Pamela Redmond Satran’s Latest Thoughts About Names That Do and Don’t Age Well

After taking a brief vacation from blogging, imagine my delight at receiving an invitation from Google Alert to read an article by Pamela Redmond Satran about names that don’t age well–and how to avoid that problem.

Satran starts by pointing out that names popular enough to show up on top-ten (boys’ or girls’) lists are likely to give your age away. I listed some girls’ and boys’ names with one or two decades of popularity. I made separate lists of names that had much longer periods of popularity—from 30 to to 59, 69, 89 or more than years of popularity. For example, Mary has 69 years on top-ten popularity lists on the girls’ side and boys’ names with 89 or more years of popularity on the boys’ side include Robert, John James and William. (Of those boys’ names, only William has been listed among the ten most popular names from 1900 through 2014.)

Girls’ Names with One or Two Decades of Popularity

2000 to 2014: Isabella, Sophia, Madison
1990 to 2009: Samantha
1980 to 1999: Jessica, Amanda, Sarah
1970 to 1989: Jennifer, Stephanie, Melissa, Nicole, Heather
1960 to 1979: Michelle, Lisa
1950 to 1969: Susan
1940 to 1958: Linda
1930 to 1939: Shirley
1920 to 1939: Betty
1920 to 1929: Doris

Girls’ Names with Three or More Decades of Popularity

1980 to 2014: Emily
1980 to 2009: Elizabeth and Ashley
1900 to 1939: Dorothy
1900 to 1969: Mary

Boys’ Names with One or Two Decades of Popularity

1990 to 2014: Jacob
1990 to 1999: Tyler and Nicholas
1990 to 2009: Andrew
1960 to 1969: Jeffrey
1950 to 1969: Mark

Boys’ Names with Three or More Decades of Popularity

1980 to 2014: Daniel
1970 to 2009: Christopher, Matthew
1950 to 2014: Michael
1940 to 1989: David
1930 to 1969: Richard
1900 to 1969: Thomas
1900 to 1959: Charles
1900 to 1989: Robert, John, James
1900 to 2014: William

I agree with Satran that when names which have been popular for a decade or two (or more) drop off the top–ten list they start showing their age and the age of anyone who acquires that name while it was still highly popular. But keep in mind that the title of Satran’s article is “Names That Age Well.”

Girls names like Mary, Dorothy, Doris, Betty and Shirley sound like great-grandmother names. Boomer names like Linda and Susan are now grandma names. On the boys’ side, Boomer names like Mark and Jeffrey are now grandpa names. But names like Charles, Thomas and Richard, though associated with great grandfathers, still tend to maintain a level of acceptability as what Satran calls “classic” (and I call “traditional”) names that “old-fashioned” girls’ names like Betty Doris and Shirley don’t retain.

In her article, Satran makes a case for using names that have “deep meaning,” by which she means

“the name of someone you loved and admired, the name of your favorite fictional character, the name of the lake where you spent every childhood summer. That deep meaning will resonate far more for you and your child than any swings of fashion.”

And I think she means that if you love your great grandmother Betty or Doris or Dorothy, that “deep meaning” trumps how old and arthritic or dead and buried those names now sound.

But parents who are picking names for their child rarely only consider one name. And when making the final selection, it would be folly to pick a name that has been passed down from generation to generation and has always been a source of embarrassment or teasing. Hand-me-down family names like Pierpont or Francis or Carroll or great-grandmother names like Doris or Mildred or Shirley are just as likely to frustrate your child as they bothered other relatives who got stuck with them (except perhaps the original Betty who was given the name when movie star Betty Davis was still popular). You don’t want your child to complain about his or her name to friends who share the sentiment: “What were they thinking (or drinking or smoking) when your parents made that inconsiderate choice?”

But what interests me most about Satran’s article is her queer notion that picking highly unusual names will help parents “sidestep” the problem of sticking their child with a name that won’t age well.

“Unusual names, which we might define (at least for American parents) as those that lie outside the Top 1000, can transcend time, especially if they’re not among those unusual names that seem poised to zoom up the popularity charts…The trick is to pick an unusual name that’s appealing yet sidesteps stylishness. Augusta and Delphine might qualify for girls, while Noble or Leopold might work for boys.”

I can’t understand how she or anyone can maintain that archaic names found in the “recycle bin” whose popularity is below 1,000–like Augusta and Delphine, Noble or Leopold–would be more appealing, attractive, comfortable to live with and age better than almost any other name you could pick out of a hat, blindfolded. In fact that’s just what Augusta and Noble sound like: names picked out of a hat on an unlucky day. To be more specific, why is Delphine more likely to “age well” than Delia, Delilah , Dulce or Diana? Why is Leopold a better choice to stave off aging than Leonardo, Leonard, Levi or Lorenzo? I don’t know and I don’t think Satran does either.

Here’s a thought to keep in mind when someone suggests a name that has a low (sub-1,000) popularity rank: If it’s a relatively recent name like Apple, Blue Ivy or North, the name could have a low popularity rank for two reasons: 1) Not many people have heard of the name. 2) People have heard of the name, but don’t like it. But if the name under discussion is one or more centuries old, like Delphine, Augusta and Leopold, the main reason for it’s low popularity is that people don’t like the name.

There’s nothing wrong with calling attention to out-of-favor old names to bring in the hope that people who hadn’t heard of them might like them. But Satran’s recommended names are very old, so it doesn’t make sense to say they will “age well.” They will always sound like very old names.

 

 

 

 

“Why Do the Rich and Famous Give Their Children Such Ridiculous Names?” –Peaches Geldof

I want to thank David Kates for calling my attention to a quote from the late Peaches Geldof in a column she wrote discussing Apple, the name Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin selected for their daughter about ten years ago:

“Why do the rich and famous give their children such ridiculous names? Mine has haunted me all my life, and will continue to do so. I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit. I’m not Jane or Sarah or Samantha: I am Peaches.”

I’m always amazed to read celebrity birth announcements in People, Us and other entertainment (gossip) columns and blogs and like Nameberry which treat ridiculous baby names as though they are cute, charming or fashionable and portray the A-list celebrities who give ridiculous names to their children as brilliant trend-setters and visionaries.

I read David Kate’s “Dad-in-Training column all the way through and couldn’t figure out what his point of view was about baby-naming except that he seemed to think that picking a name was an important decision for parents to make. Now there’s a novel idea!

P.S. Just read a news item about Peaches Geldof which informed me that forensic investigators have turned up evidence that her recent death might have been caused by a heroin overdose. Sad, isn’t it?

Linda Rosenkrantz’ Article About Greek and Roman Mythological Names Is Worth a Read

I enjoyed reading Linda Rosenkrantz’s article comparing Ancient Greek and Roman mythological names, even though it doesn’t contain many names you’re likely to choose for your next baby. However, I agree with Rosenkrantz that Diana, Juno (and perhaps Venus, Victoria and  Minerva) are worth considering.

I found the article interesting because I didn’t get the impression that Rosenkrantz was trying to “promote” any of these mythological names. Instead, she lets us know which of them have been used by celebrities for their own children (for example, Tina Fey named her daughter Athena and Kelly Rutherford named her son Hermes). The truth is that few of the names for mythological gods and goddesses she writes about are often used as names for humans. I find it interesting that biblical names for flawed humans are much more often used than the names of Greek and Roman deities, who in many respects were perfect and exemplary.

P.S. Rosenkrantz’s article about nicknames continues to be one of my favorite Nameberry articles.

11 Alternatives to Old-Fashioned and Ancient Boys’ Names You Can Use in 2014

I have no idea why Pamela Redmond Satran spends so much time and energy recommending and promoting clunky, old names that are rarely used for very good reasons. I’m referring to boys’ names like Randolph, Archibald, Dashiell, Benedict, Finian, Wolfgang, and Horace, (to list just seven names from Satran’s most recent posts). One thing is for certain: calling out-of-date names stylish doesn’t magically make them stylish. Ralph Lauren loves to study old fashions, but instead of stitch-for-stitch replication of fashions, say, from the 1890s, 1920s or 1940s, or 1960s, he updates those fashions to give them a more contemporary look–so people will enjoy, and look good, wearing them.

Of course, that takes time, effort, inspiration and a desire to be of service to one’s customers (which, switching back to baby names, would be readers). In a previous post I labeled some of Satran’s least usable recommendations odd, old-fashioned, off-putting and ancient. Seems to me an interest in unusable old names could be put to good use by simply refreshing or updating those “dinosaurs.”

Presenting: 11 Contemporary Options to Old-fashioned or Ancient Names for Boys

Randolph Fictional Namesake: Randolph Duke, old-fashioned, bow-tie-wearing Wall Street tycoon in “Trading Places” (1983) as portrayed by Ralph Bellamy.
Instead of Randolph, consider Randall.

Mortimer Fictional Namesake: Mortimer Duke, old-fashioned, bow-tie-wearing Wall Street Tycoon in the 1980s in “Trading Places” (1983) as played by Don Ameche.
Instead of Mortimer, consider Morgan.

Archibald Namesake: Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) Poet, Playwright and Librarian of Congress in the1940s, ’50s and ’60s
Instead of Archibald, consider Archer.

Cornelius Namesake: Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1807) American steamboat steamship and railroad magnate in the 1830s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s)
Instead of Cornelius, consider Connor.

Benedict Namesake: Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) was an American hero in the battle for Fort Ticonderoga in the 1775 who was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress. In 1780 he was given command of West Point and, in an act of treason, he tried to turn West Point over to British. Later he served as Brigadier General for the British and eventually moved to Britain.
Instead of Benedict, consider Bennett.

Wolfgang Namesake: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was one of all-time great classical composers and musicians who composed more than 600 works.
Instead of Wofgang, consider Wolf.

Phileas Fictional Namesake: Phileas Fogg, protagonist in the 1873 Jules Verne novel, Around the World in Eighty Days.
Instead of Phileas, consider Phillip or Phil.

Dashiell Namesake: Dashiel Hammett (1894-1961) author of hard-boiled detective novels and screenplays, including The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man.
Instead of Dashiell, consider Dash.

Finian Fictional Namesake: Finian, the protagonist of Broadway Musical, Finian’s Rainbow (1947) who moves from Ireland to Missitucky to bury a pot of gold in the hope that it will grow.
Instead of Finian, consider Finn.

Valdemar and Waldemar Namesakes: Fifteen Kings of Denmark, Sweden and Prussia from the 1141 to 1945.
Instead of Valdemar, Waldemar and Waldo, consider Walden.

Horace Namesake:Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC to 8 BC) was known to the world as Horace, the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.
Instead of Horace, consider Horst.

 

Pamela Satran Hides 15 Usable Names In a List of 100 Mostly Unusable, Rarely-Used Names

I have no idea why Pamela Redmund Satran would want to scatter (in effect hiding) 15 usable names in a long list of Rarely-Used Boys’ Names most of which are problematic for any child who gets them. Why? Because they will strike many as cartoonish, odd, off-putting, old-fashioned, ancient, strange and/or unrecognizable.

Here Are 36 Examples of Problematic Names That Aren’t Used Much Any More for Good Reason:

Cartoonish names: Linus, Abner, Casper, Waldo, Kermit, Homer
Odd names: Basil, Eamon, Vladimir, Boaz, Wolfgang, Caspian, Cosmo
Off-Putting names: Benedict, Enoch, Valentine, Ambrose
Old-fashioned names: Archibald, Woodrow, Clarence, Cornelius, Alistair, Thaddeus, Rupert, Randolph, Phineas
Ancient names: Obadiah, Esau, Horace, Horatio, Leander, Ignatius
Strange, Unrecognizable names: Ozias, Osias, Amias

Why would Pamela Redmond Satran choose to hide 15 pretty good names among such a long list of mostly unusable, unusual names. Maybe the idea of discriminating between names that will strike most people as usable and names that will strike most people as unusable is not in her job description. Or, maybe she’s penurious and likes the idea having someone like me organize and edit her list, without paying me a penny.

Here are the 15+ Usable Names Satran Tried to Hide:

Gordon
Grey, Gray
Glenn, Glen
Otis
Ralph
Nigel
Clyde
Clifford
Harris
Finnian
Robin
Wallace
Dashiell
Montgomery
Monroe

Notice, I didn’t say these were great names, but I think you can use them without too many problems. You may think Finnian is old-fashioned or odd. But if you’re familiar with “Finnian’s Rainbow” (a great Broadway musical) you’ll probably think the name is charming and if you go for cool nicknames, Finn is a winner. I also like these nicknames: Dash for Dashiel, Cliff for Clifford, Harry for Harris, and Monty for Montgomery. BTW, it helps to know that Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (a Brit) defeated the Germans commanded by “Desert Fox” Erwin Rommel at El Alamein.

But Clyde is cool as is.  It was made cool by Warren Beatty who played bank-robber, Clyde Barrow, in “Bonnie & Clyde” and by Walt (Clyde) Frazier of the New York Knicks who stole baskeballs the way Clyde Barrow stole money. Batman and Robin were a great team and Robin pulled his own weight. And if you’re an aficionado of single-malt scotch whiskey, it’s hard not to like the name Glen as in Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie.

I probably like Grey because of Grey Advertising, Grey Goose and “Grey Gardens.” If you’re looking for a color name, Grey is more nuanced than, say, Red or Blue.  I’d use Grey if my last name started with a “G.” Grey Gordon. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  But, to be honest, I prefer Gordon Grey. I suppose I like Gordon because it goes well with Grey, if that happens to be your last name. Grey Goldberg? Maybe not. I’d suggest Gary Goldberg, but Gary isn’t on Satran’s list.

Can you see how baby-naming is about finding exactly the right name–with the right meaning, the right sound and the right vibe? Take your time; it helps to weigh all your options over a seven or eight month period. Here’s an important take-away: Never look for names in a list created by someone who doesn’t care enough to sort out the most usable names from the least.

 

 

 

 

Pamela Redmond Satran’s Latest Post Features 62 Rarely, If Ever, Used Awful, Ridiculous Names Like Nero, Hebe and Lettice

Pamela Redmond Satran has a new trick: She starts her article about “82 Stylish names” with a list of ten girls’ names and ten boys’ names listed among Nameberry’s top 1,000 names parents have clicked on lately. I can independently confirm that a few of those names are genuinely appealing. For girls: Beatrice, Isla, Ivy, Maeve and Maisie; for boys: Beckett, Declan and Finn. (I’ve seen these names on popularity lists in the U.K., Canada and elsewhere. And Finn is on my list of Cool Names for Boys.) But, before I go on, I should probably point out a few negatives among the names Satran describes as being “atop the current style wave.”

Hazel is associated with Witch Hazel, a natural remedy for treating cuts and bruises. Unfortunately, Hazel is likely to be called Witch Hazel or teased as a “witch.” Or Hazel may be called Hazelnut or teased as a “nut,” because hazel shrubs and trees produce hazelnuts.

Jasper, in children’s literature, is an African-American boy who (stereotypically) loves to eat watermelons. It’s an unfortunate association likely to make the name uncomfortable for African-American boys. (However, in fairness, Jasper is also a type of spotted or speckled rock collected by rockhounds.)

Atticus is an ancient Latin name that means “from Attica.” As much as I love Atticus Finch, beloved protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, non-literary types are likely to confuse Attica with a prison in New York state that was the site of a famous riot, or junk found in the attic.

After listing ten girls’ and boys’ names clicked on by visitors to her website, Satran goes right back to her “old trick” of recommending names that are the same or similar to names she has previously described as having been used by ten or less children in the U.S. (probably because they are so awful, archaic, impractical and/or ridiculous). Here’s how she describes the names she previously described as “cool and unusual” and Satran’s colleague, Aela Mass, previously described as having been found in a cemetery by her dog:

“..here’s a new style wave on the horizon, one that parents in search of more avant garde names will want to have their eyes on. This next wave takes current styles and trends to more extreme levels.” I’ve described this process as being like “alchemy,” a faux scientific process which claimed to turn “dross into gold.” (“Dross” is what the dictionary describes as “a waste product or impurity,” or as “worthless.”)

Question: how can names that parents have abandoned and don’t use any more because they are two archaic, too esoteric, too unappealing and too impractical possibly be considered “a new style wave”? The truth is: most of them are unusable because they are awful or ridiculous names.

Awful, Ridiculous, Impractical and Rarely (If Ever) Used Girls’ Names Included in the List Satran Calls “a New Style Wave on the Horizon.”

Doon: Unfortunately, this name sounds like doom, so it will need to be enunciated very clearly to avoid sounding like a horrible prediction. Literary types familiar with Lorna Doone are likely to misspell the name by adding an “e.” Ditto for cookie lovers. Doon is likely to be called either Lorna or Cookie.

Eulalie: This antique name is a name-book neighbor of Eudora which was recommended in one of Satran’s “Cool, Unusual” articles. Unfortunately Eulalie sounds like Eudora’s crazy older sister. And Lalie as a nickname is not exactly the coolest moniker in town.

Feodora: Unfortunately, this esoteric and rarely-used name sounds so much like Theodora that it is likely to be misspelled and mispronounced—which won’t be a pleasure for the poor little girls getting this name. These are practical problems a lovely meaning (“gift of God”) can’t overcome.

Freesia: What’s Freesia? A flowering plant found in eastern and southern Africa. For non-botanists, Freesia is an unfamiliar, strange name that sounds very, very cold.

Hebe: This name was previously included in Satran’s last “Cool, Unusual Names” article. I pointed out that Hebe is a pejorative slang term for Jews (like kike). How foolish of Satran to repeat this faux pas.

Hero: Another foolish repeat from Satran’s last “Cool, Unusual Names” article. I pointed out that Hero refers not only to a brave fictional protagonist, but also to a big, thick fattening sandwich often filled with “junk meat” (bologna and salami) and a dollop of mayo. In addition to this junk-food reference, Hero is also a “pompous title” like Princess or Queen or Messiah which places a psychological burden on the unlucky child who is given one of these unrealistic names.

Kassiani: This esoteric and rarely (if ever) used name is unlisted in every name book I checked and is unlikely to ever be spelled properly by anyone but Satran (assuming she has spelled it correctly).

Lettice: This name is ridiculous for two reasons: It sounds like Lettuce (a ridiculous name for a child) but it is also likely to be misspelled by everyone but Satran. I was recently reading a book by Alexander McCall Smith which introduced a pompous character named Professor Lettuce. Smith was able to come up with three or four jokes at the expense of Professor Lettuce’s unfortunate name during a single conversation over lunch (which included salad).

Malou: Malu (with an accent over the u) is Spanish name that’s a compound of Maria + Luisa. As if that name wasn’t esoteric enough Satran recommends an even more esoteric name she probably just made up. People would recognize Marilou, but not many (if any) will recognize or “get” Malou.

Turia: This is not a new breed of dog related to terriers. Nor is it a reference tarriers (Irish workers hired to drill holes in rock where sticks of dynamite could be inserted to clear the way for American railroads–who are celebrated in a folk song called “Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill.” This name is probably a variation on an esoteric Catalan name. It will come across as unfamiliar to one and all and will undoubtedly be misspelled by most.

Sybella: This is little-used English form of Sybil, was probably included in Satran’s list because the name Sybil was given to more than ten children.

Awful, Ridiculous, Impractical and Rarely (If Ever) Used Boys Names Included in the List Satran Calls “the New Style Wave on the Horizon.”

Acacius: Acacia is a spiny tree or shrub related to the pea family. And Acacius is a name hardly anyone but Satran will be able to either recognize, spell or pronounce properly.

Cassion: Like Acacia, Cassia are trees or shrubs related to the pea family. And Cassion is another name hardly anyone but Satran will be able to either recognize, spell or pronounce properly–particularly because it rhymes with passion, which is what most people will think the little boy named Cassion said his name was. (To Satran’s credit, she must have used great restraint in not adding Passion to this list of supposedly “stylish” names. Passion is a great name for a perfume–but not for a child.)

Enoch: It should be enough to state that Enoch sounds like eunuch, a term which describes a boy or man who has been castrated. What makes the name even worse is that famous namesake, Enoch Powell, a conservative British Politician famously opposed a law which would have prohibited racial discrimination in his infamous “River of Blood” speech.

Florin: This strange name is actually the name for several different kinds of money: a Dutch guilder, a British coin worth two shillings, and a gold coin used in Florence. It’s like calling someone Dollar, or Dime—which is why hardly anyone has or will use it as a name.

Gower: John Gower was a poet and friend of Geoffrery Chaucer. Unfortunately he’s not nearly as well-known as Chaucer, so his last name is quite unknown as a given name. That’s why Gower appears on this list of rarely, if ever, used names. (Satran passed over Geoffrey and, instead, picked the surname of Chaucer’s little-known buddy.)

Nero: I can’t claim Nero is unknown as a name; it was the name of perhaps the most cruel and inhuman emperor of Rome. Nero persecuted Christians (burning them as a source of light), executed his mother, famously “fiddled while Rome burned” and committed suicide to avoid assassination. I have no idea who would want to name their child after such a manic. Nor can I think of anyone else who would recommend the name Nero. Calling Nero a  “stylish name” is even more irresponsible and absurd.

Oberon: Oberon was the “king of the fairies” in medieval literature and in Shakepeare’s “Midsummer Nights Dream.” High school kids study Shakespeare, which is when a boy named Oberon would start to be teased, harassed and bullied. This is another example of a name that demonstrates Satran’s absolute cluelessness about the practical consequences of using the “stylish” names she so enthusiastically recommends and promotes.

Smith: Maybe Satran doesn’t know that Smith (along with Jones) are the two most common surnames in the U.S. For that reason Smith Johnson or Smith Thompson or Smith Jones will sound like hyphenated last names rather than “given names” followed by a surname. This is another practical issue that should have been obvious to Satran–if she gave it a moment’s thought.

Paladin: I remember Paladin as the name of a TV gunman played by Richard Boone in a TV show called “Have Gun Will Travel.” Historically, paladins were fierce warriors from the court of King Charlemagne. They first appeared in “The Song of Roland” whose job it was to kill the Saracen (aka Muslim) hordes. At a time when gun violence is completely out control and a huge political problem for parents who want to protect the safety of their children against untreated, mentally disturbed people who are able to buy guns in the U.S., I wouldn’t recommend a name that calls to mind the slaughter of Muslims, in the name of Christianity, and a TV show called “Have Gun Will Travel.” Would you? But by now we all know that the woman who recommends Nero also recommends the name of the TV character whose motto is “have gun, will travel.”

If you didn’t believe me when I wrote that Satran’s list of 100 “Cool, Unusual Names” “should have come with a warning,” I hope you believe me now. I find Satran’s complete disregard for practical and moral issues related to baby-naming hard to justify. I’ve praised several of her most recent  articles to demonstrate I don’t dislike Satran personally. Unfortunately, more often than hot, I find her recommendations to be irresponsible and potentially harmful to the children who will bear them. I will continue to praise her good work and condemn her irresponsible work–until she gets the message. As it happens my condemnations of her irresponsible behavior are among my most popular posts. Apparently, many readers find the names Satran (and her sidekick Aela Mass) recommend and promote both egregiously awful and laughable.

 

Nameberry Getting Back On Track with 101 Names That Are Not Too: Popular, Trendy, Unusual or Weird

It may be difficult for some readers to believe I am happy to praise Nameberry’s latest list of names—announced in the Kansas City Star, but it’s true. All the boys’ and girls’ names come from the middle of the  SSA top-1000 list ranking from about 400 to 700.

Gone (and not missed) are recommended lists of names that are too unusual, too weird, too hard to spell, and too hard to pronounce that were staples in many of their recent articles. Also gone (and not missed) are recommended lists of names that were too dependent on here-today and gone-tomorrow, media glitz.

I think you’ll be surprised to find out there are plenty of names in their latest article with energy, spirit and charm, found in the middle of the SSA top-1,000 list, that are worth considering for boys and girls, like these:

Girls’ Names to Consider: Carolina**, Camilla**, Colette, Dana***, Dylan****, Francesca*, Lana, Marina, Meredith, Serena*, Sloane*, Sasha*

(*names on my list of “Cool Names for Girls”; **names on my list of “Interesting and Unusual Sochi Olympic Names”; *** my daughter’s name; **** my son’s middle name.)

Boys’ Names to Consider: Alec, Archer, Cullen, Davis, Flynn*, Kieran, Mitchell,  Nico*, Raphael, Rhett*, Russell, Tobias**, Wilson, Winston

(*names on my list of “Cool Names for Boys”; **names on my list of “Interesting and Unusual Sochi Olympic Names.”)

Of course a list of names selected from the middle of the top-1000 names runs the risk of being a little too safe and boring. So it’s not surprising that Nameberry has included some boring, odd, or old-fashioned names, on their latest list, which I’ll call to your attention below:

Boring, Odd, or Old-fashioned Names for Girls I Found on Nameberry’s List:  Ada, Cynthia, Claudia, Helena, June, Matilda, Rosemarie and Samara

Boring, Odd, or Old-fashioned Names for Boys I Found on Nameberry’s List:  Albert, Asa, Cyrus, Enzo, Justice, Moses and Nash

P.S. My regular readers know that in the last six months I’ve often criticized Nameberry posts which contained names I thought would be a burden to children, because so many of the names they recommended were “unusual” to the point of being a likely source of embarrassment, teasing and bullying to children whose parents had made the mistake of using names they found recommended in Nameberry articles. However, I’ve also tried to find Nameberry posts I could praise, like this one. It obvious to me that thinking about how names might work for children was not a major consideration in their writing/recommending process.

Although several Nameberry staffers and colleagues sent me comments to complain that my posts were “snarky” and to claim I wrote about Nameberry too often, I continued my campaign to make Nameberry writers more aware that they were creating needless problems for children of their readers.

Regular readers also know I often criticize names selected by ego-tripping celebrities. But I also praise clever, trendsetting celebs whose names strike me as “cool” or “inspired.” In other words, “I call ’em as I see ’em.”

Even though I’m praising Nameberry’s latest article, I think it could have been improved by limiting it to fifteen or twenty strong names. (You might re-direct that criticism back to me for including about 60+ names in my Sochi Olympic medal-winners article. And I’d agree. I’ve already deleted several names I’d hate to get stuck with–like Zan, which means “clown,” and Candy, which is bad for your weight, your teeth and your complexion.)

Perhaps Nameberry had no idea there were lovely names near the middle of the SSA top-1,000 list, so they picked 101 names. More likely they have a “100 names” (or 101 names”) formula to which they felt a need to stick. I hope Nameberry will move away from all the “formulae” that have too-often produced recommendations replete with embarrassingly bad choices in the recent past.