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.