The Daily Dump

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Tuesday, August 1

A Daily Dump Contest! (UPDATED WITH WINNER)


So last week when I was writing a lot about Yahoo! because Yahoo! is my homepage and what I was doing is called “mailing it in,” I started to get really angry with Yahoo! (as I am right now) because their name is officially “Yahoo!” and it’s really annoying to continually type an exclamation point, mostly due to the fact that my typing style is slightly unconventional. Don’t get me wrong, I can type a string of common, three letter words faster than anyone I know. But throw in an “z” or a “q” or in this case an exclamation point and it’s as though I enter an autistic state where I move my fingers very slowly in a deliberate effort to press the right keys.

Naturally, I got mad at Yahoo! for making the exclamation point part of their name. But then I got curious as to whether people were allowed to use punctuation when naming their children. Like if I wanted to name my daughter “Sarah!” or “Nicole.” or “Amber?” would I be allowed to do that? So I tried to do some research on the subject, but man research is hard! And all I could come up with is an excerpt from an article on adults applying for name changes in the courts:

“Racial slurs and ‘fighting words’ or obscenity are also banned, as are confusing names such as numbers and punctuation.”

Which makes sense, because how are you going to convince a judge that you have a good reason for wanting to be named “You’re A God-Damned Fascist!”? But how does that apply when you’re basically just writing the name in on a birth certificate? Who’s going to tell you “no,” the doctor?

Doctor: “You have a beautiful son, Mr. Murphy. Have you decided on a name yet?”

Me: “Yes, we have. It’s Cocksucker McGillicuty, 13.”

Doctor: “Uh, I don’t think you’re allowed to name your child that.”

Me: “Really? That’s weird because you’re a doctor and I’m his father. It would seem that naming him would be my thing, not yours.”

Doctor: “Uh, but Cocksu-“

Me: “Cocksucker McGillicuty, 13. No hyphen. Thanks.”

So I don’t think the same rules apply to babies as they do to adults trying to change their names. I worked for at least an hour to find some official laws and regulations on this and got so fed up with trying a vast array of Google search terms that at last I finally typed in “name baby ‘Shit’.” Now every time I type an “n” into my Google search bar and I see “name baby ‘Shit’ ” on the list of saved searches I laugh, which is great because in this sad world laughter is all we have – but I still have no concrete answers. So the first person to provide me with some kind of actual law on this will get a reward. No, scratch that. Not a reward. That sounds too much like money or something valuable. They will get a prize* to be determined upon the deciding of a winner. Good luck everyone!


________________________________
* Please note that prize will be at my discretion and will likely be worthless in both monetary and inherent value. Prizes are not limited to physical objects and can include such items as “a sense of accomplishment,” “the knowledge that you have made me happy,” and “being informed.” Also, when I name my first born son “Shoehorn Molasses Murphy” and he becomes of age to know that he is different and he cries and complains that it’s not fair and that I had no right to do that to him, I will specifically mention the winner of this contest in reinforcing the notion that I did, in fact, have the right to do it.

WELL it was a tough call because everyone failed equally well, but I think I at least have a better understanding of how our nation operates when it comes to naming children, specifically that no one knows shit because no one has had the balls to challenge the system and name their child “Pancakes!”

While Viscountess came close with “a mother . . . can give the kid "any surname she wants" to,” I have to think that that is oversimplifying things, because it doesn’t define what constitutes a surname. And Vokdardt seemed to do the most research, although their extensive efforts were unfortunately in the field of “name changing” not “baby naming.” So that kind of sucks. But thanks anyway. The person who came the closest to being helpful was a mysterious woman named Emma who sent my an article from the online legal database Lexis-Nexis with the following text:

"You must use the 26-letter alphabet; however, no punctuation except imbedded hyphens and apostrophes is permitted," says Doug McBride, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. In addition, you cannot use symbols, diacriticals or numbers in the name.”

I think it’s clear that this baby-naming business if a state governed affair, meaning this only applies in Texas, but it’s at least got some specific information provided by a reliable source, and that’s good enough for me.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an email address for Emma because she used the Lexis-Nexis automatic print delivery service to send it (how advanced!) so unless I hear from her within the next hour the prize will have to be forfeited. And by “forfeited” I mean “gone,” because the prize was a turkey sandwich, but I’m really hungry and it’s like 100 degrees out so I don’t want to go buy another one. In any event, though, I think we’re all winners here, because we learned something – not just about naming babies, but about helping and sharing.

48 Comments:

Beligerent Dump:

Thank you for resurrecting the post-genre for which you are famous.

My daughter's name is Senator Betty Bigboobs Quinones Formerly of the United Soviet Socialist Republic{}.

By Blogger Leezer, at 2:44 PM  

I typed name restrictions into Google -and up came a web address for the Kabalarians. This organization will search the meaning of your name and then explain corresponding personality traits which "may be holding you back" in life - and now I am freaking out!!! I have to change my name because of this post!!!

By Blogger Ali, at 2:57 PM  

Don't have your future children in Norway. The government there has a list of "acceptable names" and parents who don't abide by those name choices are subject to a $420 fine unless they rename the baby.

The lady in this article ended up going to jail for refusing to comply!
http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/norway-names.html

It seems that many other countries have similar baby naming laws to protect children from names that "sound or look strange".

Mexico, Denmark, Finland and Italy have laws in place already.

By Blogger Brianne, at 3:13 PM  

Man, your contest winner isn't going to be happy. When I had my "where am I" contest, the winner got some old VHS tapes that I wanted to throw out (she declined them).

In my mind, a contest is like a yard sale, except for the money part and the lower-level of intelligence for people in a contest. But it's a great excuse to get rid of crap you have laying around that you are too lazy to take to the dumpster or salvation army.

By Blogger HomeImprovementNinja, at 3:16 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger TALK!, at 3:18 PM  

NO WINNERS YET.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 3:24 PM  

I researched Washington law and discovered only that (1) birth certificates can't be in pencil; (2) a mother who doesn't want to name the father on the certificate doesn't have to (isn't this kind of unfair?) and she can give the kid "any surname she wants" to; and (3) there is a "fund for the criminally insane" in Washington. I got kind of off track here.

By Blogger Leezer, at 3:28 PM  

I agree, research is hard. And it's hot out. But I can tell you that my Mom, who teaches first grade, once had a student named "Pretty Princess Amanda." Thinking that that was just a suggestion (and a ridiculous one at that), she decided just to call the kid Amanda. Well, Pretty Princess Amanda's mom came to the school all irate and shit and the principal told my Mom that she HAD to call the kid by her full name or the school could be sued. (Can you tell that my Mom lives on Long Island?) So anyway, that's one elementary school principal's interpretation of the law. "Pretty princess" might not sound offensive to you, but my Mom was quite offended.

By Anonymous Sharon, at 3:37 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger JoanLindsay, at 3:38 PM  

I know that you can use the spelling of a number for a name. My second cousin named her son 'One', he tried to change it to Mike when he was 5. His Kindergarten teacher wouldn't allow it.

So feel free to name your child Cocksucker McGillicuty, Thirteen.

When my grandfather was born the nurses wouldn't allow his mother to name him Buster. She went with Alvin instead.

By Blogger JoanLindsay, at 3:40 PM  

I already named my child Cocksucker McGillicuty, 13. Don't be a follower. Be original and name him something classy like "Cumgargle; Von Shitshispants 4."

By Anonymous dave, at 3:41 PM  

Dan,

I will, regretfully, have to inform Ann that you hijacked a picture of her baby and attached it to this post. For christ's sake! He's just an innocent child and his darling blonde head doesn't need to be shown anywhere near the word 'Cocksucker'. Ok? Thanks and talk to you later.

Love,
TG

PS (and unrelated): I know it's my "turn" but I'll give you $5.00 to do the dishes left over from dinner last night. And by $5.00, I really mean that annoying and useless Canadian five dollar bill that's been in my wallet since Montreal. Deal?

By Blogger T.G., at 3:47 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger TALK!, at 3:59 PM  

Here is the . Its a portal, yes, but a damned good one at that.

It looks like most of the regulations vary from state to state, judge to judge, but the basic principles seem to be the same: Nothing fraudulent, no hate-words, no letters, and no punctuation...

I guess this means that in theory you could name your kid The Angry Armed Alliterating Anglican Alberto as long as the judge accepted it... the surname might have to be the same though...

By Anonymous The Voktardt, at 4:27 PM  

A couple weeks ago the mailman mistakenly dropped a card in my box meant for my neighbor that was addressed simple to "Andrea!" The exclamation point made the letter much more exciting, as though it was ecstatically greeting me with unbridled joy. I felt like this Andrea was someone I should meet since she was so amazing that an exclamation point was necessary in greeting her. I remember thinking I should start addressing all my mail with exclamation points as it made things much more exciting.

Now I have to wonder if the exclamation point is actually part of her name. Wouldn't that be tiresome? Anytime you greeted her as "Andrea" in a downward ending tone she'd have to correct you by saying "Sorry, it's not 'Andrea' it's 'Andrea!'"

By Blogger PastaQueen, at 4:32 PM  

Sorry... so much for HTML... here is the site address.

http://www.nolo.com/

Just search for "Name Change" and you've got it.

By Anonymous The Voktardt, at 4:36 PM  

Ummm, my parents raised me to believe that contests are a destructive device used to lower the collective masses sense of worth, by larger unknown entities, who by doing so, exploit our sense of community and instead of living in harmony where there are no endangered animals, we slit each other's throats for looking different.

And different is okay. Different doesn't make you weird. It makes you special. And God loves you.

So, I can't join in on your contest.

It would cause me to jab a swizzle stick in someone's jugular.

Regrets,
Tystick Moonchild Rainbow Peace Marley

By Blogger Madame Agent, at 5:23 PM  

OMG, I have nothing useful to say (as usualy), but "name baby 'shit'" is possibly the funniest thing I've read all month. And that's almost 24 hours!

By Blogger Marci (aka Baby Banana), at 5:26 PM  

Dear lord, do we need to set up a therapy fund for the mental health of your future off springs now?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:27 PM  

This post has motivated me to change my name to Brando!?, now.

Thanks Daily Dump and Commenters!

By Blogger Big Daddy, at 5:55 PM  

There are some fun examples here.

I love a good research challenge. I'll bet I can find something.

By Anonymous Jeff, at 6:19 PM  

I think Jeff should win. Everyone go to that link - my personal favorite:

"Depressed Cupboard Cheesecake. Child of a couple in Kent, England[1] "

This couple not only named their child after a pastry, but a depressed pastry at that.

By Blogger Mood Indigo, at 7:12 PM  

I think Jeff wins, too. HA!

You know, now someone is going to be blogging that "Some guy found my site through Googling 'name baby 'Shit''. What the fuck?"

(Holy crap that's a lot of punctuation.)

By Blogger liberalbanana, at 7:37 PM  

I found that ANY name sounds unusual if you say it over and over enough times. Try it: Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. (OK, now it starts to sound strange) Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob. (and now it's slightly amusing). Bob. Bob. Bob... you get the idea. Just name your kid Bobx20 and make sure everyone says it exactly 20 times.

By Blogger Man On The Street, at 8:41 PM  

From page 190 of Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Drubner:

"Roland G. Fryer Jr., while discussing his names research on a radio show, took a call from a woman who was upset with the name just given to her baby niece. It was pronounced shuh-TEED but was in fact spelled 'Shithead.' Or consider the twin boys OrangeJello and LemonJello, whos parents further dignified their choice by instituting the pronunciations a-RON-zhello and le-MON-zhello."

By Blogger CrimeNotes, at 10:23 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger TALK!, at 10:49 PM  

You could write any name for your baby on the birth certificate, but the person who types it in will probably ignore it. This is why we have Oprah instead of Orpah. Actually that's just because her aunt spelled it wrong. But I have a friend who's name is Michael because the person who entered her name into the system messed up Michele.

Talk!- I'm from Mississippi too. Hattiesburg to be exact (actually from Oxford, but I'm in school at USM.) Figured I'd give you a shout out as this is my first ost and I have been enjoying yours for a while.

By Blogger Ethan Bratton, at 11:56 PM  

Come on... Jeff just posted a link from Wiki... sure it was funny (unlike my post) but it didn't meet the contest criterion which was (if I remember properly) to provide reliable information on name change legislation and/or policy...
Here is a link for legislation in Pennsylvania that appears to leave it up to the individual judge to decide whether a name change is acceptable or not. One can only assume that this is the case in most places and that the restrictions on what your name can or cannot be depend largely on what the state( supreme) court(s) outlined as being acceptable... yet again the nolo site is the best reference by lawyers that I could find on generally agreed upon restrictions.

By Anonymous The Voktardt, at 12:23 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger TALK!, at 7:32 AM  

Everytime I see "Yahoo!" I can hear the little jingle that sings it... "Yaaahoooo!" If you use Yahoo! chatter you can choose that little jingle to notify you when you get mail. hehe

By Blogger Kerry, at 9:44 AM  

I worked with a guy named The The once. It's pronounced "tay", which made his name TayTay and made me think he should be a 325 pound black football player rather than a 100 pound asian computer programmer. I also worked with a guy named Nguyen Nguyen, which is pronounced "win win," making every dealing with him a win-win situation.

Writing this makes me think I could pull off naming my kid, "The Shit," as long as I told the authorities it was of asian descent and pronounced "Tay Shu" or something like that.

By Blogger Sisto, at 9:49 AM  

I kinda like the name "Shithead Dumass" (pronounced: Shi-theed' Du-mass'). I have yet to find anyone who is actually named this, but that's beside the point.

About your "prize" ... when I read the "*" clause, I thought: "Wow, he really is a lawyer, huh?" ;)

By Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK, at 10:22 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger TALK!, at 10:26 AM  

For the record, I didn't think I should win anything for posting a link to Wikipedia. I just thought it was kind of funny.

And as much as I love a research challenge—I spent most of last Friday trying to figure out the origin of an obscure DVD clip I'd seen and ended up learning what Scopitones were, not to mention downloading seven different versions of the song "Tweedlee Dee"—I decided that making dinner with my girlfriend was more important than poring through badly transcribed local ordinances.

By Anonymous Jeff, at 11:58 AM  

See! My parents were right! Contests put us at each others throats instead of promoting the unity of community! It is already starting.

Everyone always told my parents, "LunaWarrior and PhoenixAshes, your sense of reality is based in a drug culture that has fried your brain."

I somehow feel they have been vindicated here.

Jeff and Voktardt, can't we all just smoke some opium, have group sex and get along?

Fondly,
Tystick Moonchild Rainbow Peace Marley

By Blogger Madame Agent, at 12:37 PM  

I knew a girl named Female (pronounced like tamale). When she was born, before she was officially named, her dad saw Female Ortiz on her basinet and liked it so much, he chose that as her name. I also knew a Shithead (pronounced Shi-thade).

By Blogger HelloBettyLou, at 1:12 PM  

Group sex? Doesn't that seem a little too over the top (wait, let me copy it), Tystick Moonchild Rainbow Peace Marley? And I wasn't attacking good ol' Jeff here. I like Jeff... we go way back... sort of... in a way... Yeah...

Anyway, I was actually responding to liberalBanana... it was getting late and one gets a little over-defensive when its late... frustrated no doubt by my earlier botched attempt at using the A href tag... Doesn't matter anyway because I didn't win.

What is a Scopitone by the way. I'm too lazy/busy/low bandwidth to go over there and find out...

By Anonymous The Voktardt, at 1:52 PM  

So this means Jeniffer 8 Lee of the New York Times is in possession of a contraband name?

By Blogger spinachdip, at 2:02 PM  

What in the hell are "diacriticals"? Anyone?

Yours,
Master Gunnery Sergeant Bigboobs Badovinac.

By Blogger Leezer, at 2:27 PM  

Umlauts
Accent grave
accent agu
circumflexe

all diacriticals...

By Blogger JP, at 2:35 PM  

I'm new to blogspot officially, but I've been reading your blog for months now. This blog has been a great work-out for my sides! I have laughed myself into shape!

Anwyay, I work in the social services field and the names I see on daily basis are enough to make you cry....on the inside.

Examples:

Shithead (pronounced sha-THEED, but c'mon)
Wrath D'angel of Mercy
Empress
Enchantress (they were sisters)
Gaylove
Escalade
Alizea (like the alcohol)

The list could go on.

By Blogger Cheerio, at 3:11 PM  

i know i'm late to enter (THAT'S A COMMON PROBLEM BY THE WAY AND SHOULD IN NO WAY REFLECT MY ABILITIES IN OTHER AREAS), but legal research presents me certain challenges, being as how i am 'barred' from representing myself as an attorney. (get it? barred? HAHAHAHA)

anyhoo, here's what 'Every Parent's Guide to the Law,' by Deborah Forman says:

"today, the law more typically provides that neither parent has a superior right to name a child. Laws requiring that a child be given her father's name on her birth certificate when her parents are married or that her name be changed to her father's when paternity is established have been successfully challenged on the grounds..."

and here is where i had to stop reading because my head started to bleed, but based on my understanding of the law, here is what I'm sure it would have said: '...that unwed women who have children are whores.'

By Blogger ducklet, at 3:56 PM  

Short time lurker-first time poster. Shout out to Talk! for lighting the way to this fabu-blog.

I knew a Shithead once, his name was pronounced Ken.

By Anonymous bamaborntxbred, at 4:27 PM  

I'm actually meeting with Ufuk in about 20 minutes. He's Turkish and pronounces it YOU-FOOK, but I know better. Those crazy Turks! I went to HS with a guy ,James, whonamed his daughter "Semaj"...or James backwards. Conceited jerk.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:50 PM  

My friend... what do you do for a living?! Because I know I would pay to subscribe to such a blog! haha... I support you.

And I wouldn't suggest you provide your child such an intricate name. How terrible would it be to have to write his name for the first couple of years of his life until he can write his own. Might as well start reaching for the "F1" keys now for dexterity.

Cheers!

By Blogger Ashley, at 3:39 AM  

Ha! I unsed to play basketball with a Semaj (his dad was also a James.... same guy?) I thought he was the only one around.

Makes me hate Nomar even more.

By Blogger Alex Fritz, at 6:41 AM  

Funny, that name stuff. When I was in labor and my mom was being a snit, I told her that, upon her leaving the birthing room in a huff, we would name my daughter Torville Anne Deane, after the famous pairs figure skating couple my mom adored. She did not laff.

Then again, she took one look at the very dark haired and at that point dark skinned newborn and exclaimed that her father MUST have been one of the portuguese landscapers at the townhouse property where we lived.

Gee, thanks, Mom.

By Blogger Sparkmonkey, at 2:19 PM  

My father has already named my first-born (a long way off, mind you) "Tater."

The mere thought is enough to make me stay childless.

By Blogger Mollypalooza, at 7:53 AM  

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