Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adolph Hitler is NOT a Good Namesake

I’m not sure whether to file this under the “Oh. My. God.” or the “WTF?” category. While writing yesterday’s blog, I was thinking of other general names that would lead to lives of crime. I Googled things like “serial killers” and “felon names.” I even read through the current Clark County Jail roster to see if there were any trends. FYI, there are 26 Michaels currently residing in the local lockup. The second most common name was John with 15. I reiterate that Mike is not a good name if you want your child to be law-abiding.

Imagine my surprise when I read the paper this morning. “Couple who named son Adolf Hitler set off birthday cake brouhaha.” First of all, kudos to the headline writer for incorporating the word brouhaha into an headline. How many times do you think that gets to happen? Now, on to the madness.

One would think that I wouldn’t have to point out that naming your kid Adolf Hitler would be a bad idea. However, I obviously underestimated the sheer stupidity of a family in Holland Township, New Jersey. Here’s the article from The Columbian: http://www.columbian.com/article/20081217/APA/812170528

At first, I thought this kid’s parents were just stupid. According to the article, the father, Heath Campbell, named his son Adolf Hitler Campbell because he liked the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.” Well, of course except for freaking ADOLF HITLER ! ! ! I thought that the New Jersey school system had failed this man in educating him to the atrocities to humanity and the world that Hitler committed. Adolf wasn’t all that uncommon of a name until the whole Third Reich, World War II, Holocaust blip in the history of the world made people not want to have their children associated with one of the worst people in recorded history. After further research (isn’t the internet amazing?), I realize that it’s not just stupidity with these parents. There is a whole underlying racist, neo-Nazi fascination thing going on. It’s not just liking the name and wanting a name that no one else has. (Okay, to his credit, there will be no other Adolf Hitler Campbells in the world because I like to think that there is only one set of parents that freaking stupid.) Check out this article: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/today/index.ssf/2008/12/holland_township_family_angry.html

Little Adolf has siblings. Those siblings are named, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeanie Campbell. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t change the spelling of their last name, so they could have a bunch of kids with KKK for their initials. Maybe I shouldn’t be giving them any ideas.

Here’s a picture of Little Adolf. Note the long hair bordering on mullet. These people must hate their children in order to torture them like this. Obviously they are looking for some attention. Who puts their full kid’s name on a birthday cake to begin with? Who names their child Adolf Hitler? MORONS. Absolute stupid, idiotic, morons. Who allowed these people to breed? Will someone PLEASE call the New Jersey version of Child Protective Services and get those children out of that home. Else they face a dark future. When little Adolf goes to school, he will be mocked. His little classmates will make his life a living hell. Unless of course Heath and idiot wife Deborah home school their little aryan babies. Then they will grow up to be social misfits who end up living with a militia in unpopulated areas of Montana. Another bright future for little Adolf is that at age 17, he will realize that his horrible life is the fault of his parents, and he’ll buy a gun on the street and shoot his parents before going on some kind of mall or school shooting frenzy. After he either kills himself or gets killed in a gun fight with police, others will reflect that maybe naming him Adolf wasn’t such a good idea.

I wish you luck Adolf Hitler Campbell. You will need it. P.S. Run away as soon as you can.

Baby Naming Tip #4:

Don’t name your kid Adolf Hitler. Period.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Juvenile Delinquency 101

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo & Juliet II.ii.1-2).

When I teach Romeo & Juliet to my freshmen, we spend some time talking about names and whether our personalities are partially determined by our names. I don’t seem much like a Jennifer, but I do make a pretty good Jen. I’m sure you’ve met people who are practically personifications of their names. And there are people whose names don’t fit them at all. I believe that there is definitely a correlation between your first name and your personality though. With this in mind, it is important for people to recognize that some names, especially some boy names, lend themselves to a questionable future.

I’m a teacher; I’m a teacher of teenagers. As all teachers know, there are certain names that are “ruined” for us because we’ve had a kid in our class who has been annoying, talkative, disruptive, out of control, a behavior issue, a referral-in-waiting for pretty much their entire time in our classroom. Because of these students, teachers will never name their children certain names. Names like Nick. Now, Nicholas is a perfectly decent name. I have known a few Nicks who are pretty nice guys. However, decent Nicks are few and far between. The vast majority of Nicks in the world are going to grow up to spend some time in the clink. I’m not saying EVERY Nick is destined to have his own mug shot, just a good portion of them. Nick is not a name that a teacher will name their own child.

Actually, there is a trend that holds true with names like Nick. Single syllable names with a “k” sound usually don’t bode well. Mike, Jake, Kyle, and Chris are all common names. However, their teachers will cringe when they read their names on their class rosters. Especially if they are all in the same class…as freshmen…6th period. Welcome to a teacher’s nightmare.

As I was thinking of Juvenile Delinquent names, I decided to check out a baby name website, and look up some K names. I came across two really disturbing names. Kane. Yes, Kane. I know some people are all into the Biblical name thing, but this is taking it too far. I want to name my child a name that sounds exactly like, oh what was that guy’s name in the Bible? Cain. That’s right. What did he do? Oh, that’s right, he committed the first murder according to the Bible. Fratricide on Aisle One please, can I get a fratricide on Aisle One. If that wasn’t enough, the only person I can think of who is named Kane is the guy who played Jason Voorhees in a bunch of the Friday the 13th movies. That’s the kind of goals children should have. Either become a killer, or play one on TV.

The other name that made me raise my eyebrow in a questioning manner was Kaz. Now this particular baby name site has this feature where if you move the pointer over the name, a box pops up with the meaning of the name and its origin. Kaz, apparently, is a shortened version of Cassius. Cassius? Really? For those who have NOT been in sophomore English yet, I’ll let you in on a little character analysis of Julius Caesar. Cassius is the bad guy. He’s the one who gets Brutus to betray Caesar, gets a bunch of Romans to kill Caesar all because he’s jealous that Caesar has more power than he does. Like Cain or Kane, Cassius is not someone you want to be naming your child after.

Baby Naming Tip #3:

Unless you want to visit your grown child via Plexiglas window and direct phone connection, don’t go with a one-syllable name with a K in it somewhere.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time (2008 Edition) Part III

Songs that simply suck six ways to Sunday. (How’s that for some alliteration?)

These songs are simply bad on all fronts. The lyrics are either stupid, clichĂ©, or just plain annoying. The music is the kind of bad that gets stuck in your head thus prolonging the suckiness. The singing—while not necessarily fingernails on chalkboard caliber—usually is bad enough to make one change the dial if possible.

4. “A Baby Changes Everything” Faith Hill
Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8illRJRmN8

This song is a vague allusion to the story of the virgin Mary. In reality, I think Faith is really telling her own story. A baby changes everything when you’re on tour and you’re boinking the guy for whom you’re opening, and you get knocked up (oops!). Of course two quick break-ups from the people to whom you are already engaged, a quick “storybook” wedding, and you become ½ of country music’s favorite couple. They were married in October of 1996, and kiddo number one was born in May of 1997. You do the math. A baby does indeed change everything. It sure boosted Faith Hill’s career. However, a baby doesn’t make this song un-suck. I also love videos that are basically the filming of the song recording. Wow. That’s original. At least it was back in the late 80s. Not so much anymore. What, are you too cheap to actually make a video? Maybe all of that money went to covering up the affair and pre-marital adult relations.

3. “Dear Mr. Jesus” Sharon Batts
Only watch if you have a railroad spike and a hammer, so you can pound it in your ear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WahoiexXGEo

I only heard about this recently, and I actually haven’t heard it on the radio. The song was originally released in the late 1980s, so I’m thankful that for 20 years, I was spared from listening to it. This is another one of those songs that really isn’t a Christmas song, per se, it’s more like a song that has some kind of “message” and thus is played during the holiday season. I like to consider “Dear Mr. Jesus” as the Christmas edition of Suzanne Vega’s “Luka.” I wonder if they both live on the second floor. I swear that the kid singing sounds just like the kid from Poltergeist. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s another child singing. Still not cute. Still just annoying. Does anyone else suspect that this extremely young child is being exploited? Either that or she’s getting paid in Teddy Grahams. Anyhow, the gist of the song is a child sees a case of child abuse on the television and asks Mr. Jesus to help stop the pain of children by pleading, “don’t let them hurt your children.” Later in the song, the child states, “don’t tell daddy, but mommy hits me too.” So mommy hits her in addition to daddy hitting her, like it’s some kind of competition? Seriously though, child abuse is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Child abuse is also a lot easier to curb than people realize. However, I ask, what has this song done to actually prevent child abuse. Absolutely nothing. It’s a song. It’s a bad song at that. We’re not talking “Feed the World” or “Do They Know it’s Christmas Time?” or even “Goodbye, England’s Rose” where the proceeds all go to a specific charity which in turn benefits those less fortunate. I think Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA commercial about helping abused and neglected animals has done a lot more than Dear Mr. Jesus. A dog with an eye missing? Kittens in cages? Those are some low blows there, Sarah McLachlan. But it worked. I sent my check. In the grander scheme of things, it makes me wonder where Dear Mr. Jesus stands in songs for a cause. Are proceeds from the song being spent on parenting classes or respite care? Probably not. Do we have to suffer while listening to this horrible song? Afraid so. Are we made to feel guilty because there are idiots out there who hit kids? Yes. Does that piss me off? Absolutely! I guess I’m not sure what the purpose the song is supposed to serve. If it is to annoy and irritate, then it has succeeded.

2. “The Christmas Shoes” Newsong
If you must: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNsvE33pRSw

Did you know there is a movie based on this song? Or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, double dose of crap. The sad thing is the movie stars Kimberly Williams-Paisley. I was wondering whatever happened to her after she played the daughter in both of the Father of the Bride movies and married Brad Paisley. I expect this kind of movie poo from Rob Lowe (who also stars in the Christmas Shoes film debacle), but Kimberly? Why, Kimberly, why?

This song is another total holiday downer. Maybe I’m being selfish by wanting some auditory holiday cheerfulness during the season, but I don’t want to hear the most depressing Christmas song in the history of recorded music. I know that this time of year we are supposed to reflect on those who are less fortunate, and I do exactly that. Actually, it doesn’t take Christmas for me to help my fellow humans. I donate to charities. I volunteer. Heck, I even donate blood. All on a regular basis. None of this I-feel-guilty-for-spending-a-fortune-on-my-relatives-whom-I-actually-hate-so-I’m-going-to-toss-some-change-into-the-Salvation-Army’s-red-kettle crap. I do my part 12 months of the year, so I don’t need some whiney song about a kid wanting to buy shoes for his dying mother trying to make me feel guilty. What’s next? A parade of kids with cancer and three-legged dogs?

Also, and this really bothers me, does anyone else think that a new pair of shoes is like the stupidest gift in the universe, especially for your dying mother? (Hello? She’s barely hanging on to life. Is she going to start dancing a little two step because sonny-boy bought her some shoes? I think not.) Unless of course the kid is really planning ahead. If he’s thinking things through, he can return the shoes after mom kicks the bucket (what, she's going to wear them out on her deathbed?), and then he can use the money to buy something for himself, like a video game. I think a little Grand Theft Auto or Left 4 Dead would help the kid forget about how much his life sucks because his mom died. But if the kid is determined to get something for his mom that she will actually use. How about spending time with her? Or maybe a nice scrapbook documenting your favorite moments you have spent with dearest dying mom? That would be a good gift. Plus you wouldn’t have to cry and get some cranky guy to pony up five bucks to pay for the stupid shoes.

Aside from the depressing content of the song, it commits the fatal error of incorporating a freaking children’s choir to sing the chorus for part of the song. Children should not sing! Re-read the above section if that is already not clear to you.

And the number one Worst Christmas and Holiday Song of All Time…

1. “Christmas in the Northwest” Brenda White
Here’s a video from some people with some extra time on their hands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koeB4z4c_7M

What started off as a charity event, I believe, has become the Christmas song played ad nauseum for two solid months in the northwest. Here’s the kicker though, it’s more of a Portland-Metro kind of thing. In college, I was ranting (shocking, I know) about Christmas in the Northwest and all of its “might be a rainy night” crap, and my friends from the east side of the state and the Seattle area had no clue what I was talking about.

This song grates with its, ooh, look how wonderful the northwest is. Sure, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., but it doesn’t mean we have to brag about it. And I’m sorry, but the line, “take away the presents, we’ll still have a tree” is simply lame. Sure, a dead tree because it was chopped down. I love a real Christmas tree, but I don’t consider it a “gift God wrapped in green.”

Now, if you have some history at Prairie, where I teach, you know my personal relationship with this song. My very first year teaching (back in 2003), my students were working on a project, and they asked if we could listen to the radio station playing Christmas music 24/7. I obliged, and of course Christmas in the Northwest came up and I went off. Seriously ranted for a good 10 minutes. Then I went on about the Christmas Shoes song and all of its vomit-inducing horridness. I actually had a student comment a few days later that she heard this horrible Christmas song, and she figured if must be the Christmas Shoes song. The next year, the same topic came up with my next batch of freshmen. One student admitted to having a choreographed interpretive dance routine to Christmas in the Northwest. They performed it for the class at some point in time. Fast forward to their senior year (last year). Our school has a tradition of Winter Wishes, where students each make a wish, and the ASB does their best to grant as many as they can. This group of now-seniors wished to do the interpretive dance to Christmas in the Northwest during the winter holiday assembly…with me…in front of the entire student body. I have to say, I think I impressed some people with my dancing ability. There is a video of it somewhere, and I will do my best to find it and post it. Anyhow, it did nothing to reduce my hatred for this song. The song is still the worst Christmas and holiday song of all time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time (2008 Edition) Part II

Here is the next section of terrible holiday songs.

Children are meant to be seen and not heard. And for heaven’s sake, they shouldn’t be singing stupid Christmas songs.

Children’s choirs are one of the most nauseating facets of the human experience. I fully accept actual children’s choirs at school functions, in church, and those kinds of situations. Children all singing together has that kind of grating quality similar to 5th grade bands. It’s not endearing; it’s just tolerable because you know they are trying. They’re just not musically talented enough yet to understand the concept of “in tune.” It’s a learning curve, and I have faith that as they grow, they will get better. However, whoever thought that it would be cute or fun for children to sing along with adults in recorded music must have been tone deaf. Children learning to sing is one thing. Children singing like they’re professionals is just annoying. They are only one step up from child actors. I loathe child actors. If you really want to ruin a movie, add a child actor. Or maybe Jennifer Lopez. If you really want to ruin a song, add a children’s choir, or even better, have a child sing it all by him or herself.

7. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” Gayla Peevey
I can’t believe this is actually on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtqIM_bPTws

This song is from the 1950s, but it demonstrates a timeless fact: children are annoying when they sing. Yes, I’m a jerk. But I’m a jerk who is right. This was originally recorded as a fundraiser to bring a hippo to the local zoo in Oklahoma City. (Check out the site for this song: http://homepage.mac.com/thetexansundial/hippopotamus/Personal151.html) That is fantastic. I’m a zoo member for the Oregon Zoo. I appreciate preserving animals and such. However, the zoo got its hippo. So why in the hell is this song still playing on the radio 55 years later? That hippo is probably dead by now, but we still have to suffer. And riddle me this: how is this song not annoying? I was trying to describe this song to a friend of mine, and she replied with, “that sounds awful.” Yes, yes it does.

6. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Jimmy Boyd
Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWjIAWtfiI8

I had no idea that Christmas songs sung by young children was all the rage in the 1950s. Apparently, it was because the original version of this song is from the same era as the hippo song. John—don’t call me Cougar—Mellencamp has covered this song with slightly less annoyance, but the song’s content is really what bothers me. Were there actually parents in the 1950s dressing up as Santa to deliver their own children’s presents? Was dear Jimmy so deluded to think that Santa wasn’t really his dad? Is Santa real, and he has a little something on the side with Jimmy’s and countless other kids’ moms? My favorite guess is that Jimmy’s mom had a Santa fantasy that Jimmy was just too young to understand. If that is the case, you go Jimmy’s mom and dad. Overall, if this song insists on staying around, I believe it is in desperate need of an update. With half of marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, I’m thinking, “Mommy’s New Boyfriend Looks a lot like Santa Claus” would be much more accurate.

5. “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” Spike Jones
Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYsgcvLXUsQ&feature=related

This song is beyond annoying. The tone with which the young lad sings this song is painful to hear. The whistling speech impediment a la the beaver from Lady and the Tramp or Ramblin’ Rod (how is that for an obscure reference? I imagine most of you will be Googling that one.) is infuriating. Children with speech impediments are not cute. They are a cry for help in the form of speech therapy. And why does he sound just like the old pervert Herbert from Family Guy? I guess the overall issue I have with this song is similar to the to the other children singing songs mentioned previously. Why are we still tortured with these songs over 50 years after they first began making ears bleed? Let them go, people. They aren’t cute; they’re just obnoxious.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time (2008 Edition--Part I)

It’s that time of year. Black Friday is officially over, and one local radio station, K103.3, has been playing holiday music since Halloween. Now, I LOVE the holidays. I am a big fan of the holiday season and all of the good that it can bring out in people. I also LOVE holiday music. I can’t get enough of it. I own many, many Christmas music CDs and I enjoy listening to them. However, whenever there is a lot of good, there also seems to be a lot of bad, and as I have been enjoying holiday music over the airwaves of K103, I have also had moments of absolute cringing. There is some crappy holiday music out there. Many people have already been privy to my rant regarding the horridness that is “Christmas in the Northwest.” I have hated that song for as long as I can remember. We’re talking probably since elementary school I have detested that song. In addition to “Christmas in the Northwest” and all of it’s God’s gift wrapped in green nonsense, there are also some equally inane holiday songs. I wish to share my own list with you. For as many songs as I could, I’ve included links, so you can really appreciate how nauseating some of these songs can be.

There are a few categories that I have created in my head, so for the sake of some organization to this list of auditory slights to humanity, I’m sorting the songs accordingly.

Songs that aren’t really Christmas or Holiday songs, yet they are played only during the Christmas season.

10. “My Favorite Things” Rod Stewart

I have yet to figure out how the musical The Sound of Music and the von Trapp family’s escape from Nazi Germany has anything to do with Christmas. I have to admit I’ve only seen it a couple of times, and that was several years ago, but still. The song does mention some holiday-ish kinds of favorite things like snowflakes on eyelashes and presents wrapped up with string, but that’s about it. There is nothing Christmasy about whiskers on kittens or bright copper kettles. Also consider that raindrops on roses and getting stung by a bee are least likely to happen during the holiday season. While I do really like this song, IT IS NOT A CHRISTMAS SONG, and thus should not be a part of the holiday music selection. ESPECIALLY, if it is Rod Stewart singing. I’ll will take Julie Andrews any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Even aging, I-can’t-sing-like-I-used-to Julie Andrews. But Rod Stewart? Seriously? Have you seen Rod Stewart? He is creepy at best. His particular version of the song (which is truly a good song!) is absolutely terrible. It includes the one, two horrid combination of cheesy saxophone music and well, Rod Stewart. I am a saxophone player. I do love a good saxophone included in a song. However, good is the key word here. Saxophone closing out the song a la Family Ties’ “sha-na-na-na” does not equate good in any way, shape, or form. Rod Stewart singing anything always has the unfortunate consequence of bringing back memories of his “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” which I have tried to delete from my brain rather unsuccessfully. No, Rod, no one thinks you’re sexy, and no one wants your body, so let it go already, okay? Shudder.

9. “Linus and Lucy” Vince Guaraldi Trio
Thank the person with some extra freetime who put this on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbiYFA0-8mU

The Vince Guaraldi Trio (www.vinceguaraldi.com) is an amazing group, and it’s really too bad that we don’t hear them year round. However, they are pretty much only known for their work on the Peanuts movies including A Charlie Brown Christmas. They have an expanded album which includes the music from the Christmas movie along with some additional Christmas music such as O Tannenbaum and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. I love hearing their holiday music played, however, I can’t figure out how “Linus and Lucy” qualifies as a Christmas song. Oh, wait…that’s because it doesn’t. Again, I love this song. This is the kind of song that would justify years of piano lessons as a child just to be able to play this song. Still doesn’t make it a holiday song.

8. “Same Old Lang Syne” Dan Fogelberg
Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhjYbfK9vrk

Okay, technically the events occurring during the narration occur on Christmas Eve. It could be a Christmas song…if it had anything to do with holiday kinds of things, but it is just a hokey song about regrets, lost love, blah, blah, blah. I like to call this song, “Getting drunk in a car with my Ex” because that’s more accurate. Apparently the open container law doesn't apply as long as you’re drinking toasts to things like innocence, time, now, and that kind of stuff. It also loses points big time for cheesy saxophone ending. Darn you Kenny G for making people think saxophones should be utilized in such a terrible way! Though you do really have to appreciate the intensity with which Dan Fogelbery sings this song. It’s almost like the more expressive his eyebrows are and the more he wiggles his face, the better he thinks the song will sound. I also can't believe that many people paid money to see Dan Fogelberg. Look how many people are in the audience! And yes, I know Dan Fogelberg is dead, and that it is impolite to mock the dead, but watch the video. It deserves mocking.

Stay tuned for Part II of The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Something Spelled Backwards is NOT a Name

They have yet to enter high school, so I haven’t had a student with one of the most disturbing “trendy” names in rotation today. According to my connections at the elementary school level, there are hordes of young girls saddled with the heinous moniker, Nevaeh. I know what you’re thinking. It must be a name with some kind of cultural origin. Wrong. Take your computer into the bathroom. Hopefully, it’s a laptop, or else it might be a little awkward. Now read your screen in the mirror. Here, I’ll help make it easier: NEVAEH. That’s right. Heaven spelled backwards.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of names that are in reality abstract nouns. Grace, Joy, Hope, Chastity (look for this name later on the “So you want your daughter to be a prostitute?” entry), Faith, Patience, you get the picture. The problem with these kinds of names is two-fold. One, sure they are great qualities that you might want your child to have, but in reality it makes for a terrible name. Two, if you name your child one of these names, there is a 85% chance that your child will exhibit the exact opposite behaviors, traits, and demeanor of the meaning of the name. For example, if you name your daughter Grace, she will most likely be one of the clumsiest kids in her pre-school. Name your daughter Patience, and she will be arrested for road rage at the tender age of 23. Hope? Hope you don’t mind the fact that your daughter will be married and divorced between 5 and 8 times, bear at least half a dozen children and live out her life in Space 17 in the local trailer park. Chastity? Well, you’re just going to have to wait for that other blog entry.

Those are bad enough on their own, but what the hell is up with the spell something backwards aspect of this disaster name Nevaeh? It makes me a little curious about what freaking moron decided that a word, any word, spelled backwards would make a good name for their child. And who are these legions of idiots who see Nevaeh on the baby name website of choice and think to themselves, oh, that’s a precious name for my precious little girl? It also makes me want to call up CPS and report some serious child neglect. As in how can you so greatly and horrifically neglect the well-being of your child by naming them something so stupid. I can’t wait for this generation of Nevaehs to grow up and tell their parents how their name ruined their lives.

Let me put this in perspective. Have you ever seen a movie so horribly, horribly terrible, that it’s painful to watch? Not a bad movie that is a little fun to watch because it’s cheesy, has hokey special effects, questionable acting and unrealistic dialogue. I love those kinds of movies. In fact, I highly recommend any movie with Vincent Price circa 1960s-1970s. I like my special effects with the wires showing. No, I mean a truly terrible movie. The kind where you lament never getting back the two hours of your life you just wasted watching the movie. Something like The Intersection staring Richard Gere. Or anything that has Jennifer Lopez anywhere near it. The kind of movie where you wonder whether a lifetime of blindness would be worth taking a ballpoint pen and stabbing out your own eyes just so you don’t have to see another frame of the awfulness on the screen. Nevaeh is that kind of name.

Baby Naming Tip #2:

Don’t name your child ANYTHING spelled backwards. I promise you, while you think it is “unique” or “precious,” your kid will disagree with you beginning around age 12. The good news for them is that they will be able to answer a variety of inquiries from teachers, new friends, and clerks at the grocery store with one catch-all answer: “My parents were idiots.”

While talking with a couple of my colleagues, one suggested a name. Lived. Wait, it needs an accent. LivĂ©d. That’s better. I think I will suggest it on some of the baby naming websites, sit back, and watch the papers for the next generation of backwards word names.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spell It Like Everyone Else

Let's start simple. I have a feeling society is going to provide a lot (A LOT) of fodder for this bad boy, so I'm going to start close to home. Now my first name is Jennifer. Decent? Yes. Options for nicknames? Obviously. In my brief 29 years, I have been Jennifer (on all of those officially document kind of things), Jenny (from birth to 8), Jen (8 to now), and even J.J. I admit it, my parents did join the legions of other parents who named their kid Jennifer. According to the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/), Jennifer spent from 1965 until 1998 in the top 20 of baby girl names in the U.S. Jennifer was in the top ten for 26 of those years, and it was the number 1 name for 16 years straight peaking in 1974 at 4.03% of girls born in that year sharing my name. At least my parents spelled it like the majority of humanity spells Jennifer. Not Jenifer. Not Jeniffer. Not Genifer. Not Gennifer. Thank you mom and dad.

However, Erinn has a different story. No, that's not a typo. Erinn. Two Ns. According to Erinn's mom, "it's Gaelic." According to Erinn, it sucks having a common name that is spelled weird. She has spent her entire life, and will continue for the rest of her days, spelling her name for people. As a young child, she had to make sense of why all of her regularly named siblings were able to find little keepsake key chains with their names on them while she was out of luck.

Which brings us to...

Baby Naming Tip #1:

Which ever name you choose to give your child, spell it like the majority of humanity spells it. Otherwise, you will subject your child to a lifetime of close, but not quite, acceptance in society.