Waiting for something.

I love news stories that really challenge my expectations, and this one certainly did:

A day after the state announced a streamlined process for getting a voting-only ID, long lines at some PennDOT offices forced patrons to wait for hours on Wednesday.

“I’ve been here for two-and-a-half hours,” said (Elsie) Torres, who ultimately waited more than three hours to receive her ID.

Other patrons who spoke with this reporter at the PennDOT center at 8th and Arch streets said that they had to wait between one and four hours to get an ID that will allow them to vote Nov. 6 under a new state law.

Poor people lead difficult lives, and the idea of spending three hours of a single day standing in line to get…an ID? Is pretty amazing. We’ll see how this election goes. But when this happens, people willing to get back up after being knocked down, it’s heartening. This stuff is important.

Although I hate that “this reporter” usage. If you can’t go full first-person and say “me,” just say they spoke to the Associated Press. At least, that is this reporter’s position.

And speaking of poor people, did anyone see Frontline this week? “Dropout Nation” was a stab right in the heart, a look at four high school students in a single high school at high risk for not finishing. It’s a school in Houston where kids are mostly poor and mostly non-white, and most of the teachers we see aren’t. But they are heroes, professionals who give their students everything. The students are truly tragic characters, born two miles from the racetrack when everyone else is assembling on the starting line, failed by every significant adult in their lives. (Some even before they’re born. Who names a girl “Sparkle,” for cryin’ out loud?) You can watch the whole thing at the link. It’s long, but I recommend it.

Eh, if I get through this week it’ll be something of a miracle, but I’m lurching toward the finish line.

So let’s get there, eh?

Posted at 12:25 am in Current events |

127 responses to “Waiting for something.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 28, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Sparkle. Nautica. Courvoisier. Chablis. Wysh. Nevaeh. You’re reading off the first names on my truancy referral files over the past twelve months. But Katie is still the one most pimped over by the significant adults in her life, including, as Joe Biden would say, literally. (Names lightly rearranged to protect the tender sensibilities of the juvenile justice system.)

    I carry a half-dozen alarm clocks in my trunk because some kids can’t even get an adult in their lives to take them down to Dollar General to spend $4. Doubt I’ll watch the video.

    Sorry to be in such a nasty mood lately; just lost a woman very like Moe, about her age, from my congregation, whose ex, having walked out on her and three kids thirty blinkin’ years ago, kept showing up in the family conferences about what care to extend and withhold, loudly expounding his biker truths about life and letting go. It was too often a near thing between keeping one of the sons from jumping Father Harley’s sorry 60 year old butt and cutting in line and kicking him down the hall myself. Advance directives are good, but when your family is split three ways on what to do when you’re unconscious, they suddenly seem to become nothing more than note paper to write bp levels on.

    Anyhow, God gave her a hall pass this morning, and the rest of us get to sort out the memorial, and pray that I find the right tone to take with Mr. I-left-when-it-suited-me now that he’s back and full of opinions, and Jack Daniels.

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  2. Dexter said on September 28, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Daiquiri. A drink family usually containing lime juice and rum. Or the name a mother I know gave her baby daughter.

    Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz of msnbc and Stephanie Miller and her morning zoo of Current TV have touched on the ID problems of the elderly, especially. It’s hard to get a birth certificate in Philadelphia when maybe you were born in Alabama seventy-some years ago , delivered by a midwife, and you have no such papers. I played baseball with a guy my age , eighteen, in 1968…he was from Birmingham, Alabama and back then it was a strict law that we had to carry a draft card. He had none. I asked him how he got by with no draft card for ID…hell, he didn’t have to worry about any draft…he officially didn’t exist, no birth record, no mailing address, strictly life on the DL. Bizarre, eh?

    I was summoned years ago for jury selection pool, but I had to decline and was excused because I have a hip condition that takes a lot of “working around” to just get by…and sitting on any sort of hard or firm regular chair or bench causes intense pain. That’s the only unpleasant “thing” IO ever escaped doing. No military deferment, no sit-on-my-ass-job, no gift of property or cash…nothin’…and…loving it!

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  3. Deborah said on September 28, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Jeff tmmo, you mentioned Moe which makes me think about her again. I actually think about her a lot.

    I will read the story about voter IDs and watch the Frontline video later in the day, I’m afraid I won’t be able to go back to sleep if I do that now.

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  4. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Those are my three favorite NNall comments in a row ever. Moe is a great memory. Jeff is a moral light. GOPer voter suppression is a very real thing and you’d hope it would seriously cause voters to understand that GOPers are not on their sides, How can people be this fracking stupid and vote so clearly against their own interests? Do these dumbshits actually believe they are inside some GOP big tent? Seriously? How is it possible anybldy is that stupid?

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  5. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

    zcz,Here’s the deal. It is jobs jobs jobs except for the party about jobs, that actualy never fot voted on in 2011 in the Houze while they voted more than 40 times to to rescind ACA. Somwrhing is wrong with these aholes, Boner did say that shit, right> Turns out, Obama has rlcuced jobs, gnxt ll odds.

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  6. Linda said on September 28, 2012 at 5:47 am

    JTMMO, my sister, who spent her adult life working among the elderly, would not be surprized by that family of the dying woman. She often said that in such cases, many of the people putting in the strongest, most contentious arguments were ones with motivations that were not really about the patient (often, guilt), and that the members who were most non-involved when things counted often showed up to put their guilty two cents in and cause a commotion.

    Re: the odd girl naming. I onced worked with a guy who was principle of a school for unwed girls in New Orleans, and one of his charges was Bambi. Who he said met her Thumper early in life.

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  7. Kristen said on September 28, 2012 at 6:48 am

    School teachers are a good source for unusual names…they’ve seen/heard ’em all. A few stand out in my mind: Chanel (for a boy!) and Desire (if memory serves, it was pronounced “Desiree” but spelled like desire. Hmph.

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  8. David C. said on September 28, 2012 at 7:47 am

    My sister is a school secretary. They have a Le-a. Pronounced Ledasha. I read about a boy named Daevydd. Why would any parent make up a stupid name or misspell a perfectly good one. It’s seems like they’re sentencing a kid to a life of ridicule and name spelling for their own narcissism.

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  9. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

    There’ve been lots of resume studies (i.e., studies in which the respondent is asked to make a selection decision based on a fake resume) showing that these “creative” names are a big disadvantage when it comes to hiring. “Applicants” with a particular set of credentials attached to a standard name are much more likely to be selected for interviews than “applicants” with identical credentials and a name that suggests minority group membership.

    Of course, it would be better if the world didn’t work that way, but, on the whole, it does. It may be that that will change as the population changes, but I don’t think we’re there yet. Given the heavy use of electronic resumes, it would also be possible to separate names from credentials. Anyone heard of companies that do that?

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  10. beb said on September 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

    What, no Tequilas among the list of unfortunate names to saddle a kid with?

    That’s a sad story, Jeff, about the ex coming back to screw around with a woman’s passing. Sometimes I think thee ought to be a common law divorce just as there is a common law marriage. Desert a spouse for seven years and you’re no longer considered married to them.

    I hope that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will void the Voter ID law, if only on the grounds that there won’t be enough time for everyone to get their ID before the election. And clearly, too, there needs to be other routes to proving one’s identity besides a birth certificate. And, actuaklly, a birth certificate is a lousy form of identification. It just says a male or female child was born at such and such a time and place. There’s no way of saying that this person was that child. In any case proof of residency seems like a better indicator. It doesn’t matter who you were born as, as much as what name you do business as now.

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  11. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Something else I wouldn’t do (in addition to giving a kid a weird name, that is): Buy a copy of Michelle Obama’s convention dress. It’s a beautiful dress, and I thought she looked terrific in it. But why would anyone want to look just like a someone else–especially someone who is reasonably likely to look better in the dress than you do?

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  12. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Ann Gerhart had a piece in the WaPo re the Pennsylvania voter ID issue. It took the person she followed four hours to get her voting-only ID. And she sounded like a pretty well put together person who came prepared w/ the required info.

    As I understand it, there’s still a possibility that the law will be invalidated for this year’s elections. Apparently, the judge hearing the case was giving off hints that, although the law was constitutional, it had not been passed in time or implemented in a way that would guard against disenfranchising potential voters. Should be a final decision in the next few days.

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  13. alex said on September 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I may have mentioned it here before, but I once witnessed a divided family funeral that turned ugly. This was for the father of a high school friend. Dad had run off with another woman some twenty years previously but never officially tied the knot. Mom was remarried by this time. Dad was in the hospital terminally ill. Six divided children fought over pulling the plug because Dad didn’t leave advance directives. A doctor proposed amputating Dad’s diabetic legs, suggesting it might prolong his existence never mind he’d likely never emerge from his comatose state, and the kids were at each other’s throats over whether to do this. And shutting Dad’s significant other out of the whole process. They did the amputations, he didn’t live three days more and Dad’s meager estate went into the red because of it.

    Then came the funeral. Vindictive Mom shows up and takes over the entire affair. Three of her adult children bodily eject Dad’s significant other and her family and call her all sorts of filthy names. It was more than I could bear to watch.


    Speaking of the name game, one that I still can’t shake from my mind is a young lady named Bree’Essenz. I suppose her mother thought the apostrophe was necessary with the three E’s together.

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  14. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

    My dad claimed to have come upon a kid in well-baby rounds named Placenta, and a mom that said “When the nurse said it it sounded so nice”. I taught HS in the south. I have come across many a bizarre possibility, and it is a minefield for a white male teacher, believe me. I developed some sort of protective ability to say these names correctly, but shit, Formica Dinette was always lurking.

    Speaking of strange names, have any of y’all ever read the exquisite short stories written by Breece D’J Pancake? I heard about this cat and bought a collection for my mom, who loved it. I’m not a fan of short fiction. I prefer digging in for the long haul. But the Breece and the T. Boyle short stories? Those are worth th short time investment. And as far as T.C. Boyle is concerned, Water Music is as funny and brilliant as any book anybody ever wrote. Fielding would be proud, and I fart on thee.

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  15. Heather said on September 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Alex, that kind of situation is what I bring up when people say, “Why get married? It’s just a piece of paper.”

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  16. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Destiny is another popular one, as in I got knocked up kid, so I guess you’re my destiny. Nevaeh is heaven spelled backward so is popular among the fundies.

    And in the bad old days of the license bureau, 2 1/2 hours was SOP for any procedure. This year I was able to renew my license online and skip the place entirely.

    At the risk of looking foolish I’m going to share my experience yesterday in the hope it saves someone else from repeating it. I got home after a busy day of appointments and errands and found my internet out. Did all the standard things; trying other computers, unplugging the router, going through diagnostics on the computer. Finally I noticed a reset button on the router, and this is where I made a fatal mistake–I took a pencil and poked that button.

    I’ll spare you the many hours of frustration and on-hold time and just tell you that you should never, ever touch the reset button, because it wipes out your wifi network. It turns out that the internet was actually down and there wasn’t anything wrong with my computers or router, until I pushed the reset button.

    Deborah is counting down until her retirement and I’m counting down until my vacation, 19 days. Happy weekend, all.

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  17. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Jolene, the bastards have admitted the voter ID bidness is a fraud aimed at preventing legitimate voters from voting. There is no voter ID fraud. GOPers are no longer trying to claim that bullshit. In Texas, your UT student ID is no good, but if you have a concealed carry ID, you are good to go. Can these bastards be more transparent?

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  18. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Dang this no-editing, I forgot to say that after growing up with a last name that no one could pronounce or spell, I gave my kids plain-jane names on purpose. I’d had enough uniqueness.

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  19. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Julie, Enjoy every sandwich. And it’s always helpful to assume Warren’s perspective:


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  20. Suzanne said on September 28, 2012 at 9:18 am

    There is a billboard in Fort Wayne put up by one of the local hospitals. It has an LED sign at the top listing the first and middle names of babies born the past few days. I have to look twice when there is a name like John Edward or Sarah Rose. Most of them are oddly spelled (Sayrah) or have apostrophes in odd places (E’edwayrd).

    I know a Porsche, a Tarshia, several whose names start with La, and one I can’t either spell or pronounce which involves two consonants separated by an apostrophe. At some point I met a woman with twin daughters that she had named something like Quintilla and Quintella. No confusion there! And then there is the ubiquitous Neveah which is Heaven spelled backwards.

    I, too, have run across several business types who have told me that they will toss a resume in a hot second if the name is extremely bizarre, unpronounceable, or non-gender specific.

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  21. LAMary said on September 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I know a woman who named her first daughter Astrid. Nothing wrong with that. Second daughter she decided to name Astrid backwards. Dirtsa. She could not be convinced it was a bad idea.

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

    The woman in question had fairly detailed advance directives. Hahahaha, he laughed grimly.

    Meanwhile, sitting in this rural McD’s parking lot, what the heck do you say to a 14 year old boy who knows Mom’s meth habit is why the family is always broke? And why her teeth are rotting and hair falling out? I had nothing.

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  23. Deborah said on September 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Then there’s the urban myth about the brothers named lemonjello and Orangejello, with the accent on the second syllable. Everone I have heard tell that story swears they knew them or their teacher, in various cities. I knew a guy in college first name was Foch and his last name was one letter away from penis. Who would do that to a kid?

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  24. Michael said on September 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Who names a girl Sparkle? Last night I watched a pundit on MSNBC (Lawrence O’Donnel’s “The Last Word) named Krystal Ball. I had a hard time taking her seriously.

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  25. Kim said on September 28, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Cashmoney, pronounced Cazh-moe-nay – straight from L.A. County Public Schools. BobNG, remember when we had a colleague named LaTrina, or was that between your runs?

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  26. Kim said on September 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

    MichaelG – she ran for the Congress, 1st Congressional District in VA!

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  27. Judybusy said on September 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

    So, Suzanne, this person wouldn’t hire a Pat, a Robin or even a Jodi–which my true first name? Or bizarre + non-gender specific?

    My mom and I recently had the health care directive talk. She has one, and told me what she’s willing to have done. I am named the decision-maker, because she knows I’ll do what I’m told if and when the time comes. She worried that my sister would be too emotional about it. My brothers live out of state and we sisters are closer to my mom.

    These decisions are hard, though. In 1995 my sister gave birth very early, at 22 weeks. My mom remembers I am the one who told my sister it was time to let go after a week. I recall a lot about that time, but not that conversation. My mom thought it was one of the best things I did for my sister. By coincidence, my dad and brothers were in state when it happened, and so we–and the baby’s paternal relatives–were all together when they took him off the machines. It was profoundly sad.

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  28. Kirk said on September 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Former short-time NFL player: Cleveland Pittsburgh Crosby

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  29. Deborah said on September 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Another urban myth name is Nosmo King, the mother was inspired while in labor as she was wheeled to the delivery room past the no smoking sign. Don’t believe it for a minute.

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  30. del said on September 28, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Wow Jeff. Good luck in your work…

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  31. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Remember, parents, a name is the first gift you give your child.

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  32. MarkH said on September 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Kirk, Nancy, don’t know if you every heard of a certain legend in radio ad sales in Columbus. He is long dead now but was working in the ’50s, 60s and early ’70s. His last name was Comfort. His first name? Real. Middle name? Cozy. No kidding. Real Cozy Comfort. He loved to prove it to doubters by showing his driver’s license. He spent his sales career with WBNS radio and was frequently the top biller in the city.

    Legend has it that he and some of his cronies were having drinks, telling war stories at the Leather Bottle (now there’s a surprise) when the new guy at WRFD talked about how good he was going to do in ad sales there. Comfort took a swig of he Heineken and said, “I’ll outbill the whole station”. And he did.

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  33. MichaelG said on September 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Kim, I live in CA not VA. California’s First Cong Dist runs along the north coast. I live in the fifth which is Sacto.

    There are several Valley Congressional seats in play. The TV ads are interesting. None of them mention the candidate’s party affiliation either verbally or in the graphics. One race in particular is amusing because the Rep. candidate accuses the Dem. of standing for all the things the Tea Baggers espouse while pretending to sound like Nancy Pelosi.

    There is no race in my district. Doris Matsui may have a challenger but I certainly don’t know who he or she may be.

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  34. alex said on September 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Another urban myth is the baby named Female (pronounced like Tamale).

    Dirtsa? Rhymes with NRTSA, which was shorthand in a publishing house where I used to work for “nobody reads this shit anyway.” A NRTSA assignment was one that could be pushed off on one of the less favored editorial staff.

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  35. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

    To follow up Jeff’s comment: I second Nancy’s recommendation of the Frontline show on dropping out. Really amazing to realize how alone some kids are. At the end of the show, the realization that it has focused on only four kids hits you in the face. As the show unfolds, the incredibly capable and compassionate adults portrayed in it appear to be spending all their time trying to save these four kids from their lousy homes and their own bad decisions, but they are, of course, only a few of the kids in that one school that need that kind of help. Again, what a world.

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  36. alex said on September 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Calling all Northeast Indianians:

    Just spoke with a dear friend who hosted a fund-raiser last night for Kevin Boyd, who’s running for Congress against Stutz the Yutz. She says he’s quite impressive and we need to get the word out that the incumbent teabagger doofus has a far-more-than-worthy challenger. Barring Stutz getting caught with his putz up some butts, I doubt there’s much of a chance of unseating him. But there’s always hope.

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  37. Charlotte said on September 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Jeff — as the 14 year old with the alcoholic mother what I would have wanted to hear was — 1) yes, it’s true and you’re not making it up, 2) no, it’s not your fault and there’s nothing you can do to stop it and 3) get through the next 3 years of high school with the best grades you can muster so you can get out of here. Or go find a job where someone might take you under their wing. My brother worked for our godfather on the horse show circuit for years — grooming is hard work, but it saved his life. Got him out of the house, making his own money, and had people looking out for him.
    The hardest part of getting out for me was that my brother was 3 years behind me in school (we weren’t that far apart in age, but I was ahead and he repeated a grade when everything went to hell early on). We seriously considered whether he could come to Champaign with me and finish high school there — as it was, he combined his senior year of high school with his freshman year at an alternative college. It was hard. Really hard and we had lots and lots of advantages that those kids don’t. We barely made it with all sorts of advantages (and considering 9 years ago today Patrick died in a drunk driving accident, I guess you could say only one of us made it. Sigh.) — two of my younger cousins, whose mother died when they were kids and whose father was a dick who left them with a stepmother who abused them — they didn’t make it. One wound up in jail, the other makes a living but is deeply damaged.
    As the famous line from the movie Parenthood goes “You have to get a license to catch a fish. You have to get a license to drive a car. But they’ll let any asshole have a baby.”

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  38. Judybusy said on September 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Charlotte, my condolences to you with your brother. What a shame he did not get to live longer to enjoy his life.

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  39. Judybusy said on September 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Oh, totally out of left field, but this book, a retelling of the Odyssey, looks just amazing.

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  40. Bitter Scribe said on September 28, 2012 at 11:41 am

    As someone with a highly unusual first name, I have three words of advice for parents who want to give their kids one: DON’T DO IT.

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  41. nancy said on September 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

    You guys are making me feel bad. Kate’s given name, Katharine, is one of the oldest in human history, but we did go for the slightly offbeat spelling — I just like the way that second A looks on the page, and it’s hardly unprecedented. Did I do the wrong thing?

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  42. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Yes, Nancy. Yes you did. For shame.

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  43. LAMary said on September 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Katharine is fine. Just don’t use it backwards for the next kid. Enirahtak? Sounds like a deity or planet in some cult.

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  44. alex said on September 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Of course not. Nobody ever thought Katharine Hepburn’s name looked silly.

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  45. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    That heaven/neveah thing sounds more like devil worship to me. I think it’s entirely appropriate to start a rumor that the kid’s been called up from the flaming recesses of the netherworld.
    And I’ll bet every teacher in the US has received a note with some kind of variation on: why are you mispronouncing/mis-spelling dear Maddyesonne’s name, it’s not that hard etc.

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  46. basset said on September 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Terre Haute police blotter in the early 80s: Epluribus Jones. Stole an air conditioner, as I recall.

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Charlotte, the best I could do in that setting was to say “Of course you’re angry that there’s no money. Of course you want the yelling to stop. That’s perfectly reasonable to me. Now, Mom, what can we and the school do to help you get things calmed down at home until [situation which was made the main issue which clearly isn’t] is resolved?”

    My best hope is that while platitudes were exchanged to conclude the official interaction, the young man in question made eye contact with me and the lead counselor towards the end, and as we parted, shaking hands because that’s what you do when you’re ending a difficult conversation behind closed doors and hugs are not in the protocol. He looked straight at me, and I hope I’m not just hoping that what I saw was the realization for him that “no, I’m not crazy, and these adults just told me I’m not crazy, or bad.” And maybe “so I guess I’d better just get to school and avoid extra drama.”

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  48. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    My only known offspring is Emily. I say she’s named for a great novelist. Her mom says she’s named for a great poet. I guess we’re both right and I still love her mom. And she’s preggers with grandchild #2. I’d say she’s her own walkman. And I like her guy, pretty much.

    Oh and reading back in NYT, The folks that made Detropia are the same ladies that made Jesus Camp, which was a hellofalot scarier. Fewer children browbeaten in the current.

    Alex, I thing Katharine Hepburn never allowed anybody the opportunity. And LA Mary: That would be Lovecraftian. And I won’t do the backward and upside down thing, though I have it bookmarked.

    You guys do know Nomar Garciaparra has his dad’s name backwards. My dad was a Norman and I thank God he and my mom named me for an archangel instead of some stunt. But being a Michael in the 50s and 60s was not that great. Nuns seemed to lump all of us together.

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  49. Maggie Jochild said on September 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Katharine is beautiful and has a deep history she can lean on. One of my treasured legacies are the old and solid names I was given, despite fuck-all else in the way of material posterity.

    Here’s David Mitchell’s rant about responsibly naming your child: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xblh12XgQ4o

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  50. coozledad said on September 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    According to Spy, some New York City police detective kept a list of unusual names of people he booked. He was a racist horse’s ass, but I guess it was worth it for someone to make sure the name “Columbus Dicks” will not be lost to posterity.
    If I ever get an English Bulldog, that’s what I’m calling him.

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  51. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    My initial idea for naming my child, that her mom kiboshed:


    Had she been a boy, she would have been Evan. Thank god she was born with a vagina.

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  52. Connie said on September 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    My Julie Ann is named after the queen. Who I thought was our queen until I was in second grade because grandma talked about the queen all the time.

    I had a college friend named Kate Hunsucker who was really looking forward to marrying John Smith.

    I have worked with a LaToya, and currently work with Latonia. One is white, one is African-American.

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  53. Connie said on September 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I always she is named after the queen and rarely say which Queen unless asked. LAMary will know of course, if you remember where I am from you will know too.

    I also ask every Julie I meet what their middle name is and way more than half of them are Julie Ann in some form.

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  54. kayak woman said on September 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Until I read this comment thread, I thought “Ms.Dollie” was the strangest name I had ever encountered. It belonged to a sparkly little munchkin, the youngest of four or five siblings who attended my kids’ elementary school for maybe six weeks.

    On naming babies in general, I named my first Elizabeth and she loves the name and many of its associated nicknames. Second kid? Kathleen… HATES her name and has been going by “Mouse” since the age of 18 months. She does use her real name when necessary but people take her pretty seriously as Mouse once the formalities are out of the way.

    Actually, I have never been fond of my name either. Anne. My whole life, whenever my mom used it to get my attention, it sounded like someone had pushed a buzzer. At least she had the good sense to put an “e” on the end of it.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    To prove your point, Connie, I am Julianne Jean. I had two friends named Julianne, with no middle name, and Julie Ann. So there you go.

    Jefftmmo, you are fighting the good fight. Bless you for doing what most of us aren’t able to. I hope you know how important even one positive adult can be in a child’s life.

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  56. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Yes, Ann is a very common middle name, especially for women of a certain age. It’s simple and pretty on its own and goes well with many things. One of my sisters is Judith Ann–a common name in the early baby boomer years, but completely out of fashion now.

    I think I’ve said before that, if I have to give my name to go on a form or some such thing, I always spell it as soon as I say it. Even then, people often have to correct what they’ve written, as they’ve gone ahead with what they expected to hear rather than what I was saying.

    I was well into adulthood before I ever heard of or met another Jolene, a consequence perhaps of living in the Upper Midwest. Having heard my name before meeting me, one of my grad school colleagues thought I must be Southern or possibly black–both of which seemed bizarre to me then. But, ever since Dolly Parton set my name to music, I’ve had to accept that people meeting me for the first time might be surprised to learn that I grew up on lefse, not hush puppies.

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  57. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Tim Allen talked about his real last name (Dick) in one of his books. He mentioned that his aunt and uncle had named his cousin Peter and followed up with some kind of ‘who does that?’ comment. I guess he got into some trouble with his family for exposing (hah) the family to ridicule.

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  58. paddyo' said on September 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Fat cats play the lame name game, too — Bill Lear, of Learjet fame, lived in Reno at one time, and when I was a reporter starting out there, I remember learning that Mr. and Mrs. Lear had a daughter, whom they named Crystal Shanda . . .

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  59. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    All you Ann(e)s out there:
    My sister’s middle name is Anne, correctly spelled if you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables.
    My first visual remembrance of the name is Ann, correctly spelled if you are a little Catholic kid who read David and Ann instead of Dick and Jane.
    As a no-longer Catholic and an AGG fan, I prefer Anne. The name of queens and spunky book characters, Anne is.

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  60. Little Bird said on September 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I’m pretty happy with my name, even though virtually no one can pronounce it properly. Jena. One “n”. Folks want to call me Gina. And those who have heard it but have not seen it in print give it two “n”s.
    And technically it should be pronounced yay-na, as I was named after a town in Germany.

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  61. nancy said on September 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    A lawyer in Columbus, a big Ohio State fan with the last name of Gray, named his daughter Scarlet Ann. I always thought that was grounds for shanking the old man as he slept, but apparently she’s embraced it.

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  62. Mindy said on September 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Anyone else in Fort Wayne ever get distracted by that hospital sign at Parnell and N. Clinton? It scrolls names of babies born within the past week to ten days and should be removed because it’s too much of a hazard. Names like D’Arius D’Andre and Lyneesha Roseena make it hard to pay attention to the road. Occasionally there’s a real shocker like Herman Carl or India Jane in the mix. Most of the names are either over-the-top mash-ups or terribly old-fashioned. Poor kids. No monogrammed items for their weddings.

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  63. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I always enjoyed the name my mother and daddy gave me, Michael. Its for the archangel, and in Hebrew means Like unto God. I doubt any of that crossed my mom’s and dad’s minds. But I was certainly brought up that way.

    And paddyo’, if that’s true, those are two more people I’d like to kill.

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  64. Scout said on September 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    My Mom was going through a French phase when I was born so I got stuck with Jeanne Louise. When I was a kid I often mis-spelled my middle name by forgetting the i. I go by Jeannie, although I spell it Jeanne. I get all kinds of creative pronunciations – Janine, Jee-ann, Jeena, but usually Jenny. Which became my coffee name because nobody ever asks me to spell it.

    My daughters both like their names – Angela Marie and Alexis Anne. I obviously didn’t think too hard about their middle names, which I later regretted.

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  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you all for letting me vent. I can vent a little more specifically here than I can on Facebook, and it does help. My mentor, Byron Arledge, spent a few terms as school board president for Akron (OH) City Schools, and never tires of pointing out that their key learning in getting their graduation rates from 47% to 74% (which in the 80’s was considered an excellent achievement) was this: the key factor in why a young person graduated from high school was not family income, ethnicity, number of home addresses, parent’s education levels, books in the home, or even basic testing results. The key factor, they found, was if the student had ONE person not an immediate family member who cared, and checked, on whether or not they intended to graduate. Arledge has always said that people would resist this statement, insisting it had to be something much more challenging.

    To which he would reply, sadly, “Oh, no, it’s hard to achieve that for all our children. Which is the only reason we haven’t done it already.” ONE adult person, not in their home, who cared and checked on their progress to graduation. It seems so simple until you try to figure out how to get that reality into every life in your building or district or county.

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  66. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Nance@61: Of course she did. Back, way back, they used to play football. Meanwhile, Junior QB Aaron Murray is working on his doctorate, and Denard Robinson is still claiming he is faster than Usain Bolt. What an idiot.

    Here’s the deal, Napalm Girl or Appalachian girl?


    You can still do something about the insane mountaintopping. Who thinks this is a good idea?

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  67. Dorothy said on September 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Julie I have a lovely niece who is Julianne too. Over the years she has gone back and forth to what she wants to be called. Sometimes it was Julie, other times the whole Julianne. Her sister Janet is the owner of the bookstore in Athens, GA. They call each other Rose, though! I’m not sure why but it’s kind of cute.

    My dad named me after a nun he had in school. I used to hate it, but I like it now. But I never meet another Dorothy who was born around the time I was. Most of them are 20-30 years older than me. I practically did a handspring when I heard a friend of a friend named her new baby Dorothy a few years ago!

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  68. LAMary said on September 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My sons are Peter Garret and Thomas Richard, which I think are nice, solid names, both with a middle names I borrowed from my brothers.

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  69. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Dorothy, the CBS Sunday Morning show had a feature some time back about women named Betty, a name that, like yours, was once very common. Kind of fun. I still like Dorothy, especially if pronounced a bit slowly so that you hear the middle syllable.

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  70. Linda said on September 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Re Scarlett Anne Gray. There was a couple in Arkansas, vociferous fans of that school, that named their son Ray Zorback.

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  71. Connie said on September 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    My husband just reminded me that his UP cousin named her son Cord Arrow. It took us awhile to realize she had named him after a soap opera character who was actually named Cordero.

    I’ve never met a Connie younger than I. We all seem to be about the same age. Think Connie Francis, Connie Stevens.

    My husband recently visited his great great grandmother’s gravestone in southern Indiana. Her name on the stone is Andaluza, although he is pretty sure spelling varied. http://aroundcommerce.blogspot.com/2012/09/andaluza-elmore.html

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  72. Catherine said on September 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Jeff tmmo, I second Julie and appreciate your sharing about your experiences with youth. One reason the BSA story, and the Penn State story, and the Catholic church stories, interest (and shock and appall) me is that I’m a Girl Scout leader. I haven’t had close to the situations that you describe, but I have had a couple where red flags were flying yet there was no clear evidence and the child in questions wasn’t talking/wasn’t being allowed to talk. I’m SO NOT a social worker, but friends who are counseled me to heed my gut and be prepared to find out the worst. I wasn’t able to help to the degree I wanted to, ultimately, but I do hope that while these girls were in my troop, they knew that there was a concerned adult who cared for them, believed in them, and listened to them.

    When I was in junior high in the 70s, I had a friend with a dad who was physically abusive. I didn’t see it clearly, being I think 11 or 12, but I said something (don’t remember what) to my stepmother that set off red flags for her. She pulled the friend aside, got the whole story, and called CPS. CPS visited the home and changes began there. Of course, I lost the friendship — the friend was embarrassed at the perceived humiliation to her family, I’m sure the father was angry — just a total social life mess in every way for me. I wasn’t happy but I recognized that my stepmom did the right thing. Even though the social norms were different in that day, she had the cojones to drop a dime on that dad and try to get the girl some help. And I think that is what I wonder about when I read these stories — and I think this does somewhat transcend time and place — what makes some people try to sweep this CRAP under the rug, and other people (like Jeff) go to the wall for kids?

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  73. Suzanne said on September 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    No, Nancy, Katharine is fine. If you wanted to fit in with child naming tendencies today, you would have named your kid Ka’thureene or something similar.

    I did once meet a woman named Lovely Flowers. Seems her given name was Lovely and married a guy with the last name of Flowers.

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  74. Heather said on September 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Some friends of mine gave their little girl a Pakistani name with an “s” in the middle of it–they insist it’s not pronounced correctly if you say it with the “z” sound, as most Americans would be inclined to do. Yeah, good luck with that.

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  75. Sherri said on September 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    We named our daughter Susan, which is surprisingly (to me) rare these days. There are a lot of Susans my age, but we’ve only encountered one other Susan her age. Susan Emily, and had we had a second daughter, Elizabeth Ruth. Just as well we didn’t have a son, because we never could agree on a boy’s name, but we had girls’ names picked out through the whole infertility process.

    Jeff(tmmo), I’ve seen what you say in action. A friend of mine, though not a social worker, just took some kids under her wing and managed to get them to graduate from high school even though their parents were either indifferent to or incapable of dealing with the situation. They were friends of her son. This wasn’t even a drug or alcohol situation (though I think one kid’s mom has mental health issues), just people not really capable of taking care of themselves, much less a kid.

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  76. Judybusy said on September 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I have a great fondness for the name Julieanne.I’m pretty sure I’ve told this story; she’s the one who pointed me in the direction of social work, for which I am so grateful. If I’d ever had kids, it would have been the top of the list for a girl name.

    And Jeff, I remember learning in school the impact just one positive adult can have on a child’s life. It’s amazing that relationship can do so much.

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  77. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Charlotte, how many people, including family members, routinely spell your name Charolette?

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  78. del said on September 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Wednesday I was introduced to a woman named “Abra.” Thankfully I resisted the puerile temptation to say, “Hi, my name’s Kadabra.” Later, during dinner she explained that she’d heard some variation of that quip every day of her life that she left the house. She said she’d been named after one of the wives of an Old Testament figure (his most intelligent wife).

    You’ve gotta be careful with biblical names. I met a guy named after Lot from the Old Testament. Whatever the biblical Lot’s sterling qualities might have been it’s kind of hard to get past his getting drunk and impregnating his two daughters.

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  79. del said on September 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    My sense of specialness began in early childhood — when I realized that my name was “Delmas.”

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  80. paddyo' said on September 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Del, I wonder if she’s also heard about a thousand times what she’ll be when she’s dead …

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  81. Sandy said on September 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Suzanne @73: I had a high school teacher named Lovely Flowers, probably the same woman — there couldn’t possibly be two!

    There are not many women my age with my name, Sandra. I was named after one of my dad’s former girlfriends, which illustrates my mother’s mellow personality. She and dad had a long, happy marriage.

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  82. Peter said on September 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Yes there are some interesting names out there, but my relatives could hold up their end in the name department: I have relatives named Bozidar, Seka, Zoran, Nebojsa, Slavin, Kika, and Veljko. And I didn’t know my mom’s maiden name until I was 18 – Leposava Vejmelka. Who, by the way, turns 86 tomorrow – that’s a lot of candles.

    I had a friend in college who worked in the maternity ward at Michael Reese. The nurses had a weekly pool, and the winner would be the nurse that could convince a new mom to name the baby after herself, which is why there are several 30 year old Amanda Marie’s around these parts.

    My best friend had an aunt named Carita, who found out she was named after a “friend” her dad met in France while he was in the Army.

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  83. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Lovely Flower? give her my email. That’s a Carson McCullers woman right there. And don’t tell the murderous woman I live with. Sherri, glad you transacted the infertility process succesfully. I love your intelligent posts and smart girl sports commentary is lacking. And I lobbied some for Ruth before my emily was born, but got nowhere. My mom was named Bernadette and she really didn’t like it, but throughout her redhaired spitfire life, Bernie fit her to a T.

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  84. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Then, there is Amanda Ruth:


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  85. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Maybe somebody like Danny can explain WTF is wrong with these fracking morons:


    And because just one Rank and File song is never enough:


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  86. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Both of my parents had sisters named Ruth, and both aunts were much beloved figures in our family, so the name is very dear to me.

    My mother was the youngest in a big Norwegian family, and some of the older kids had impressive names. The two best were Agnes Ingeborg and Lydia Gustava. You had to be tough to carry around names like those and eat lutefisk too.

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  87. Little Bird said on September 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I just remembered, I went to high school with a Johnnie Walker. He embraced the name and reveled in it.

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  88. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Them boys in Rank and File wished they were the Kirkwoods, I believe. Those Kirkwoods were the Meat Puppets boys:


    Damn that boy talks faster than he plays guitar. I’d say this is Safe for Work, since everyone will put down what they’re doing and rock ‘n’ roll for a few minutes.

    And this song should brighten the day of the worst depressive:


    It’s that irrepressible descant backup vocal from the demon bass player, who used to drive a big ol’ cafe o’ lait colored Bentley round Athens. Great as American exceptionalism has produced. I doubt they are RMoney supporters.

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  89. coozledad said on September 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Registration fraud funded through the state Republican parties of Florida, NC and VA.
    I wonder what their proposed GOTV operations would have consisted of.


    35-40 year jail sentences seem reasonable to me. These hacks were caught by board of elections employees, not by self-policing.

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  90. Deborah said on September 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I will add that Little Bird’s name was supposed to be pronounced Yay-na as she said earlier comes from a town in Germany which is also the name of a river that runs through the town. But no one would pronounce it the German way (to go with her German last name). We gave in and started pronouncing it Jenna like everyone else, even though it’s spelled with one n. No one back then had the name Jena that I know of, I just liked it. Now there are lots of Jenna’s now, porn star, president’s daughter etc.

    I’ve always hated my name, especially when I was Debby, then Debbie. Around age 30 I insisted that people call me by the full name. Of course a lot of people spell it Debra which drives me crazy. My sister has a much nicer, less common name and I was always jealous.

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  91. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm


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  92. Jolene said on September 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Yesterday, Jim Webb, the soon-to-retire Democratic senator from Virginia, introduced President Obama at a campaign appearance in Virginia Beach. As you may know, Webb is an interesting character–a former Marine, Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, and, primarily, a writer* and independent thinker. His intro is really impressive. In it, he draws out themes of economic justice and honor in military service, and he also elegantly sticks the shiv into Mitt Romney. Worth a read. Would be really something if all our legislators could write and think this clearly.

    *He’s written several books, the most famous of which is Fields of Fire.

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  93. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Lutefisk is a vile concoction, Jolene. But the stench lets you know what you are letting yourself in for. Ruth is a great biblical name.I have been manouerved into a situation of eating Lutefisk. As a person with a sizable Norwegian backgound, I’d say Lutefisk is more of a Swedish thing.

    Peter, happy birthday to your mama.

    Connie, wasn’t there a car called a Cord Arrow?

    And aside from Dexter’s wonderful reference to the Ramones yesterday, I’d like to add the astounding Mike Scott and the Waterboys new album, An Appointment With Mr. Yeats. If you ever liked Procul, this is the real deal with the greatest poet in the history of the English language a the lyricist. And yes, that is my opinion. It’s Yeats or Enderby for me, or Will Shakes, or Keith Reid. The only way this album oculd be better is a guest vocal from Shane McGowan.

    Sue: the great thing about ACORN is how they twisted Lehman Bros. arms. and how a thirty year old fair lending law rose up under W and crashed the world economy. WTF is wrong with people that don’t understand history? Won’t these ignorant aholes just STFU?


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  94. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    If President Obama suggested GOPers shouldn’t drink battery fluid, they’d do so reflexively. So, Mr. President, tell the yahoos not to drink arsenic. We’d all be well rid of them. It’s a bizarre situation when anti-immigrant know nothings pay moey to see a contrived piece of shit “mockumentaary” by Mike from New Delhi about how the President that met his dad twice for less than a total of two hours developed an anti-colonial Marxist attitude from the guy. If he didn’t have the corporate cash of Regnery behind him (I mean, Scaiffe buying his books) D’Souza would be treated as the fracking kook he most certainly is. And, anybody seen his birth certificate?

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  95. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Jolene –
    Excellent speech. I’m passing it on.

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  96. David C. said on September 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Katharine is a plenty good way to spell it – as are Katherine, Kathryn, Catherine, etc. I work with a woman who named her daughter Symanthe. That’s what I would consider out of bounds. Nobody in the history of history itself has spelled Samantha that way. That’s just so unnecessary.

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  97. David C. said on September 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Oh, I just remembered the best odd name of all. It belonged to the brother-in-law of my 17 (I think) greats grandfather. The first of my family to come to America in 1638. His B-I-L’s name was Preserved Fish.

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  98. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Randy Newman on the subject of names:


    I’ve always been crazy ’bout Irish girls.

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  99. Maggie Jochild said on September 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I was researching one line of ancestors (not especially literate) who had a girl in the mid 1800s they named Sarra Gorda. Even with illiteracy, the consistency of that mispelling was intriguing to me, handed on to her daughter and granddaughter. The mystery was eventually solved when I discovered her father had fought in the War with Mexico two years before she was born, and had served with distinction at the obscure battle of Cerro Gordo.

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  100. Charlotte said on September 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Sue @77 — I get that mispelling all the time and it mystifies me. Also, pet peeve, being called “Char” — I’ve always beens “Charlotte” except to about 5 family members who knew me as a little little kid, and when they call me that I don’t notice (my cousin Dede calls me Char, I call her Deeds). I sort of like that Charlotte is one of the old-fashioned names that hasn’t really come back … it was my great grandmother’s name. And of course, I wound up with a man named Chuck — essentially we have the same name.

    Jeff — the finding about ONE adult doesn’t surprise me at all. If that kid this morning shook your hand and looked you in the eye, at least he knows someone SAW. It was huge for me in my 20s and 30s when some of my mother’s friends assured me that of course they knew she was a drunk (her line was that she wasn’t, I just kept telling people she was), and that they knew I had to get out. So now I have a couple of kids I’ve taken under my wing under the guise of tutoring. If I can just help them grow up okay and get out of their situation, well, I feel like I’ll have given the karma back …

    On the naming front — my best girlfriend has five kids, four girls and a boy — and of course she and her husband are writers, as are the rest of us. Naming those babies was so funny — she likes romantic names while her husband and I were arguing for no weird spellings and no dipthongs — I wanted what I think of as “Supreme Court Justice” names — Katharine, Elizabeth etc … and while no one wound up with anything too crazy, there is one Lola, one state name as a middle name, and a bunch of flower names. Sigh.

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  101. LAMary said on September 28, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Connie, I know of which Julianna you speak. It is a lovely name, queen or no queen. If I had a daughter she would have been named Johanna, which I think is another lovely name. I bet you know the Dutch nickname for Johanna.

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  102. 4dbirds said on September 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    My Kate is Katherine with an e. Almost a Catherine but she was born in Germany so we went with the german K. She was almost Matilda, which is trendy now but is a common name for girls in our family. My hubby nixed that.

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  103. Catherine said on September 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    C/Kathe/ari/ynes cannot be picky about how the name is spelled. They *can* be picky about not being called Cathy, however.

    I have one daughter who’s named after a state, but I frankly don’t think “Virginia” is in the same league as “Montana” or “Tennessee.” YMMV.

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  104. Catherine said on September 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    And she’s actually named after a cousin, an aunt, a grandmother and and a great-grandmother. Virginia V as my dad calls her.

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  105. Prospero said on September 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Charlotte: Thank God nobody named one of those kids Antonin and implanted a unibrow. Maggie, Irish people are literate whether or not they like it. I live in the hope I may one day have a son to name Heathcliff, but all things considered, I have a perfect child, who brings me nothing but pleasure and fulfillment in my rank old age. Hope y’all do too. She is the one thing that makes me feel best about myself, along with the tyke she borned, and a little sister on the way. Gutdom that kid is entertaining. That is, aside from my overblown opinion of my own opinion, which seems obviously to be my own opinion since I fracking said it.

    One of my fondest memories is my ex asking me during the mopping up in the delivery room, and I swear this is true, “Is it Evan or Emily.” She couldn’t stop crying. And I loved her immensely then as I do to this day.

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  106. coozledad said on September 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Romney has his fingers up Nathan Sproul’s arse:

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  107. Dexter said on September 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    LA Mary, you kill! Astrid Dirtsa was the post that had me laughing out loud.

    When I was a kid Dad bought bags of apples at an orchard where they marked the type with a pen on a paper sack. My favorite apples are Jonathans, which were spelled Jonathon by the orchard help. For years I argued I was spelling it right, Jonathon. I had to let it go, the orchard baggers were wrong, it’s Jonathan. However, Jonathon just LOOKS right, and Jonathan looks wrong to me. Actually, some people actually do spell it Jonathon, and that makes me feel better.
    Time for an apple. A Jonathon. 🙂

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  108. del said on September 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Sweet post Prospero. Charlotte, friends of mine who are from Germany named their daughter Charlotte but they call her Lotte…

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  109. Connie said on September 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    LAMary, is that where YoYo comes from? I also wonder about the male nickname Yop. (Yup?)

    When we were expecting we made lists of family names we would never use. They made us laugh uproariously for some reason. From my side: Agnes, Gertrude, Alice, Harriett, Morris, Bernard, Herman and Hermoine. From his side: Irma, Claude, Merle, Cecil. The last 3 were brothers. Oh, and I found out when she died that Grandma Agnes’ birth name was Akka.

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  110. Kim said on September 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    What great stories today! MichaelG, yes, I know you’re in CA. I meant that I am in VA and familiar with Krystal Ball, serious Democratic candidate with screwy name who could get no purchase whatsoever with that name (and the fact she’s not a Republican).

    There’s a guy in town who keeps getting arrested for petty offenses. His name is Quo Vadis and it makes me laugh every time I read it. Where are you going? Jail!

    Our kids’ names are taken from family members. Geneva is our daughter, named for a great aunt who’s mother to five boys and went by Jean her whole life until she had a namesake. She’s pushing 90 now and it’s very dear when she calls to see how her #2 is doing.

    I saw Rank and File back in the 1900s and it was either at a bar called (I think) the West End in Chicago that became a bike shop (off Clybourn, maybe?) or in Champaign.

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  111. LAMary said on September 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    The Johannas I know in NL are all called Joke, which is prounounce Yokeh. The Dutch and German ancestors in our family were Hilda, Adele, Auguste, Nell, Mae, Erna, Florence and Anna. I think Anna is the only one of those I’d go with. THere were men named Bonafice, Gert, Herman, Heldrake, Adolf, and several Georges. I just recently found out that my maternal great grandmother was actually Danish.

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  112. Minnie said on September 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    My paternal great-great-grandmother was named Marinda, but her husband always called “Wren”. The shortened form has come down through the generations as a middle name for females. I have two first cousins who carry it on. I’ve always liked that, both the name, and the passing down.

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  113. JWfromNJ said on September 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Our youngest is named Cormac, which is pronounced like the spice company. People think it’s after the author Cormac McCarthy, and I don’t dissuade them of that idea, especially since his work is well known now.

    Confession – we just liked the name. I used to be night manager at a resort hotel in NJ and in those years we had a lot of Irish youth as labor. Now it’s kids from china and other nations. We had a part-time lifeguard and that was “allegedly” his name. I liked it. We later learned – after he got fired for sleeping on the job – that he had stolen another kids papers.

    Cormac lucked out though – for both of our sons I vowed I would name them after the World Series MVP if the Yankees won the series. I figured it would be worth some freebies and tickets. So even though both of my sons were born when the Yanks did win, our oldest son dodged being named Mariano Rivera Wallace, and Cormac dodged being Scott Brosius Wallace. My wife won on those. My daughter Courtney on the other hand still thanks me because my wife wanted to name her Brittney, which I declared to be a slutty name.

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  114. Sue said on September 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Charlotte, I am the third of four generations in a row of Charlottes, and none of us use/used the name in the family. My grandmother was Lottie, my mother was Goldie (hair), I am Sue (named after my brother’s little girlfriend at the time, for some reason) and my daughter is Beth (middle name Elizabeth, specifically chosen for use as her nickname). My brother can’t spell my name, and neither can most people. It just kind of happened, but you’d be surprised how many people think it’s weird to hand a name down when females do it.
    It’s a difficult name to have as a child, it sounds old fashioned. It’s made a bit of a comeback in recent years – I’ve never met another Charlotte and neither has my daughter, but she has friends who’ve named their daughters Charlotte. I don’t really care about the Char/Charlotte preference, since it is my ‘business’ name.
    One of the cool things about sharing a name with my daughter, we can cash each other’s checks, talk to people and pretend we are each other (customer service etc.) and generally cause confusion.
    Based on the Social Security Admin’s tracking, Charlotte is the 27th most popular name in 2012.

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  115. Crazycatlady said on September 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I work with two different women named ‘Taquila’ and a woman named ‘Chiquita’.

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  116. Dexter said on September 29, 2012 at 12:04 am

    JW-NJ, my niece married a Notre Dame man when she attended St. Mary’s. He’s a doctor now, they live in Milwaukee and have three kids, and since the doctor’s dad and mom were born in Dublin and after marrying my niece they lived in Dublin for six years, the kids have Irish names , Cormac, Dillon, and Keelin.

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  117. brian stouder said on September 29, 2012 at 12:05 am

    but I’m lurching toward the finish line.

    I just spun across the finish line….Woo Hoo!! Worked the concession stand at South Side High School’s football game (band parent’s duty). It is amazing how stress-inducing that duty can be, but we survived it.

    Regarding names: Shelby, our 14 year old, has been noodling around the genealogy department in our superb Allen County Public Library, and she found that my mom – her grandma – Katherine – was originally Catherine. Somewhere in the years after she joined the Navy, she simply changed how she spelled her name, which I never knew. When Shelby asked her about this, she got a somewhat enigmatic chuckle from gramma, and no further explanation.

    Aside from that, I always figured that Pam did ALL the work of bringing our young folks into this world, and therefore she had absolute authority in their naming…and her pattern was to use their middle names to honor deceased loved ones. On first names, though, she indulged me and named our son Grant, for a vastly under-rated president (and somewhat mis-understood general).

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  118. Dexter said on September 29, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Names, shames…how about plain old (in this video exotic) Jim?

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  119. David C. said on September 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

    How your name predicts your politics.

    50% of Davids give to Democrats 50% to Republicans. My parents are the only ones alive who still call me David though, even though that’s what I prefer. I long ago resigned to Dave. Daves give to dems 56-44 so I guess it works out.

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  120. ROGirl said on September 29, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I’ve known a Quatisha, Kissie, Naima.

    My father was Morry or Morris. His oldest brother and sister, Harry and Pauline (originally Polly), called him Moish. The others were Sadie, Eva, Ruby (Robert, originally Rubin), Bob, Johnny, Esther (she hated that name, called herself Ett or Eddie).

    In my mother’s family the girls were Sophie, Sylvia, Beatrice and Lucille. The boys were Dave, Charlie and Bill.

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  121. ROGirl said on September 29, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Can’t edit. Uncle Ruby (that’s what I called him) was Richard, not another Bob.

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  122. Bill said on September 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Real name: Positive Wasserman Jones.

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  123. beb said on September 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

    First of all I’d like to thank Jeff for venting yesterday. His venting is more educational than any ten times as much editorializing. I think the boy who knows his mother is messed up on drugs is going to come out of this alive since he is aware of what he has working against him.

    I wanted to pass along a quote from Atrois this morning:
    This enrages me. The other thing which enrages me are heartwarming local interest stories about a community and friends who got together and figured out how to raise the $180,000 needed to keep somebody’s kid from dying of cancer or whatever. That people do this is heartwarming, that it is necessary means we’re monsters.

    This is what he was talking about:

    Any time someone says “we have the great health care system in the world because you can always to the ER if you’re sick” makes me wasnt to smack them about the head with a mackerel. If that were even remotely true we would see lines like this for free clinics.

    I’ve enjoyed the naming discussion. It took my wife and I the longest time to decide on the name for our daughter. We wanted something that would be embarassing to a Supreme Court Justice, as somseone above mentioned, and we wanted a name that wouldn’t be misspelt. So we went with Sarah, only to discover that most people now spell it Sara….

    My mother was a Naomi and her sister Beulah. Nice biblical names because her grandfather was a preacher. I was christened Brian and all though my youth I never heard of another Brian. Now its so common that I go by “Beb” just to be different.

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  124. LAMary said on September 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

    JW, speaking of names of Yankees. You know about the fourth Alou brother? There’s Matty, Felipe and Jesus and Boog Powell. He changed his last name so he wouldn’t be…wait for it….Boog Alou.

    So old.

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  125. MichaelG said on September 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    My daughter’s name is Stephanie. Her kids are Sophia and Dominic.

    I’ve long held the opinion that the name is the child’s not the parents’ and that it is irresponsible in the extreme to hang a stupid moniker on your offspring to be cute or to feed your ego or for whatever reason. It’s the kid who will have to do all the fighting in grade school, will have to forever put up with the raised eyebrows and (I hadn’t thought of this before) live with the job discrimination mentioned upstream. There are desirable ways in which to see your child stand out, giving him or her a stupid name isn’t one of them.

    “Katharine” certainly does not qualify as a goofy name or spelling. I wouldn’t even have noticed if it hadn’t been pointed out.

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  126. MichaelG said on September 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I love it, Mary!

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  127. Charlotte said on September 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Sue — I’m lucky I got a family name from my mother’s side — on my dad’s side they were Norma (my grandmother), Irma, Opal and Irene. Had a family band and travelled all over the US, Canada and even Europe on the old Chatauqua circuit.

    Our family does the middle name thing too — my brothers were John Michael and James Patrick and we called them Michael and Patrick, my younger cousins are Allen Ripley and Allen Bradford (don’t ask why they’re both named Allen after the same grandfather — that uncle is weird) and they’ve always been Brad and Rip.

    But I’ve always been Charlotte — other than hating it when I was learning to write because it was so many letters (especially compared to my cousin Dede, who was in my grade), I’ve always loved the name.

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