Bad Baby Names, Part 10.1: Mailbag!

Part 10.1: Mailbag!

Eagle-eyed and iron-stomached reader Virginia directed me to what may be the Necronomicon of Bad Baby Names, the pitch-black pit from which all bad names emerge: Unique Baby Names. The page is part of Baby-Names-Etc.com, which appears to be one of the hundred and hundreds of poorly-put-together and apparently abandoned baby name sites on the web. There’s no way to tell if it’s an offshoot of a commercial site, someone’s hobby, or what. Whatever it is, it’s pretty cheap….. and EVIL!

I have written to the owners of the site demanding an explanation for the following article, as well as writing to the standing U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, but have not received a reply from either.

UPDATE! Reader Lisa recognized this passage as familiar, and says the baby-names-etc.com people plagarized it in full from New Age Baby Name Book by Sue Browder. I suppose this explains the typos, but it doesn’t explain the Conspiracy of Evil clearly afoot: Someone wrote something awful, someone edited it, someone published it, someone distributed it, someone bought it, and someone liked it so much they took the time to plagiarize it. Maybe Browder’s lawyers can hash it out.

Here is the page, quoted in its entirety, complete with snotty comments, because I can’t resist.

Unique baby names are fun, and unique baby names can be created in several ways. The ways to make a unique baby name is only limited by your imagination.

Wow. Comprehensive discussion as to why to create a name from scratch. “It’s fun.” Thanks.

  • Anagrams: To create an anagram of an existing name, take the tile letters from the game Scrabble and combine them in different ways.

“I like Ohnj for a boy and Aejn for a girl.”

  • Telescoping: Drop letters from a word until you find a baby name that is suitable. Kahlil Gibran can be changed to Kabran. Schuyler can become Sky.

Whoa… Kahlil Gibran isn’t unique enough? I really like cars, so I used this technique and have decided to name my first son Autobile. I also like the films of Frederico Fellini, so I may name my first daughter Fedco Felin.

  • From the father’s name: A boy can be named “Junior,” but you can be more creative. Donald can become Doni or for a girl, Donie. John can become Jonette, Jonille, Jonalee.

… or Itmightbeyourkidlyn. You’remypropertyIownyouette.

  • From the mother’s name: A popular way to name a boy after his mother is to use her maiden name if it was Ward, Grey, Parker, Davis, Ross, Cole, Taylor, Williams – or an equivalent. Or the mother’s name can be transformed to a boy’s name. Mary can become Martin, Marle, Marwin, Marson, Marren, etc. For a girl, it can be Mari, Marina, etc.

I can’t put my finger on why, but the first sentence, about “equivalent”(?) last names strikes me as racist. Oh yeah, it’s because those are white white snowy white names. So I’m naming my son Kleinman Yamaguchi Chan-Jackson Hernandez Mangosuthu Rajagopal. Smith.

  • Combinations: Take the mother’s and father’s names, and combine to create a new baby name. Mary and John could be Marjon; Daniel and Susan would be Dansan; David and Sally could be Dally, not Salad! Alan and Mary make a very nice girl’s name: Alray.

Marjon: a low-calorie spread. I can’t believe it’s not Marjon! Dansan – maybe if you’re huge Cheers fans. Dally – as a middle name. First name: Dilly. Alray – makers of fine face creams. I had fun with this. I put my own parents’ names (Mark & Susan – they’re so very proud) in the Name Super Collider! and came up with: Marsan, Masu, Markan, Musan, Mausa, Sark, Sumar, Sarsan, Suma, Surk, Susar, Sum, Susam, Susamar. None of which I’d name my dog. OK, I’d name a cat Mausa. Or Carl. There’s just something funny about animals with mundane human names.

  • Re-Spellings: Take a name like Marianne and make it MariAnne to create a new baby name. Arlene becomes ArLene. Catlin becomes CaitLin. Make Janet J’Net or J’Nette.

Oh, for cripe’s sake! Is there a single person out there, a single, solitary person who thinks Marianne and MariAnne are different names? Could I get a show of hands? Anyone else thinking of SanDeE* in L.A. Story? Second question: Does anyone think J’Net or J’Nette are pronounced “Janet” (“JA-net”) and not “Jeanette” (“gin-ET”)? Seeing as how an apostrophe is a lingual blank, and not, as many people think, accents. If I ever parlay this site into a wacky candid camera show, I’m going to sic Monsieur Martin, my incredibly aggressive former French teacher, on people to teach them a thing or two about accent marks. After three hours of him yelling, “C’est circumflex! N’est pas accent grande! Jamais!” the parents will be filing the name change paperwork themselves. And crying. When it comes to unique baby names, anything goes! Names are everywhere, from designer tags to colors, like Azure, Rudby, Burgundy and Gray. Months like April and June are easy names for girls. States provide names like Dakota and Carolina. But be careful when you select a name. Careful like you were when you typed in “Ruby”? Complicated names that are impossible to pronounce will only bring grief from teachers, and teasing from classmates. Names that are difficult to spell will be misspelled throughout the child’s entire life, and while it makes them unique, the aggravation can be a This from a site that just suggested Jonille? And here’s a dire warning on giving a boy a girl’s name and vice versa: It’s a setup for disaster in the school yard. Howard O’Brien is now Anne Rice, author of the famous vampire books. She was given a boy’s name because her folks wanted a boy! So be kind to your baby. Choose unique baby names with care. So if I give my kid an f’ed up name, they’ll become a fabulously popular, though not overwhelmingly talented writer of gothy best-seller-list demi-porn? Susamar Rudby-Aejn Rajagopal it is! First of all, I have to comment on the Oleo name. While it is very similar to the Oreo brand name of sandwich cookies, any good crossword enthusiast will tell you that oleo is another name for margarine. It is analogous to naming your child “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” which, I might add, I found to be a ridiculous thing to name margarine. Two instances from my own experience of over-the-top names. I know a family with three children. The boys are Holland and Scotland and the daughter is Britannia. Britannia at least has precedence and is vaguely similar to Brittany. Scotland could, when he so chooses, go by the more standard Scott. But what of poor Holland? And then do these children grow up and name their children London, Oslo, Edinburgh, and Amsterdam? Another family with three children I know of gave their children names from the Bible. That is certainly not a new practice. However, instead of naming their children Peter and Paul, they gave their children Biblical place names. Their daughters are Canaan (Kay none) and Eden and their son is Jericho. Canaan was the land promised by God to the Israelites, the land flowing with milk and honey. Eden, of course, being the garden Adam and Eve were placed in and thrown out of after eating the forbidden fruit. Jericho is the city (coincidentally in the land of Canaan) conquered by Joshua and the people of Israel by marching around the city seven times and blowing trumpets. The nicknames I have heard them sometimes referred to by grandparents and whomever else are Caycay (KK), Edie, and Coco respectively. (being as these are nicknames, I have no knowledge of their spelling, having only heard them) Excerpts from the battle of Jericho (Joshua, Chapter 6)

“… and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city… And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. … And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

Um, nice. It’s also STILL being fought over fiercely, so in some ways naming your kid Jericho is a political statement, like “Kashmir” or “Belfast.” Laurie Hickson-Smith, the red-haired hater of ceiling fans on TLC’s Trading Spaces, gave birth this year to a son. Gibson Witherspoon. Even if he only carries “Smith” as a last name, this is a child who will be beaten up a lot. Jennifer (the net name spy!) spotted this one: Q: Ma’ire is a unique and beautiful name. How do you pronounce it? Does it have a meaning in another language? A: Thank you, I worked 9 months on that name. LOL. It is pronounced Mary, and it is the Gaelic spelling. (my family ancestry) I figured with a name like my momma gave me, I needed to keep up the tradition! — Branwyn So the name’s not because of your ancestry or anything, so much as the continued appearance of it. Ah. Actually, Branwyn’s close, but no cigarillo. Maire (no apostrophe) or Máire (with accent) are Gaelic versions of Mary, as are Molly and Mairi. (Let’s also remember that Gaelic spellings and English spellings have been drifting apart for the last 600 years or so, which is why they often have a variety of spellings for foreign words.) You also may be interested to know that Maire is French for “mayor.” From Cynthia: I grew up in Hawaii, where parents could get pretty creative with naming children, with some disastrous results: In my high school alone, there were two sisters named Blessing and Gaiety (I know they had another sister, but can’t remember the name). Another girl was named Blue Hawaii. In my culture (I won’t name it, for fear that people can poke further fun), parents like to meld their names together when naming their child. As you can imagine, there can be a lot of original and unique names: Argyle (Gil and Arceli — I used to kid him about being named after a sock…) Arleigh (Argyle and Leilani — conglomeration of his older sister and brother. I saw this name pop up at the USS Arizona memorial. However, I don’t think the parents had a clue.) Mariecon (My sister, melding after my mother’s two first names… “maricon” in Spanish just happens to be a slang term for homosexual.) JoMar (Joe and Maria) I think I may have shared too many clues to remain anonymous. 🙂 Well, I found a bunch of Mariecons, mostly Filipino. (a ha! Nice try, Cynthia!) I only mention this because the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years – apparently, the term ‘maricon’ (and it is a very rude term) developed sometime after 1898. And this is a really obscure comment, but the name JoMar makes me immediately think of the masterwork of film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). In this cinematic triumph, most of the Martians’ names end with -mar (for Martian! Get it?!): Bomar, Momar, Girmar (played by Pia Zadora!), etc. I’ve gotten a few emails about the name Latrina, so I thought I’d do some research. Well, it should come to no one’s surprise that ‘latrina’ in Italian means… latrine. According to the Kabalarians, who come up with (cough) meanings for every weird-ass name out there:

“Your first name of Latrina has given you a quick-minded, sensitive nature. It gives you a creative ability in art, music, singing, or fancywork, and an appreciation for refined surroundings.”

This appreciation of surroundings must make life extra tough for the first two Latrinas I found, both of whom are in prison and looking for pen-pals, possibly more. (Both are up for parole pretty soon, gents!) Latrina 4458B is in prison in Connecticut for selling drugs, and will get out in 2006. She’s looking for a man who is willing to look past her previous mistakes, and likes sports and kids. Latrina F6312 is in jail in Arkansas, and is looking for someone sensual to write to her until her release in 2004. Her interests include “swimming, fishing, camping, and romantic getaways.” … far, far away from this stinking prison. You’ll be happy to know both are willing to relocate for the right man. I had the misfortune last year, of doing some work at a private religious schooling facility near where I lived. Amongst the students was a girl called Deztini. Bleach-blonde little girl about 11 years old, spoilt by her folks (her mother seems to have been far too influenced by the Krystyl Dolfin era of kewl grrl namezz!1!1!!), blasted rap music without having a clue what the words were. … And her freaking name was *Deztini*, of course, pronounced as ‘destiny.’ The pain, the pain. Surprise, surprise, all searches I did for “Deztini” turned up porn sites, porn stars, and escorts. My cousin had a little girl a few months ago…they called her Perryn. I could handle that… but her big brother’s name is….*ack*… Garland. My cousin named his daughter Paisley Miquel. My aunt and uncle were terrified when they had a son after. They were relieved when he and his wife settled on Matthew. Lol! Oh and I knew a girl in Japan who named her daughter Maekenzee Reenae. She liked e’s, I guess. I was an elementary school teacher for many years — here are some of the most memorable names. Alpachino Baines — he told me his father was a big fan of the actor — everyone called him Chino. Then there was a boy named Marvelous, and his brother Dominant. And let’s not forget brother and sister Prince and Queen. But the one that takes the cake — a little girl named Tajshma. You guessed it, her last name is Hall! Here are some lessons to be learned. #1. Marvelous Marvin Haggler’s first name wasn’t Marvelous. #2. Queen Latifah’s first name isn’t Queen. #3. Prince’s real first name wasn’t…. damn! It actually was Prince! Son of a ….! My favorite thing in this one (besides Alpachino, about which I honestly don’t know where to start – how ’bout it’s spelled wrong?) is that in searching the Web for Tajshma or Tashma Hall, all I turned up were sites of people who actually think that is how to spell “Taj Mahal.” VFW Hall, Oddfellow’s Hall, Tajshma Hall…. it all makes sense. My co-worker’s last name is [the same as a popular TV character]. Of course, that name opens up a world of teasing. You think she’d name her sons fairly neutral names to keep the weirdness to a minimum. Alas, no such luck. The boys are Whitbread (family last name), Festus (yet another family name), and Aengus. (they added the e to make the spelling more Celtic) Wee Festus TV-Last-Name really has his hands full if he runs into TV fans of a certain age, or anyone with the TV Land cable channel. As they explain on their Web site regarding Gunsmoke:

As Dodge City’s Deputy Marshal, Festus is the pride of the Haggen family, a clan of no-account hillbillies who may have less than 32 teeth among them. Although illiterate and often incoherent, the dog-eared Deputy has earned the respect of Dodge’s townspeople as a capable lawman. And he is easily the most colorful resident of this frontier town. Festus is fiercely loyal to Matt Dillon and counts Matt as one of his two best friends – the other is his mule. His meager salary as a deputy forces him to do odd jobs to make ends meet, so when he’s not covering Marshal Dillon’s back, he’s most likely painting a barn or digging a well to earn extra income. Festus is a bachelor, which should come as no surprise given his educational background and lack of personal hygiene. In his spare time, he can be found at the Long Branch Saloon, waiting for someone to buy him a drink.

I absolutely love this website! I woke up my whole family at 2 AM with my hysterical laughter. I have a contribution. I saw this name on the bulletin board at work, and cringed. And then laughed. I haven’t the faintest idea how to pronounce this, but somebody named their child Treoganeke. I have a cousin named Carrianne [deleted] in Minnesota. She married a man named [deleted] Baird that is a Canadian citizen. They named their two daughters [First name] Koala Baird and [First name] Panda Baird. This one made me go a little berserk. Not because the first names are bad names. They’re very nice (though increasingly trendy) names. Or even that Koala and Panda are much too cuddly to be used as middle names. Or even that they’re paired with Baird, to up the cuddly factor 100-fold and make the kids sound like characters in a children’s book (with accompanying line of plush toys.) Or the prospect that the girls are going to grow up into dark, petulent teenagers / young adults who smoke cloves, listen to German industrial, and read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Oh no. It’s that koalas aren’t bears. They’re freaking marsupials. That’s how high my bad baby name tolerance has gotten. Update! In the last few days, I have been deluged with emails about how pandas aren’t bears, either – they’re closer to raccoons. Obviously, this required me to put on my safari hat and do lots of unnecessary research into panda physiology and behavior. Because… um… yeah. After reading a lot of looooong articles, one entirely about panda penises – the things I do for my readers! – it appears (drum roll) they are bears. Sort of. If they are, they’re not very good at it. Scientists are still debating what the heck is with the panda, seeing as they look like bears, are built like bears, and are genetically close to bears, but do almost no bear things at all. They eat their veggies, they’re really slow, don’t hibernate, don’t like caves, and have a mini-thumb and a nose like a kitten. Plus, red pandas look exactly like raccoons after a day at the beauty parlor. (I know, I know, red pandas and giant pandas aren’t closely related. But I love red pandas, and couldn’t leave them out.) What does this mean for the world of bad baby names? I’m not sure. I’m still confused from all the bear dick articles. But you just learned something, and damn it, I’m here to educate as well as entertain. When I was in college (in Santa Cruz), I worked for the food service. I got to see everybody’s names, as we had lists. Bear in mind, this was in the ’80s, so there weren’t quite so many, um, inventive names then. I did see my share of unusual names and interesting combinations. (Jay Walker is a good example) But the winner (I swear this really is true) was the beautiful young woman named Velveeta. And I never had the guts to ask her about the origin of the name when she finally walked into the office to get her ID card recoded. I’ve regretted it ever since. I’ve gotten a few emails about Velveetas, but finding them has been nearly impossible. If you are or know a Velveeta, please drop me a line… we’re all a little curious. (I promise not to call your name “cheesy.”) Many years ago, when I was pregnant and going to a local hospital for the usual blood tests and such, I passed by the nursery with all the infants in their clear glass (plastic) baby buckets. (well, beds, but they look like little rectangular buckets) They had the first and middle name of each child proudly displayed on a tag, and one little girl had the misfortune, apparently, to be named by parents who’d dropped just a few too many hits of acid in their youth. Her name, and I swear before all that is holy, I am NOT making this up: Serenity Ambrosia. Somewhere in the vicinity of Rockford, Illinois, there is a teenaged girl who probably dresses all in black and scowls at everyone, and hates her parents. I have a cousin who named her first child Ansonetta Wynette. Her husband’s mother, who was dead, had left a letter asking that her first grandchild be named that, because she thought it was the prettiest name on earth. Oh yeah – punishing a child for the wishes of a dead woman who never met her. At least the first grandchild wasn’t a boy! When I was pregnant, I emailed someone that we were considering the name “Ryan” if we had a boy. I typed “Ryna” by mistake, and my friend asked people in her office if they’d ever heard of the name “Ryna.” Someone liked it, and named her child that. Good thing I didn’t accidentally write “ryno.” Ryna’s not such a bad name. It’s also good for your sinuses: Ryna 12-S There are so many bad, unusual baby names, but how about naming your baby after a dog? I have relatives who named their two sons Buddy and Buster. I know a couple who has the last name Sherlock. They named their daughter Eilish. Forget about saying it ten times fast. Try saying it ONCE! My children’s names are Caitlen Mekare and Arica Ashton. I am pregnant, and expecting a boy whose name will be Kai Thomas Orion. (I know, you are cringing here!) Now to my first daughter’s middle name – and I warn you now: this is really twisted if you actually know where the name came from. Personally, I just liked the way the name sounded with her first name – strong, but still feminine. However, the novel it came from was Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned. The character Mekare (mah-CARE) is one of the twins who defeats the queen, and at the very end, Mekare kills the queen and eats her, becoming the queen of the damned herself. I know, just plain weird, but it is a pretty name just the same! On a side note, my brother has also read the book, and is set on the name Akasha if he ever has a daughter – Akasha was the first queen …. so we really must be a twisted lot! Please feel free to use excerpts of this to poke fun at – after all, you can see that I do the same on occasion! What a bad mother I am! LOL Well, if you open the door, it’d be rude not to walk in. (On the other hand, inviting me to give you a hard time about your kids’ names makes it really, really hard to come up with anything. Curse you and your reverse psychology!) I have one thought, though. DeVille Mekare would be a great character name in some Tales from the Crypt-style low-budget tale of a clichéd horror version of Faust. Bonus points if you can get Pacino to do it.

Okay, here is one from my husband’s family, and one from mine to keep it fair — both are girls: Sutter Lynn, and Lettice Catherine Oh man… Lettice (if it’s pronounced “lettuce,” as opposed to “Luh-TEES”) is so close to those great urban legend names Lemonjello and Oranjello. She can marry a man named Tomate, and have kids named Onyon and Sesameseid Bunn. Update!: I’ve gotten a couple emails about Lettice Deveraux, countess of Essex and Leichester, cousin to Queen Elizabeth I, wife #3 of Robert Dudley and all-around neat person… not the kind of person to have a pretentious 21st century baby name! (Not that Lettice, as luh-TEES, is pretentious. I like it! “Lettuce” on the other hand…) But writing to me about Lettice Deveraux, no one mentioned other interesting historical bits like:

  • Mrs. Dudley #1 took a header down some stairs, and speculation persists to this day Dudley – who made a habit of repeatedly and publicly proposing to the queen – had “helped.” (Whether or not he looked like Joseph Fiennes is also debatable.)
  • Mrs. Dudley #2 was Douglas Howard. Yes, an Elizabethan woman named Douglas.

I work for Head Start and we have a pair of twins this year: Pookie Bair (like bear) and Poopsie Dier (like deer), both girls! A few years ago, we had a set of twins who were named: Hunter and Fischer (Fisher), and their last names was Farmer! Ugh! Yes, but going back to the neolithic era, we see Hunter Farmers are more advanced than Hunter Gatherers. And Pookie and Poopsie. Were there ever two kids who needed Head Start more? I think we should take up a collection for them. A couple I know wanted their sons to have names beginning with “A.” After Adam, Anthony, and Andrew were born, the only name they could think of for #4 was Amadeus. That was 8 years ago. This kid is regularly beaten up at school and ridiculed wherever he goes. They couldn’t have come up with Alan? Aiden? Alex? Albert? Arnie?? My best friend Andrea, a teacher, was recently trading “most outlandish kids’ names” stories with fellow teachers at her new elementary school. Andrea’s favorite, “Cassanova” was trumped by someone who said she had a first grader named “PamperMe.” What’s next, a kid named “W’ipeMyAss”?! Thanks for the huge laugh. I’m very pregnant right now, and we just discovered that we’re going to have a boy. My husband now expects me to live up to my promise to name our first boy after his father. (We ducked the bullet twice already with girls) Our baby is going to be named… Elvio. It was a huge relief to find that amidst all the other wackily named kids that our poor little boy won’t stand out nearly as much as I feared. — Erica P.S. Okay, in Italy, it’s not an unknown name and my husband’s entire family comes from Italy. But for me, it’s kind of up there with Jawarhalal, Taybree, Kason… or even “Steve.” 😉 My maternal grandfather was an OB/GYN in a rural area of Pennsylvania in the 1940s. He would tell stories of delivering babies to mothers who had never been to a doctor or heard the medical terms for body parts. He mentioned one or two women who had to be discouraged from naming their children “Uterus” or “Ovary.” Kids named Uterus, Ovary, and especially Placenta are covered on this page from Snopes.com, the universe’s best urban legends site. It traces the racist or classist subtext of many stories of women giving their children embarassing medical names: Click here to read the Snopes article


2 Responses to “Bad Baby Names, Part 10.1: Mailbag!”

  1. I don’t know who put together this compilation, but I actually recognize a small section of it as something I *personally* wrote on a comment or message forum on the subject of baby names around 13 years ago. I now see it several places, with some additions that I did not write. It’s fascinating to see how these things happen! Apparently, the story of my children’s names is interesting enough to keep it circulating on the web forever.

    Signed, the REAL mother of Caitlen, Arica, and Kai.

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