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November 27, 2011

Funny and cruel names folks give their kids.

My Name is Prince


Okay - maybe not so funky.  But I heard this song today (a toe tapper for sure) and it reminded me of a post I wanted to write regarding names folks give their kids. Let' start with the Purple One.

Seems that Prince's pop was in a piano player is a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. His real name was John Nelson and his stage name was Prince Rogers. John decided to name his kid after his stage name and in 1958, when the purple one popped out (good gawd - bad visual there) he was christened Prince Rogers Nelson. Now Prince got a break there. His father's band could have just as easily been the Jolly Rogers Trio and that would have not worked out quite as well (MY NAME IS JOLLY! AND I AM - UM - ER - I AM...WHAT THE FOK - NOTHING RHYMES WITH JOLLY - DOLLY?? - FOK IT  - I'LL BE A PIRATE). Anyway.......

Prince's father has said that he named his son Prince because he wanted him to do everything that he wanted to do (geez - no pressure there). But at least  he had a childhood nickname - Skipper. Another break - could just have easily been Gilligan. As we all know, he eventually changed his name to the Love Symbol (a combination of the symbols for male and female (hidden message?) and then eventually back to Prince. All in all I think Prince worked out just fine for him.

At least better then it did for this Prince - still waiting to be King.

Guess the point being that just because we know of some folks who had - well, let's say less then traditional names, it doesn't mean that there out a whole lot of Princes out there who got the living crap beat out of them in Junior High and are now on a combination dosage of Xanax and Valium (hmmm, now that I think of it - these would be pretty good names - "Xanax, if you don't calm down I'm going to....").  

Forget it, I'm pretty sure that some celebrity somewhere has already named their kids this and already had the heated argument over whether Valium is a boys name or a girls name. I feel sorry for celebrity kids (at least in this department) as the odd names are indeed plentiful. Just a few examples to make the point:
  •  Arthur Ashe (tennis player) named his daughter Camera. I'm sure if she were born today rather then decades ago he would have picked Ipad.
  • Tori Braxton (singer) named her sons Demin and Deizel (personally, I would have gone with Jeans and Truck - but I am a little on the eccentric side).
  • Richard Gere (actor) named his son Homer. Now I know what your thinking - Homer is a fine name and he was after all an epic Greek poet. Yeah, I guess - but which Homer do you think he will be associated with by his classmates (Doh!!!!).
  • Gwyneth Paltrow (actress) named her daughter Apple (holy Moses). As a note, she named her son Moses.
  • Amy Adams (actress) named her daugther Aviana Olea (I think there first choice was Aerola Clitoris - so it could have been much worse).
  •  Frank Zappa (some say singer) gave his children the following names - Dweezil (son)  Ahmet Emuukha Rodan (son), Moon Unit (daughter) and Diva Muffin (daughter).  How did that naming conversation with the misses go? - "Well, you like Diva - I like Muffins - what the fok, let's just combine them." (Don't do drugs).
 There are many, many others, but the champ has to be George Foreman (boxer).
 I know what you're thinking - I'm picking on George because of our title match - the Brawl of the Balds"  - back in 1978. Sure, it still steams me - the guy head butted me twice and hit below the belt all fight long (friggin cheater) - but, I assure you, that has nothing to do with the post.
Foreman has 10 children, and each of his five sons is named George: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. (don't ask me what happened to George II). He has two daughters, Freeda George and Georgetta. C'mon dude - did I really hit you that hard? Couldn't think of more then one name?
This is a very long winded way of saying that celebrities seem to have a penchant for picking names for their kids like Dunn Edwards does for paint (I'll name her Misty Sky Blue) and Ben and Jerry do for ice cream (Yes, I Iike the classics - he shall be called Rocky Road).
Now, they are not alone. Your average American can be crazy too. This story from MSNBC.MSN.COM:


The father of 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, denied a birthday cake with the child's full name on it by one New Jersey supermarket, is asking for a little tolerance. Heath Campbell and his wife, Deborah, are upset not only with the decision made by the Greenwich ShopRite, but with an outpouring of angry Internet postings in response to a local newspaper article over the weekend on their flare-up over frosting."I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they've been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past," Heath Campbell said Tuesday in an interview conducted in Easton. 

First, they named their kid Adolf Hitler (arrrrgh) and then their excuse is they are focusing on the future! (as a note - and this is the God's honest truth - they have a daughter and they named her JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell). Sooooo - guess those kids are set for the good life.

We got to do a better job. Ought to be some rules here. I am convinced that, as well as having it get the crapped kicked out of you in high school,  your name can have an effect on your destiny. 
  • Anthony Weiner ruined his life by taking a picture of his (as a note, I think the same thing may have happened had his parents gone the Arthur Ashe route and named him Camera).
  • Amy Winehouse dies from an alcohol overdose.
  • Frank McCourt  ends up spending half his life in one. 
  • Bernie Madoff - Made off with our money.
  • Dick Cheney - is one.
And on and on. You know if you name your kid Google they are doomed to spend the rest of their life searching for who they really are. So, let's have some ground rules (and yeah - I'm talking to you too celebrities) for the monikers we're going to hang on our kids' heads for the rest of their lives. No one has to abide them - it's a Free Country (certainly someone has named their kid that), so just consider them suggestions. Here goes:


Don't name your kids so that they sound like are characters from Lord of the Rings. Think we'll call this the Sarah Palin rule (Piper, Willow, Bristol??? - c'mon - what movie were you watching at the time?). If she has another kid I'd bet my left nut that it's going to be either Peregrin or Denethor). I know it's tempting, but leave the character names in Avatar, Princess Diaries, Harry Potter and the ilk to the big screen.


Last names that should kill first names, Here is a real example. Ernie Ball was a great guitar player and revolutionized the manufacturing and selling of guitar strings. He had two sons - Sterling and Sherwood. I'm sorry, if your last name is Ball there are some first names you are just going to have to take a pass on certain first names. You can't use Harry or Dick anymore then you could use Lickamy,  and I would certainly include Sterling and Sherwood in the list of no-nos.

There are obviously some first name/last name problematic combos that go without saying (although I guess I'm going to say anyway):
  • If your last name is Potter then Harry is out.
  • If your last name is Monroe then Marilyn is out (note: I have not yet decided if you can use Norma if you last name is Jean yet - but, probably not).
  • If your last name is Manson then Charlie is certainly a no go. Also may want to consider nuking Marilyn as well (that seems to be coming a very problematic first name).
  • If your last name is Marx, you can't go with Karl, Groucho or Harpo - although Chico may be okay (as a note, you shouldn't go with Groucho or Harpo regardless of your last name).
  • If your last name is Einstein it doesn't take a genius to figure out you should avoid Albert.
Now some folks just get screwed because some m-fer smears what would otherwise be a p
perfectly good name. I am sure that there are tthousands of Timothy McVeighs and Jeffrey Dalhmers in the country and I personally know a half-dozen Jim Jones. For these, we just need to let pass - time will heal. However, if your last name is Stalin, I'm sorry - Joseph has to go in the trash bin.


Seems to be a growing trend to name a kid after an inanimate object. There are kids given the first name of Tercel, Marriot, Camry, Hilton and the like. I know that some will say that the parents are just naming the child in honor after where they were conceived (in which case my two kids could have been named Corrola (I know Lexus has a better ring to it - but I was poor at the time) and Hammock (I was more flexible when I was younger). I think the more likely scenario is that people are just looking around and picking out the first thing they happen to see. I think Gwyneth's Apple could have just as easily been Pear or Avocado (although I trust that she would have drawn the line at Cumquat).  Anyway, if it is a thing - I would avoid naming your kid after it.

There is a growing trend to name kids after cities and their are some common, and I would say relatively appealing, ones - Dallas, Austin, Madison and the like. So, there are some that okay - but remember the appealing ones are basically cities that were named after a person. Be cautious of just jumping on the the trend here - let's avoid the Yuma, Butte, and Boise's of the world. You may also want to avoid City names that have more then one genesis (i.e, was Casper Weinberger named after the city in Wyoming of the ghost?).


Over the last thirty years or so we have come to picking traditional names with - what we think are - unique spellings. It all started innocent enough. We got to - Sean, Shaun, Shawn and Ryan, Ryann, Ryanne,  through an organic process. But if you google any kids name suggestion site you will see a growing number of folks looking to take traditional names and make them different through spelling. I'm not totally opposed to this but I am certainly weary. Could it be too long before we see Eileen joined by Ilean, Eyeleeen and Ayeleen? And how much time do you really want to have your kids spend spelling their names ("no, it's Shyuan with a Y").

The latest trend is to take a name and flip it backwards. For example, Nevaeh has grown to number 70 on the chart of most popular kids names. Why? - because Nevaeh is Heaven spelled backwards (personally I think Hell is Heaven spelled backwards). Regardless, we got to nip this practice in the bud (how the fok do you think we got stuck with Otto).


I may be showing some ambivalence here (hmmm - Ambivalence - pretty name for a girl? - I can't decide) because I'm not sure that the potential for teasing should be a factor in name selection. But we should talk about it.

Some names just lend themselves to cruel retorts by the evil demons that inhabited all of our playgrounds. I personally like the name Cooper - but you just know that is going to be Cooper the Pooper on the jungle gym. Julius is going to become Julie, etc.

You know, forget it - you'll never get rid of teasing regardless of the name. Kids take even run of the mill names and screw with them. When I was six, I had a friend named Simon who was taunted as Simple Simon in grade school and called Semen in high school. Now I could see the inevitable teasing if the poor kid was named Sparm, but Simon? So, kids are going to be kids. Assuming you are picking a generally normal name (are you listening readers who a second ago thought - "You know, I kind of like that Sparm idea")- I wouldn't take teasing it into account.

Okay - screw the rules, I'm boring myself now. I guess, overall is okay to be creative with names - but I think we ought not to pick a kids name less based on how it reflects on us (ooooh - you're so unique) and more on what we would pick if the kid had a vote in the matter. And, at the end of the day, sure - it's cool to be creative - just don't replicate or twist what some one else has already done.

Take Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest. He recently changed his name to Meta World Peace. For my money, that it is way to close to World B Free - a moniker invented by basketball star Lloyd Bernard Free about 30 years ago.

I think Ron Artest missed a golden opportunity here. If he   had simply changed his name to the Prince of Peace he would be known as the Prince formerly known as Artest.


Damn, I really like that song!