Thursday, December 31, 2009

Parenting Magazine Fail

I happened to be at my OB clinic the other day, and to pass the time I picked up the ubiquitous Parenting magazine often found in such an environment. This one had an article about baby names in it; one might imagine that I perused it with much fervor.

(I'm sorry. I've been reading His Majesty's Dragon. They all talk like this in the book, and I just can't seem to help myself.)

Anyway, I thought it might give me plenty of fodder, and so it has. Today, in honor of the Temeraire series, I will make fun of one name in particular form the Parenting article: Navy.

Hopefully this is just a suggestion, albeit a truly horrible one. Hopefully no one has gone and named their baby Navy. Oh, the associations that come with this name-that-is-hopefully-not-a-name: Navy beans, Navy blue, the Village People, humongous battleships, crusty old captains, submarines.... there are, in my opinion, better ways to show one's patriotism.

How about naming your kid after someone IN the Navy, like perhaps a relative or ancestor? Or a famous Naval officer? I mean, you wouldn't just go and name your kid Army or Air Force or Marine, so why Navy?

Is it because Navy sounds cuter?

It is, isn't it?

:::bangs head on desk:::

For our New Year's Resolution this year, let's resolve to not worry about cute names, and to remember that children will grow into adults some day and deserve dignity and respect when you go to name them. And if any of you know an expecting mother who is in danger of naming her kid something the kid will regret for his/her entire life, please point them to this page. Spread the word. End cutesy names in 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mackenzy the huge linebacker

He may not be a linebacker. I may be intentionally vague here. He's a pro football player, though, and 20-some years ago an adoring mother looked at her little baby and couldn't help but give him a cute and adorable name. She couldn't even stop herself from sticking a Y on the end. How cute. How adorable. How...sweet. Mackenzy.

I have issues with the name Mackenzie even if it's a girl name and it's spelled right. Yeah, you know, I think it's a cute name, but I'm not gonna saddle a child with it or anything. I read an article a long time ago about a woman who loved the name Victoria. She spent her whole life waiting to have a daughter so she could name her Victoria. Then she had her kid and thought that she looked (at the ripe old age of 3 minutes) too "mischievous" to be called Victoria, so instead of going the Vicki route, or even the Tori route, she went full cutesy and named the kid Mackenzie. The theory here was that she would save Victoria for some hypothetical future daughter who perhaps would be born without the look of future juvenile delinquency in her eyes.

I have issues with this.

Of course.

Let me just get them off my chest here.

The "mac" part of the surname Mackenzie means "son of." While this is great for Mr. Big Hulking Football player (although that ending Y is unfortunate) it's bad news for Little Miss Mischief. Poor kid could have gotten a nice, classic name, but no. Mama had to go trendy.

And what is this crap about your newborn baby looking "mischeivous"? I know what a newborn baby looks like. Asleep, feeding, or crying.Red. Wrinkly. Covered in ick. They don't exhibit personality traits. They don't yet have them.

But back to Pro Football Guy. He's a victim of Cutenization. Is it any wonder this guy was compelled to play football? He makes a living beating other people up. I'm sure it has to do with his silly name. (although Marcades, Atari, and Cadillac, also football players, could give him a good run for the money in the silly name division.) Mackenzy is a good example of why you shouldn't let yourself cutesy up your kids' names... that name on an adult football player just looks and sounds ridiculous. Think about how much worse it would be if he was running for office.

Cutenization: Don't Let It Happen To YOUR Kid. This Public Service Announcement brought to you by It Was Late, and I Was Tired.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Southern Tradition

Here in the South, it is generally considered acceptable to give female babies masculine last names as first names. This trend predates Madison by over a hundred years, and has the caveat that the name be a family name of some sort. This is the way names such as "Meredith," originally a last name, became popular.

I think one couple has taken this trend to an extreme, though, simply naming their daughter "Smith."

Now, I know this is supposed to be a generally acceptable thing here in the South, but people, let's be real about this. You just can't get more masculine than Smith. It doesn't conjure up images of frilly lace and lipstick, or even baby dolls and ponies. It conjures up images of big, hairy, sweaty men working hard, nasty jobs. This is maybe not the imagery you want associated with your baby's name, no matter how cute you thought it might be, or how personal it is to your family.

I just hope there is a good family reason for this name, and that it's not a product of someone who was simply looking for another way to use a last name as a first name in some misguided attempt to be original. Originality is for writing, painting, decorating, and other forms of art. Originality is not for hanging a moniker on your child that will affect her every day for the rest of her life, or at least until she can legally change it.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Maybe you haven't noticed, but I'm not a big fan of made-up names. They cause nothing but trouble for kids and they're often very awkward, like Kaysley. This one also has a saccharin factor of about 10.... can you really imagine this poor girl ever being in a position of importance? "Senator Kaysley Smith." "Vice-President Kaysley Jones." Hopefully the poor git has a nice, normal middle name so she can go by K. Normalname Myparentssuck.

My stepsister named her kid Kaylee. Kaylee's bad enough, as far as cutesy goes. The one and only bad thing about the series "Firefly" is that it seems to have popularized the name a good bit. This business of sticking an extra L in it just makes it hard to pronounce, however, as well as causing the kid to spend approximately a month of her life explaining to people how to spell her name.

It's like this, people. I recently began a short story about an old couple, set around 70 years from now. I named them Jayden and Madison. I had to quit writing the story, though, because it was just weird to write about old people with such cutesy names. Although now I think I'll go back and finish it... if I could get it published, perhaps the shock of reading about an 80 year old man called Jayden would convince other people to NOT USE THAT NAME...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I see what you did there

Today's victim: Jaquizz.

Ah, football names. I will never lack fresh fodder for my snarking, for all I need to do is peruse the rolls of college and professional football players. (My husband wanted me to do one on Colt, but I found out it was a nickname.)

Anyway, there is a football player out there with the name Jaquizz. I puzzled over this name for a good bit, trying to figure out whether it came from a desire to be cutesy, or a desire to be hip (the two Z's at the end) or from a desire to be unique.

Finally, it hit me.

I think that someone looked at the name "Jacques", didn't know how it was pronounced, and cutesied it up a bit.

Or maybe I'm wrong (and I do hope I'm wrong). Maybe someone just came up with Jaquizz all on their very own.

Maybe they hoped he'd be good at figuring things out.


Sometimes I think America should be like Estonia, where they have a large list of baby names and you MUST pick one from that list. I think today's generation of uniquely (mostly badly) named babies would be grateful...

Friday, December 4, 2009

#1 Hands-Down Worst Name EVAR

There is an article on about baby name trends... especially bad baby name trends.

Today I'll leave you with what perhaps is the most awful, thoughtless, immature baby name of all time... a name named 4 years ago in the very town where I now write... some poor kid is going to start kindergarten next year with the moniker "Millionz'a'dollaz". He was born on the same day as a good friend's son. I can only hope that this poor kid's parents came to their senses and changed their minds before the birth certificate was completed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I'm really almost speechless here. Othniel? For one thing, it's damned near impossible to say. For another thing, it's OTHNIEL. It's neither cute nor witty. It does not roll musically off of the tongue. Some day, this kid is going to be old enough to complain about this.


Ladies and gentlemen, sometimes I don't need to snark. Sometimes the name just snarks itself.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pick A Reason To Slap This Woman

I can think of several. Basically, this lady in Britian who can't afford kids has 13 and one more on the way.

Normally I'm all about people who choose to have big families. I wanted a huge family myself, but it doesn't look like things are going to work out that way. This lady lives in a 3-bedroom house, though, and her husband makes very little money.

But that's not why we're here today. We're not here to snark at her large household, or her lack of money, or her earnest desire to have twins.

We're here to snark at the godawful names she's given her children.

Let's run down the list:

Patrick: Nothing wrong here. Unless you're like me and have a personal gripe with the man who drove the pagans out of Ireland. But that's just me.

Stephen: Nothing to see here, move along.

Malachi: Eh, well, it's England and they have different names over there.

Peppermint: PEPPERMINT? Are you SH*TTING ME? Why not just name her Stripper Who Will Get Knocked Up at 16? Do you WANT men to visualize your teenage daughter as a lickable candy? Do you WANT to traumatize your daughter by giving her aname no one is able to take seriously? If she was born at Christmas, which is my theory here, why not name her Holly or Natalie, not friggin PEPPERMINT.

Echo: Time-honored hippy name. I might have snarked a bit more if I didn't have some good ones further down the list. I will say that I for one don't want my child to think of herself as an echo of anyone or anything else, though.

Eli: Nothing wrong here. Lady, you obviously have SOME sense in choosing names, did you just go batsh*t crazy for the others? Like poor little:

Rogue: I see you're a comic book fan. I like comic books, too. I won't be naming my kids after fictional comic book characters , though, or even after Tolkien, like poor little:

Frodo: No. No no no no no. Frodo is just a horrible, ugly name... that's why no one ever uses it, even though he's one of the top fictional characters ever. Looks like, oh, EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD has a little more sense than this lady.

Morpheus: :::headdesk::: In civilized society today, it's generally understood that if you MUST name a child after The Matrix, you confine yourself to "Trinity". We do NOT use Morpheus.

Artemis: I see you're having a flirtation with Greek mythology here, what with Morpheus (also the god of dreams) and now Artemis. You couldn't have just went with Diana? Too simple for your tastes?

Blackbird: This goes back to my earlier post about the difference between pet names and baby names. "Blackbird" is not a baby name. I'm not a big fan of the name Raven (Let's name our kid after a carrion-eater!) but even that would be preferable to Blackbird.

Baudelaire: Yeah, give your Brit kid a French name. I'm sure that'll go over well for the rest of his life.

And finally, little Voorhees.


I'm tempted to think that this name comes from Jason Voorhess, but I don't want to think that. I want to think that there's some perfectly good, logical reason for naming the kid Voorhees. Of course, most of the other baby names that came from this woman showed very little logic, or even thought of any kind, so I can't be sure that the kid isn't named after the Friday the 13th movies.

So, out of all the reasons to slap this woman, Voorhees is the one I pick. How about you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If It Doesn't Have Floppy Ears And A Tail, Don't Name It Rocket

I'm back... it's been a hectic few days, but I've had more bad baby names stewing in my head. Today, specifically, I'm going to focus on people who give dog names to their babies.

You know what I mean. Rainy. Apple. Rocket. Fury. These are names that are far more appropriate to some sort of furry quadruped than they are to your adorable little baby, who by the way is going to someday be old and grizzled and probably ashamed of that oh-so-cutesy name.

(I just can't say it enough, people; these kids are going to grow up and out of their cute little baby names. KEEP THIS IN MIND.)

Here are a few notable pet-like baby names I have come across personally in my time:

Rainy and Breezy, two sisters. It was the first time I had ever seen adverbs used as baby names. I was appalled.

Chaos and Fury, two brothers. What I wanted to tell their mother was this: "Just because you consider yourself to be a freak, and have a neck tattoo and gauged-out earrings, and in your mind you're just terribly cool, is no reason to saddle your kids with horrible horse-names."

Rocket as a middle name. Having it as a middle name makes it NO BETTER. A friend of mine in high school had Star as a middle name, and even this agonized her to the point where she begged the DOT not to put it on her driver's license.

And of course then there's Apple. It's cute and all, but really, is there any other kid out there named for food?

Ugh. Cute is for baby clothes, not baby names. If you must use a cutesy name, how about using one of those old fashioned things called "nicknames"? If you think that Rocket is just the best name ever for a kid, let that kid retain his dignity and name him Robert. Call him Rocket at home for the rest of his life, but allow him to conduct his professional affairs without anyone else knowing about it.

Better yet, confine noun names to your dogs...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

When Cutesy Goes Terribly Wrong

I'll never understand the new trend to name little girls after cities in England. You know, London, Bristol, names like that... they just don't seem very feminine to me. One of these days I'm going to run into a little girl named Liverpool or Manchester and I'm probably just going to snap.

Also, as I have previously stated, I'm not a big fan of cutesying up names.

Well, a couple of years ago I ran into a name that just left me absolutely aghast... Lunden.

My god, I can barely stand to type it.

It's the worst of both worlds.

I can only conjecture that there was some dark corner of the mother's mind that knew, deep inside, that London is not exactly the prettiest or girliest name to give a child, and that maybe it would be better if it was gussied up a bit.

And so now we've gone from bad to worse, and we have Lunden.

As far as I am concerned, this name hasn't been cutesified so much as it's been uglified. The L-U-N bit, in particular, is just offensive to me. That and the fact that if you're going to name your kid after a place, the least you can do it spell it right. Seriously.

Lunden. It sounds very heavy and oppressive, almost threatening. "Don't go outside, kids, it's looking kind of lunden out there." "Cross the street, honey, that guy walking up to us looks lunden."

Ah well. I suppose it could be worse... Lunden may be a heavy burden for this child to bear, but at least it isn't Lyvyrpewl.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A.S.S. (The Trouble with Initials)

Ah, initials... the often-overlooked little troublemakers that they are; sometimes boring, sometimes cutesy, sometimes they can set a kid up for a lifetime of shame. Occasinally this can't be helped. Take me, for instance. My parents thought it would be really cute to give me the initials TLC. They thought it would look just adorable on monogramming, which immediately then went out of style. Anyway, it was bad enough having these initials when I was small, but then when I became a teenager the rap band TLC became popular. I, an avid metalhead, would die of shame when someone would see my initials printed on something (like, unfortunately, my favorite Nirvana tape) and ask if it had to do with the band.

Some things should probably be figured out before your kid is born, though, and one of these is that if your last name is, let's say, Smith, you probably shouldn't name your daughter April Summer.

(Honestly, you shouldn't be naming your daughter April Summer anyway. April is in the spring. If you're going to do a month name and a season name, at least make sure they go together.)

Poor April Summer. Her stepsister and I, the mean little brats that we were, used to giggle behind her back all the time about her unfortunate initials. We thought about buying her one of those LL Bean backpacks with the initials monogrammed on them, but those things cost money, so we didn't. I'm sure we weren't the only ones to make fun of poor April Summer. I do so hope that girl has gotten herself married by now, hopefully to someone with a nice last name beginning in some innocuous letter like J or R, and not something that's going to continue to be annoying for her, like K or P.

Initials are tricky little buggers. Before I had Miranda, after we had finally decided on her full name (Miranda Aisling Indigo F.), which we didn't do until I was actually in labor with her, I sat down with a pen and a pad of paper and made sure that her initials didn't make anything embarrassing. MAIF was fine. So was MAF. Nothing untoward or embarrassing there. So I smugly took myself off to the hospital, confident that MY kid wasn't going to be put out about her initials.

And I proceeded to not think anything about it for the next 5 years, until my mom called me last year to tell me about some towel or whatever from Land's End that she wanted to get for Miranda. "Of course I can't get it monogrammed, though," she said. "Because her initials are MF."

Well, there you go. The thought that my baby's initials are a euphemism for the very worst form of the F-bomb had never so much as crossed my mind. I, too, an guilty of careless naming. (This is especially galling as Miranda was not my first choice for a girl's name, and the initials being MF would have been more fuel for my arsenal during the Great Naming War of 2003). So now poor little Miranda is going to have to initial things as MF for the rest of her life, or at least until she gets married or changes her name or at the very least (and I hope she does this) starts going by Aisling instead. (I wanted Aisling, but I wanted to spell it the Gaelic way and not the Americanized way, which is Ashling. In retrospect, I shoulda just Americanized it.) Well, i hope the kid forgives me. I tried. Let this be a lesson to you, ladies: Don't leave the naming until labor... bad things happen if you do.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Baby Names vs. Drag Queen Names

Oh, I have been waiting for this all day.

My friend on my mommy group informed me that evidently some parents don't know the difference between baby names and drag queen names.

Specifically, she has encountered a little boy named Cavasia, after the wine.

Yeah. Parents, if you're pretty sure from the moment of birth that your bouncing baby boy is going to grow up to do drag shows, request sensible heels for birthday presents (yeah, I stole it from Glee, deal with it) and possibly request a sex change for a graduation present, by all means go on and name him Cavasia. Or, if you're planning on raising a boy who will be beat up in school every day of his life and grow up hating you for his stupid, effeminate, drag queen name, go on and name him Cavasia.

Look. Only 5% of the U.S. drinks wine. An even smaller percentage of the wine drinkers will recognize the name Cavasia. My husband's a sommelier and I had never heard of it. The point here is: No one will get the reference (and those of us who do will still think you're an idiot for inflicting such a silly name upon the fruit, if you'll pardon the pun, of your loins).

Wine names are for drag queens. The Lady Chablis is a famous drag queen. Do you want your son to be a famous drag queen? (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) Are you, in fact, banking upon this? Because honestly, that is the ONLY reason (other than perhaps mistaking your baby for a kitten or a ferret) that I can come up with for anyone naming any kid this name.

So, are we all perfectly Cristal clear on this subject? (Yeah, I went there... it had to be done.) If not, let's run through it once again:

Wine names=drag queen names

So let's hope that this grape-loving couple chooses to name their next kid John and not Riesling.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The First Snark

I've been wanting to create this blog for a while and never have, but yesterday I saw the straw that broke the camel's back.

You see, I've always been annoyed by the names people give their kids these days. I'm a big fan of classic names, and I hate the cutesy crap that people come up with now. Jayden might be cute now, but that kid's going to grow up someday, and he won't thank you for inflicting a name of terminal cuteness on him.


I was at Target yesterday, and the lady in front of me had a diaper bag emblazoned with the name "Shepard."

I have issues with this.

For one thing, it's misspelled. "Shepherd" is what you want in this case, and that's actually not a bad name if you don't mind naming your kid after someone who couldn't be trusted to do anything else with his life other than follow sheep around the hills.

For another thing, the way it's misspelled is particularly bad. "Pard" means "spotted", so you just named your kid "spotted female". I'm sure he'll thank you for that later.

And a third thing: I know this person named their kid after McDreamy. Don't pretend you didn't. It's ok; both of my kids are indirectly named after Sex in the City (although my husband vehemently denies it). I just did it with a tad more subtlety.

I'll try to keep this updated for your viewing pleasure. Fair warning: I have a twisted sense of humor, and NO patience when it comes to bad names. Just get me started sometime on the poor football player named Jaquizz....