DAILY BRIEFING
The Skank Blossom Problem

Jan. 21 - I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm crazy about Shakespeare, but I sometimes cringe when people quote him as though he were some kind of final authority. He wasn't. You know what he was? A playwright. I'm a playwright. I know a lot of playwrights. You know what we're good at? Not much. That's why we're playwrights.

(Some of us, however, are playwrights for no apparent reason... who and what is this "guy," for example?)

So let's get one thing clear: a rose by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet. Would you put your nose anywhere near something called a "shit-stinking skank blossom?" Of course not. And even if you did, people would shun and despise you. "That's the jackass that goes around sniffing shit-stinking skank blossoms," they'd say.

It might still smell like a rose, but you wouldn't enjoy it. And even if they renamed shit-stinking skank blossoms back to roses when you were in middle life, you'd still be wary. Some whippersnapper would hold up a rose and go, "smell... rose... mmmm!" And you'd smack the thing out of your face and say, "get that shit-stinking skank blossom away from me!"

I say all this by way of introduction to the topic of baby names, which is apparently more than a mere topic: it's an industry. Seriously, take a peek.

The DMG and I began kicking baby names around years ago, when we first started trying to conceive (it took a while because the little puritan apparently didn't want to be born out of wedlock). We lived in New York, then, so we gravitated toward American names. You know: Anfernee, Moon Unit, Deuce, Kobe, Apu... real American names.

Now that we live in Denmark I've agreed to the hypothetical premise of raising our kids half in each country (without having made any stipulation as to which half would be raised where: I'm hoping I can get their tops raised in the states). This means we need names that meet the following criteria:

(1) They must be pronounceable in both countries.

(2) They must not be or resemble synonyms or euphemisms for any body parts or functions, unpleasant objects, noxious fluids, or sex toys—in either language (I'll never forget an old boss named Jildo, of all goddam things).

(3) They must not violate U.S. or E.U. copyright law.

(4) They must not rhyme with anything, in either language, that would make a roomful of first-graders giggle or a roomful of seventh-graders snicker.

(5) They must not correspond to the names of previous significant others, immediate family members, or hated persons from childhood. Or pets. Optional: they should not correspond to the names of any close friends' kids, but if our friends have been so unimaginative as to have given their children names that were rightfully ours, so be it.

(6) They must sound really cool to us, although this virtually ensures they will grate on the child's own ears in adolescence.

(7) They must not sound especially intellectual, literary, trendy, or fancy.

(8) Female names cannot end in -y because they don't like that in Denmark.

(9) They must not have diminutive or alternative forms that we don't like and could some day be adopted by precisely the kind of rebellious, willful children we so richly deserve.

(10) "Brett Favre" is already taken.

Applying this filter to entire universe of Danish and "American" names, we found we had no names at all to pick from. I'm hoping modern science will invent a name that meets these criteria before August 21.

* * *

Top 10 Danish Boys' Names, 2003
Mikkel
Frederik
Mathias
Mads
Rasmus
Emil
Oliver
Christian
Magnus
Lucas

Top 10 Danish Girls' Names, 2003
Emma
Julie
Mathilde
Sofie
Laura
Caroline
Cecilie
Ida
Sarah
Freja

Top 10 American Boys' Names, 2002
Jacob
Michael
Joshua
Matthew
Ethan
Joseph
Andrew
Christopher
Daniel
Nicholas

Top 10 American Girls' Names, 2002
Emily
Madison
Hannah
Emma
Alexis
Ashley
Abigail
Sarah
Samantha
Olivia

* * *

On this date in 1790, Dr. Joseph Guillotine proposed a more humane new method of execution. Exactly three years later, the French King Louis XVI was "guillotined" for treason.

Other than that January 21 has been a pretty quiet day over the years.

Today is Proclamation of the Flag Day in Quebec.

Hakeem Olajuwon turns 41 today. He shares his birthday with Geena Davis (1957), Robby Benson (1956), Jill Eikenberry (1947), Mac Davis (1942), Placido Domingo (1941), Jack Nicklaus (1940), Wolfman Jack (1939), Benny Hill (1925), Telly Savalas (1924), Paul Scofield (1922), and Stonewall Jackson (1824).

Happy Hump Day!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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