve C @#194: I cannot tell you how much it peeves me that the two most famous fictional characters with my name are the one who killed her prom and the one who spent the price of a Manhattan apartment on shoes.

#204 ::: Strata Chalup ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:22 PM:

CNN was almost commentary-free, and certainly had no commentary during the quartet. While it meant that I didn't hear the latest gossip about all the folks entering the podium area beforehand, I definitely enjoyed just being able to watch and appreciate the event.

#205 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:24 PM:

earl,

I think the "infinite cruelty of peers" trumps "savvy kids don't let themselves be victims."

i wasn't saying that at all. i was saying that names are a relatively insignificant excuse for kids to get beat up in school (infinite cruelty can work around a "dave"...). i just cited a positive rather than a negative example. see also cat at 186.

#206 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:25 PM:

Mark Lemongello - he was a pitcher for the Astros. But that was his last name. (There is (or maybe was) also a Lemongello's restaurant in MD.)

I disbelieve the Lemonjello/Oranjello stories, although there were cartoon character twins named Lemongela and Orangela. (Can't remember what the cartoon was, but it was in the past decade or so - clearly based on the story, not vice versa.)

I have known twins named Crystal and Jewel (which was actually ok, since they went by Christie and Julie, and they're fine names by themselves, just a little silly when you knew them together) and Claude and Claudette, which makes me wonder if their parents really couldn't think of ANYthing else.

#207 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Linkmeister, #196: I used to know a guy with the last name of Teek, who said it was a family joke that his mother must really love his father, to have married him at all. You guessed it -- her name was Anne.

#208 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 03:01 PM:

My parents knew a couple named Les Hyman and Carolyn Abuser (I swear!). When they became engaged, they decided to omit the traditional engagement announcement in the paper, whose headline would have been the two last names connected by a hyphen. Either order was equally bad.

In support of the Britney effect mentioned above: I knew a kid in junior high whose mother gave him a name no one had ever heard of (at that time, around 1960), so that no one would make fun of him. She named him Kermit. He was a short kid with thick glasses, too.

I heard a story (i.e. grain of salt here) about a mother who named her child Onedar. "OH-ned-ar?" essayed the nurse. "That's WONDER," the mother angrily replied.

My oldest brother is named James Daniel (an apostle and an OT prophet). My next-oldest brother is named William Graham (yes, after HIM). I am named Christopher Jay, after no one in particular (though I have a famous namesake, my parents were unaware of him at the time). Guess where my dad dropped out of the Baptist Church?

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 03:04 PM:

I know one man whose first name is Orion. No, his father is not called Darkseid.

#210 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 03:07 PM:

I had a friend in high school who was named Brandi Alexander, poor girl. Fortunately most teenagers don't know the name of that particular drink.

Her brother was named Ryan and called Rye, and they had dogs called Gin and Tonic. One senses a theme.

#211 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 04:03 PM:

and Claude and Claudette, which makes me wonder if their parents really couldn't think of ANYthing else

I did personally know twins named Chaz and Charles, and John and Jack.

Do people just come up with one name, and when they find out they're having twins, just apply the name to both kids?

#212 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 04:14 PM:

A friend told me that in one place she lived, she had a Native American friend named Peter Tenpound. Of course in the phone book, with last name first, he was Tenpound Peter.

#213 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 04:17 PM:

I always recommend picking two names: a traditional, dignified, euphonious first name (easily convertible to a non-embarrassing nickname), and an unusual or unconventional middle name. That way the kid has a dignified default name for when they grow up and need to be taken seriously, but they're also equipped for wild adolescent rebellion. For example, Edward Stradivarius would be all set for a gothy phase.

#214 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 04:43 PM:

Names: one of my maternal great-grandmothers was named Marcia Almeda Rich. They called her Meta (with a long E). Then she married my great-grandfather, and became Meta Rich Mann. :)

I went to HS with twins named Tim and Tom; and a pair named Renee and Randy. My husband's brother named his oldest daughter Amber Lynn (yes, after the 'movie' star).

Boy names: Roger. Phillip (one or two ls, although that will probably require spelling help). Frederick. Benjamin.

#215 ::: Steff Z ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 04:54 PM:

Another possible boy's name for Cat: I once slightly knew a guy named Slate.

It implies strength, solidity, reliability, and straightforwardness. And it's not an especially dense rock, so the "rock=dumb" idea is downplayed. (Also, it implies the eons of time it takes in forming and metamorphosing sedimentary rocks, but that part does not seem pertinent.) And it's easily spelled!

Related names like Chert or Flint or Gneiss just don't seem as good. Mica is too easily misunderstood as Micah, Feldspar is too odd, and of course things like Garnet or Onyx would be girl's names.

#216 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 05:16 PM:

Xopher @ 208: The Oneders (same pronunciation and mispronunciation jokes) is the name of the band in the Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do. That doesn't mean that little Onedar is a myth but I suspect you might need more salt.

#217 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Ah, names becoming famous/popular. I've experienced this twice in my life. The first time - well, Olivia wasn't very popular as a given name when I was born, but then there was this movie in 1978 you may have heard of - "Grease". "Oh, like Olivia Newton-John?" people asked. "Yes" I would reply through gritted teeth. Still not too many girls actually being named Olivia, though.

And then more recently - maybe 8 years ago or so I started hearing my name called in the mall (this never happened before) - I'd turn around and it would be some mother chasing her toddler around. Two years ago it hit the top 5 on the Social Security list of given baby names - and they are everywhere!

At least my name was not trendy when I was born, though. My family has a history of doing that with girls names that didn't stay popular, which means that my grandparent's generation included Ruth, Gladys, and my great-aunt, Mildred.

#218 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Serge way back at #98, I have a cousin whose given name is "Chaudron", which was the family name of an illustrious ancestor of ours. She majored in French. Some of her Francophone acquaintances find her name very amusing (but it didn't deter one of them from marrying her).

ajay @ #109, if they'd had twins they could have named them Zubenelgenubi and Zubenesschamali. (While Googling for spelling help I found this.

#219 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 07:45 PM:

Lila @ 218... Chaudron? Oh my. I guess it sounds better in English than in French, as it means 'cauldron'.

"Goodness, Ma Kettle, you daughter Chaudron is really letting herself go to pots."

#220 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Names by marriage?

My mother was Chris Smith.

#221 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 09:09 PM:

oliviacw @ #217, as long as fans of the famous namesharer don't call you at 10:00pm Saturday nights for weeks on end. I share a last name with Justin Timberlake, and when N'Sync was hot it seemed like participants in every slumber party in town would look up people with his last name in the phone book and call looking for him.

Fortunately the fans have gotten older as he has, so that hasn't happened in quite a while.

#222 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Don't name the boy Barack. He won't be the only one, everyone will know when he was born, and I shudder to think of how many different ways parents will find to spell it.

#223 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:05 PM:

Just thought of something even worse... parents who are eager to name their boy after the new president, but then they have a girl instead. Barackia?

#224 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:10 PM:

Also, re unusual names, there's a cashier at my local grocery store whose name is Novelette.

And I went to school with twins named Wanda Sue and Rhonda Lou (they went by Wanda and Rhonda), and another pair of twins named Neyda (Nay-dah) and Neysa (Nee-sah).

#225 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:11 PM:

Last year at work I did some research on given names, ages, and genders. Tomorrow I'll look up some of the horrors I found. Offhand I can remember: Acquanette. Karrsunn. Clearance.

#226 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:16 PM:

Serge: not only does it mean "cauldron" in French, in Shakespearean English it means "entrails", as in "add thereto a tiger's chaudron/for the ingredients of our cauldron." (I don't know if anyone ever teased my cousin about that).

Allan @ #224, if the Obama fans had a girl they could name her Hope.

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:28 PM:

Lila @ 226... Entrails? Did you know that 'entrailles' in French can refer to a woman's womb? In Hail Mary's French version, Jesus is described as the fruit of her entrails.

#228 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Serge, no, I didn't know that, but I did know that in Latin you use "viscera" for both. ("Beata Virgo, cuius viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum....")

Allan, there was a '50s B-movie star whose screen name was Acquanetta.

#229 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:42 PM:

And in Yellowbeard the phrase is "prawn of my loins".

#230 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Lila, true, but in the AM it's "fructus ventris tui Jesus."

Hmm, that didn't come out right.

ARGH. Neither did that!

Anyway. "Ave Maria, gratia plena, dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus. Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis peccatoribus nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae."

From memory. Geez, and I'm not even a Catholic.

Yours is the tripla from "O magnum mysterium," isn't it? I think I recognize it.

#231 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 10:47 PM:

"There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubbs, and he almost deserved it."

I'm quite fond of Bryce, myself.

Adding to the unsolicited advice: One of my graduate advisors suggested that you should name your children something that sounds good after "The Right Honourable". I think Cat probably has this covered, but you do want to give your kids more 'formal' names from which diminutives can be created. My full name is Debbie (my parents were immigrants to the English-speaking world), and I don't have a middle name. I'm constantly telling people things like "Yes, that is my name as it appears in my passport." And when I was a grad student and the Provost addressed me as 'Debra,' I understood the impulse and wasn't about to correct him.

#232 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:01 PM:

Allan @ #223 I think the name Michelle will increase in popularity, rather than parents using Barackia.

#233 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:27 PM:

My mother's mother believed that every child should have three names to choose from: plain, fancy, and easily subdivided. My mother was Patricia Lois Jane (subdivided, fancy, plain) and she used Lois.

#234 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:35 PM:

Earl Cooley @ 229... prawn of my loins

"For the seafood lover in you," as the Red Lobster chain of restaurants used to say.

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:38 PM:

Lila @ 228...

Aquanetta was a b-rated movie actress (born as Mildred Davenport) in Ozone, Wyoming in 1921. She was nicknamed the "Venezualan Volcano" by Universal Studios.

Ozone?

#236 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:41 PM:

One of my favorite of the assumptions of what names really are was from Journalism 1. We were given "fact sheets" from which to write stories (starting with a one graf lead, and ending up at 6 graf stories, and no, we didn't use the spelling, "lede" which grates when I see it, but I digress).

So, the first of these was about one Billy Bradley, who had been valedictorian at her school. She was going on to City College, had been awarded a scolarship, planned to study engineering, was orphaned, nine years before; when her parents died in a fire, lived with her uncle; who was on disability. The scholarship was announced by the principal of the high school (and his name escapes me, though all the rest is fresh in my mind, some 22 years after the assignment).

When we turned it in we were given a list of all the ways in which people bollixed it (me, I managed to get 10 points extra credit, as I caught the highlights and didn't make any of the huge errors).

One of the more famous was, "William Bradley", because, "I thought he'd want his full name, not a nickname, in the paper".

#237 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:37 AM:

John Edwards' birth name seems to be "Johnny".

I wonder if this is the first time that both the president and vice-president have been the exact namesakes of their respective fathers? (Barack Hussein Obama II, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.-- actually, I have no idea what any previous exact paternal namesakes would've been, though of course there are the partial namesakes John Quincy Adams and That Other Guy.)

#238 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:45 AM:

Serge @ #235, Ozone, WY. Or at least, a bridge on the Lincoln Highway at Ozone.

From the Highway site: Carl Fisher (who built the Indianapolis Speedway and later drained the swamp that became Miami Beach)

called his idea the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway. The gravelled road would cost about ten million dollars, low even for 1912. Communities along the route would provide the equipment and in return would receive free materials and a place along America's first transcontinental highway. The highway would be finished in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition and would run from the exposition's host, San Francisco, to New York City.

The Internet can be highly informative; I'd never heard of the Lincoln Highway before. Maps of the route are at the site.

#239 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 03:17 AM:

Another unfortunate hyphenization. A couple I've been friends and occasionally coworkers with (and they're fairly well-known in the object-oriented software community, so a lot of people know about their names) were forced to choose Wirfs-Brock as their married name, for both of them, because the reverse might have given the impression they made sausage for a living.

#240 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 07:43 AM:

My college graduated a woman with the given name of Latrina (I was present when her named was called out at graduation, I may still have the listing with her name somewhere). What her parents were thinking I do not want to contemplate.

#241 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 08:32 AM:

Fragano @240:
What her parents were thinking I do not want to contemplate.

At the time of her graduation, I am sure they were flushed with pride.

#242 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 09:05 AM:

Xopher @ #230, yep, that's it. I memorized it from Daniel Pinkham's Christmas Cantata.

#243 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Oh, crap! abi beat me to it!

#244 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Fragano @ 240...

"You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Toilette Zone!"

#245 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Ginger@243

Another opportunity gone down the drain...

#246 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:48 AM:

Lila: Oh, then I'm not sure it's a tripla in that context. I've sung Victoria's setting a few times, and I was referring to that.

#247 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Unusual names: I've known both a December and an October (both female).

Instead of Barackia, they could use Obama. Ends in 'a', obviously a girl's name, right? But I think Magenta is right about Michelle instead.

#248 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:59 AM:

240: I understand her dissertation was thoroughly absorbent.
("You mean absorbing?")
I know what I mean.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Ginger @ 243... Are we on a roll? I sink so.

#250 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 11:50 AM:

It's probably unfair of us to take the piss...

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:04 PM:

I feel bowled over.

#252 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:17 PM:

abi @ 250... Ewww. You've now throne the conversation into pissarray.

#253 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:29 PM:

Tempting as the cesspool of latrine puns is, I must continue to toil at my job.

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Xopher @ 253... I must continue to toil at my job

...until you're too pooped to keep going?

#255 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:42 PM:

248 et seq: What a mess! We're just letting things pile up here. Man,ure all good at this. Well, I wash my hands of this topic*.

*For now.

#256 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:43 PM:

Or too pissed (American sense). Or I've been sitting in this chair to the point of peristalsis. I work as an anal-yst, and I'm bladder than any other analyst around: and there's a colon for you. People call in saying the software's a piece of shit, and I figure out how to rectify the problem.

Usually I'm quiet as the Sphinx, but some days are sphincter than others. (OK, YOU try to work 'sphincter' into a pun chain!)

#257 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Xopher @ 256: I'm afraid that's a tight squeeze there.

#258 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:49 PM:

I'm dealing with someone else's Word document, and the thought of getting pissed (British sense) is highly appealing right now.

Xopher: I sphincter doing a good job. Don't get bogged down in the details.

#259 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:54 PM:

Xopher:

Obviously, it can only appear at the end....

#260 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 12:58 PM:

You guys are the life of the potty. :)

#261 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 02:27 PM:

abi & Ginger: Such crappy responses from both of you! I wouldn't have expected it. And cabinets of ease do not flush.

#262 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 02:33 PM:

I've known (in the sense of encountered, or been acquainted with) women named Nova, Novia, and Novelette. Perhaps, someday, I could make a novella out of that.

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Would the love child of Martin Short and Liz Story be called Hugo?

#264 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 03:15 PM:

Serge @ 263 --

Would the love child of Martin Short and Liz Story be called Hugo?

Yes. Unfortunately, he ends up Lost.

#265 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 03:32 PM:

re 262: Six more and you'd have a novena.

#266 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 03:46 PM:

Graeme is just a variation of Graham. It is very uncommon in the US, although reasonably common in the UK. Graeme is always having to spell it here, and once we had a AC repairman show up with a bill for Grakne.

As for giving kids names that are good for grownups but can be shortened - my father wanted to name me Candy. No, not Candace. Candy. My mother was NOT having it. She told him he could pick any old fashioned name he wanted, and then call me by a nickname, but my birth certificate would not read Candy Huber. So Elizabeth it was, and oddly, I never went by any of the nicknames for it. Also, I don't actually like Eclairs.

#267 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 05:06 PM:

Marilee @#233: Well, the ultimately subdivisible girl's name is Elizabeth. For my own part, I've got a middle name that could easily be a spare first name (Michael).

Cat: Hey, it doesn't actually have to be a relative of that generation!

Month names: I once met a woman named September. Odd that most month names read as feminine to English-speakers. August might be an exception, but even there, I'd tend to prefer Augustus. Likewise Janus and Julius (the latter being my stepfather's name).

Julie L. #237: Well, that couldn't have happened in my family -- Jews don't name kids after living relatives. The closes we've come was my nephew Stephen, who was born the year after his namesake (my father) died.

I note that Barack just means "blessed" -- I'm sure every tradition/language has something to correspond, though the Latinate version (Beata or Beatrix and variants) is feminine.

Bruce Cohen @#239: I know one couple whose first and last names were such that neither surname nor any hyphenation would go with both first names. They wound up calling for suggestions from the mailing-list I knew them from (and got a perfectly good one!).

Hmm... A lot of elements would make decent names, some in Latin form... Hmm, the "-ium" metals and the halogens mostly read as female to me. Carbon wouldn't be too bad, iron would be Ferris, Cobalt, Nickel, and Copper sound decent, and most of the noble gases would be OK. (Krypton, of course, has been co-opted by pop-culture.) Tungsten fails the spelling test but would otherwise be Ok. Mercury (or Hermes), natch... Bismuth? Resorting to Latin, we could add Argent and Aure(li)us, and tin (stannus) would be Stanley.

#268 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 05:20 PM:

Ah, Benedict is "blessed", pretty close to a make version of "Beatrice".

#269 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 05:20 PM:

Bah, "make"->"male".

#270 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 05:32 PM:

David @ #267, I know a couple who blended their surnames instead of hyphenating, so their kids ended up with a reasonable-length surname. (Helfman + Meyer > Helfmeyer)

"Nickel" and "Copper" both sound like dogs' names to me (cf. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof": "Honey, why do you give all your children dogs' names?"--the names in question being Trixie, Dixie and Buster, iirc).

#271 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 05:38 PM:

Cat - you're welcome to some of the men's names from my family (a few generations back) - choose from Arville, Green, Hamon, Zoy, Fletcher, Fred, Mack, and Frank. (The girls' name weren't as memorable, from that branch, anyway. The branch that contained Talitha, Swansee, and Icee was pretty cool, though.)

And oliviacw @ 217 - I had a grandmother who went by Gladys (first name Mary), with a sister named Mildred. But my great aunt Ruth is on the other side of the family, so I guess we aren't related.

#272 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 07:56 PM:

C. Wingate #265: I was brought up C of R, not RC. I don't think of such things. (*adopting pious look*)

#273 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 07:56 PM:

For C of R above read C of E. Fingers fat, brain slow.

#274 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 09:32 PM:

Sewage you get when you start making toilet puns!

#275 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 10:14 PM:

Sharon M @ #271, I kind of like Fletcher, though the only person I've met who had it as a given name was female.

#276 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 11:24 PM:

Allan Beatty @ 274... 'Sewage', eh? I like it!

#277 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 11:51 PM:

I hope the habit of latrine jokes doesn't become too entrenched.

#278 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 12:07 AM:

Lila @ 224 wrote: twins named Neyda (Nay-dah) and Neysa (Nee-sah)

One of my sisters is named "Naida", pronounced the same way as the Neyda you cite. One of my dad's cousins had named her daughter that, and my parents liked the name. But hers was the only uncommon name in our family in our generation.

In my case "Lois" comes from my mom's middle name, which was chosen by her older sisters when Mom was born; in 1918 it was apparently fairly trendy. So it's not true that I'm named for Superman's Significant Other, although my middle name, Aleta, does come from Prince Valiant's S.O. (Again, my folks just liked the name.)

Faren Miller @ 177 noted that her mother's name is Aleta. May I ask how your family pronounces that? Mine says "a-LEH-ta" but I've also heard of at least one Aleta who says "a-LEE-ta."

I sometimes get my first name transmogrified into "Louis" or "Louise" or "Luis". This seems to also be true for other people named Lois, but I only have a small sample for reference since it's no longer a common name. But I do find "like Superman's girlfriend" a useful explanation. If I suspect the person might be familiar with the New
Testament I might mention that "Lois" is in the Bible -- St. Timothy's grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5)-- and is not a variant of Louise, as many people (and even some baby-name books) seem to believe.

I am kind of waiting for "Olive" to spin off of the trendiness of "Olivia." Not only does it also have a comics reference (Popeye's girlfriend), and a Biblical reference (Mount of ...), it's a common name in my family tree. My only still-living aunt is named Olive, apparently chosen because both her parents had sisters named Olive. A few years ago the couple on the TV show named their daughter after one of my other aunts, Mabel.

#279 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 02:01 AM:

Sharon M @271 - nope, in my case Mildred and Ruth were the sisters, and Gladys on the other side. Gladys also had two sisters, Beatrice and Virginia - somewhat more timeless names.

Lois @278 - my favorite boss ever was named Lois. I never heard her complain of people calling her Louise, but then she isn't the type to complain about that sort of thing.

#280 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 02:09 AM:

Lois @ 278: "I am kind of waiting for 'Olive' to spin off of the trendiness of 'Olivia.'"

Or, for those fond of classic New Orleans style sandwiches, the macerated version of the young lady's name could be rendered as "Muffuletta".

#281 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 05:18 AM:

Lois Fundis #278: I am kind of waiting for "Olive" to spin off of the trendiness of "Olivia." Not only does it also have a comics reference (Popeye's girlfriend), and a Biblical reference (Mount of ...), it's a common name in my family tree.

...and also the name of an honorary reindeer.

#282 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 08:04 AM:

Lois Fundis #278: In Galician Lois is a male name (it's the Galician form of Luis), and the small revival of Galician names since 1975 has meant that there are a few male Loises around along with the Xosés, Xohans, Xurxos, Anxos, and Bieitos.

#283 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 10:55 AM:

Lois Fundis, #278: My mother's name is pronounced A-LEE-ta. (I think that's the way they spoke the name of the pop culture "queen of the misty isles" as well.)

A Phoenix TV weatherman/anchorman (good looking in a classy sort of way, so he's moving up in the broadcasting world though he still does some weather) is named Sean but pronounces it as SEEN. Is that how the name is going these days?

#284 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 12:04 PM:

Obamamaniacs spawning girl children have great choices - I'm betting that taken together, there will be just as many Sasha/Malia/Michelles in this kid's class as there will be Barack/Obamas. (And that number will be large.) But I wouldn't do it - maybe for a grandchild's name, but naming a child one of those things now would just be... hasty.

Oliviacw - Huh. I doubt we're related, but I have a Ruth/Mildred set in the grandparental generation too. (I have an Aunt Ruth named after the Ruth, but nobody took up the Mildred banner. I do kind of like Millie, but I'd be more likely to give it to a pet than a kid. But she could go by Dred during her rebellious phase, and that would be pretty fantastic.)

#285 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Lila @ 275: well, the Fletcher in my family was named about 100 years ago. Lots of male names from that time period swing both ways now.

The only really interesting names from the other side are August and his brother Joseph Vladamir. (I was hoping for Vladamir as a nephew's name - who's going to stead Vlad's lunch money? Nobody, that's who! But they went with Michael.)

And my grandmother went by Lois, but she signed her paintings with her given name, Anna Louise.

#286 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 04:43 PM:

I like 'Taylor' as a first name for a boy or a girl. (I blame Charlton Heston for that.)

#287 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 05:13 PM:

I have a bit of a curmudgeonly antipathy towards regular names with idiosyncratic spellings. One time I listed to the analyst sitting behind me talking to a user who's name on the help desk ticket was spelled Ivone. The analyst said, hesitantly, "Is this ... eye-voney?"

Frosty voice from the phone: "That's ee-vahn."

Yvonne, dammit. Like in Yvonne de Carlo.

#288 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 06:50 PM:

Steve, #287: That sounds to me like an inverse gazebo error* on the part of the parents.

* A gazebo error is not knowing how a word is pronounced because you've only seen it in print. An inverse gazebo error is not knowing how a word is spelled because you've only heard people say it.

#289 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Lee @ #288, is gazebo error just your term or does it come from somewhere? 'Cause I've made a few of those (misled comes to mind), and it would be interesting to see the origin and derivation.

#290 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Caroline @ 211: Do people just come up with one name, and when they find out they're having twins, just apply the name to both kids?

Not an urban legend, I saw the personnel record with my own eyes: father named Curt, children named Curt Jr., Curtis, Curtessa, and Curtessina.

#291 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 08:55 PM:

Tim Walters @ #290, there was the curious case of George Foreman, the boxer: "Foreman has 10 children, and each of his five sons is named George: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI."

#292 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 10:05 PM:

Linkmeister, #238: I grew up about three blocks away from the Lincoln Highway, which ran right through my old hometown. The street is still called "Lincoln Way" and is the main Geography-of-Nowhere strip-mall drag.

#293 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 11:59 PM:

Linkmeister @ 291: May as well just go back to the Roman tradition of numbering the children at that point.

ObLatinTexts: It just occurs to me after all these years that I only remember Quintus having a sister. Does anyone know what happened to the other kids?

#294 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 01:07 AM:

Linkmeister, #289: Sorry, I thought everyone here would be at least tangentially familiar with the tale of Eric and the Gazebo. My partner and I have always been convinced that Eric had probably seen the word "gazebo", but had never heard anyone say it, and so had it firmly in his head that it was pronounced GAZE-bo. We've been using the phrase "gazebo error" for a while now, but I just came up with "inverse gazebo error" on that comment.

#295 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 01:19 AM:

Lee @ #294, Ah! Funny story, and not one I've ever seen before (I've never been a gamer). Now I know, and I admit to being a perpetrator of same a few times. Every time I get proud of my language skills I merely have to say myzled to remind myself that those who are poorly led are misled. Knocks me right down.

#296 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 01:27 AM:

Here's a more legible form of the Eric story.

It reminds me of a joke played on me once by my father: he spelt a string of five or six Scottish names which all began with Mac, asked me to pronounce them, and then spelt m-a-c-h-i-n-e and asked me to pronounce it. Got me.

#297 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 02:11 AM:

The DM there was cheating. Eric's character would have known what the object was, but not its name. It's unfair not to describe what he sees, but just name it, especially given that it was obvious he didn't understand from about the second line.

#298 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 02:19 AM:

Steve C... Lee... A gazebo error sounds like something out of Girl Genius.

#299 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 02:22 AM:

Linkmeister @ 296

There's a character in James Blish' They Shall Have Stars (by story chronology the first of the "spindizzy" stories) whose name is MacHinery. He's corrupt politician.

#300 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 02:23 AM:

I may be late, but the puntry is not bare:

"Bidet, bidet, bidet, that's all folks!"

#301 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 02:33 AM:

Cat @284 - See, I said that Ruth and Mildred were popular in the time. Definitely we are not related unless you are operating under a complete pseudonym! My progenitors have generally not been prolific childbearers, and I can count all of my cousins (first and second) on one hand. I remain in awe of people who talk about large family reunions.

On another topic, my personal gazebo error was with the word "melancholy". I had heard it said, and seen it written, but never connected "mell-anch-oly" with "melon-colly".

#302 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 05:04 AM:

Keith@ 293: Ah, I remember reading about Quintus' brothers recently (probably googling Dr Who).

Wikipedia says the real Caecilius had two sons - Quintus and Sextus, and suggests the first four sons didn't survive to adulthood.

I don't remember a sister in the Cambridge books - I'm pretty sure our teacher made up one for our all female class. A sister was also invented for the Dr Who episode. And poor Sextus seems to have missed entirely on being fictionalised.

#303 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 08:30 AM:

Mildred had a spike in popularity in the late 1800s-early 1900s. My grandmother (one of the aforementioned Meta's daughters) was Mildred Muriel, born in 1891. [The other daughters were Rachel, Dorothea, Bernice, and Margaret (called Peggy). There were three Mildreds in the extended (to second cousins) family when she was a teen. Then again, as Meta had six siblings (full and half) who survived to adulthood and seven sets of first cousins, the extended family was pretty large.

Oddly enough, the only name that was duplicated by marriage was Bernice -- brother Fred married a girl named Bernice, so they pronounced them differently (Fred & BURR-niss; ber-NEESE never married (one of the WWI lost generation)).

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 09:47 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 300...

"Some just crawled out of my bidet."
- Jason King to Room Service after finding a spy in his hotel bathroom.

#305 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 01:08 PM:

Ah, potty humour. The tears flow, the drinks spurt, and the co-workers stare.

On names: Vlad always adds an air of authority (or authoritarianism). I also like girly-girl names that can be shortened to more masculine names if said daughter chooses e.g. Charlotte (Charlie), Francesca (Frankie), Georgina (George etc...). We named ours Charlotte, Maxwell, and Evelyn. All awesome in my unbiased opinion.

#306 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 01:18 PM:

Tim Walters @ 290: Oh dear.

(If anyone wants documentary proof of Chaz and Charles and John and Jack, I could theoretically scan the yearbook pages, once I dig them out of the Box of Archives in my old room at my parents' house.)

#307 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Aquila @ 302:

Going by rusty memories and Google's preview, It looks like we used the Oxford Latin Course rather than the Cambridge one. The Oxford one follows a somewhat fictionalized account of Horace, who is also Quintus, and they gave him a sister. Probably similar reasons why the other kids don't make a showing, though.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled thread drift, as opposed to its complete hijacking.

#308 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 02:23 PM:

Yep, my grandmother was born in 1902. Her sister (I want to say 1898) was Stella. My grandmother got to see somehing I probably shan't; see Halley's comet in the sky, twice.

#309 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:02 PM:

I remember going "Ahah! when I realized why Thunderbirds's Jeff Tracy had called his 5 sons Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John. Kind of obvious, come to think of it, even though it took me years.

#310 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:15 PM:

Serge @ 309 -

I felt like a total doofus when I was told (by Ben Stiller, of all people, in a Trek special) that Mr. Atoz, the librarian in "All Our Yesterdays" was so named for A to Z. How did I not realize that?

#311 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Steve @310:
Mr. Atoz, the librarian in "All Our Yesterdays" was so named for A to Z

Is he? Huh. Never realized that.

Serge @309:
[*]

#312 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:22 PM:

Abi... I see the asterisk, but where's the footnote?

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:23 PM:

Steve C @ 310... Ben Stiller is a trekkie? As for Mister Atoz... Groan.

#314 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Serge @ 313 -- apparently Stiller really loved the show. The special was a 30th anniversary salute to the show that was taped in 1996, and I caught a rerun of it on one of the cable channels.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:35 PM:

Steve C @ 314... It's not that it surprises me that he is. It's nice to get a confirmation of how many of us there are out there. That's one reason why I'm looking forward to Mister Scott being played by Simon Pegg, fan of Star Trek and of Doctor Who.

#316 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:37 PM:

Serge @312:

Can't remember where Teresa explained it, but [*] means "explanation please?" It's the ASCII equivalent of a card that got held up at panels at some convention or other.

In other words, where's the footnote?

In your next comment? Please?

#317 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Abi @ 316... If Jeff Tracy had had 2 more sons, they'd have had to be called Wally and Deke. Put another way... They're all named after Mercury astronauts.

#318 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Serge @317:

Thanks; the names rang no bells for me.

Useful, though, for a test set sometime. (I use lists of names for test sets: the Seven Dwarves, the Nine Walkers, the Nine Princes of Amber, the crew of Serenity, the Endless—that sort of thing).

#319 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Abi @ 318... Yes, that would be a good test question:

Scott Carpenter
Virgil 'Gus' Grissom
Alan Sheppard
Gordon Cooper
John Glenn

And here are their wooden counterparts.

#320 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 04:03 PM:

The Cambridge Latin didn't have a sister apparently but did have a slave girl called Melissa - or at least so says the font of all wisdom upstairs. I confess I thought there was a sister.

Other charecters were Grumio the cook and Clemens the slave.

#321 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Serge @ 319 - one of my most prized possessions is an autographed 8 x 10 of the Mercury 7 in their space suits.

And somewhere at home I have a scan of a photo of myself, my brother, and John Glenn standing in front of Glenn Elementary school in San Antonio. It was taken in 1964, when I was 11.

#322 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 04:38 PM:

C.J. Cherryh's azi are so called because they're the "A-Z noncitizen classifications" of Union. Once I realized that, I started pronouncing the word to rhyme with 'daisy' instead of like the name of a certain heavy metal musician.

L. Frank Baum named Oz after the O-Z file drawer in his office. The idea that it's short for Australia is apocryphal, amusing, and refuted by the books.

#323 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Steve C @ 321... Wow. One of my wife's sisters was born just as John Glenn was taking off for his historical flight. My sis-in-law got a letter from Glenn a few years ago when someone in the family wrote to him. Nobody ever thought of calling her Glenda though.

(I took me a long time to stop being mad at myself for missing that panel at 1983's worldcon that had Gordo Cooper and Chuck Yeager on it.)

#324 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 04:54 PM:

I'm pretty sure that Mr. Atoz' name is explained somewhere in the episode. IIRC, Spock figures it out.

#325 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 07:08 PM:

I was waited on today by a cashier whose name was "Latrina"--at least that's what her name tag said.

#326 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 08:14 PM:

Lila #325: So there are at least two Latrinas in Georgia (the one at my school was awarded an MSW, so I doubt she was your cashier).

#327 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 11:28 PM:

abi, #316, it was a Minicon where Teresa and other interesting folk were on a panel just to talk. When folks in the audience had a question, they held up a sheet of paper with an asterisk on it. This moved to rec.arts.sf.fandom as [*]. (I have a feeling this was the one where Jo was GoH and her Tam Lin play was read.)

#328 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2009, 12:23 AM:

Marilee @#327: Jon Singer has invented an asterisk gesture to use instead of a card - demonstrated here by Will Shetterly.

#329 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2009, 11:26 PM:

Mary Dell, #328, I know at least five of those people -- is that Minicon? I don't go to panels much anymore, and I'm not going to the con at all this year. I just can't afford it.

#330 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 06:23 AM:

Marilee@327: You are correct. Minicon 36, in 2001, to be precise.

#331 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2009, 12:21 AM:

David, #330, nice to be right! I hear they're actually performing the play at Boskone! I hope someone takes a good video we can buy.

#332 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 10:32 PM:

Just saw an ad for "Southwest Airlines' Yes You Can Sale."

Sigh.

#333 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 11:17 PM:

#109:
Being named Andromeda would be a strain.

#334 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 11:50 PM:

The younger sister of a girl I knew in high school was named Jocasta (called Jokey when at home). That always seemed to me as bad as naming someone Medea. I mean either way, the person you're named after was doing something she shouldn't to her kid.

#335 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 12:09 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ #334: Have you seen a "The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler"? There was a wonderful production in Ashland last year. The action is set in an afterlife for fictional characters. Hedda, Medea, and Medea's children all live in the same area. Medea seems like a lovely person, but her kids are a bit skittish...

#336 ::: Dave Bell sees spam here and all over the place ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 04:10 AM:

Spammers out in force @336 and in other threads.

#337 ::: praisegod barebones comments on previously sighted SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 07:28 AM:

Dave Luckett 337 -All spamming the same thing, apparently.

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