This might be my favorite photo on the entire internet.
The shot, which depicts a playful little Texas boy pretending to ride a dead catfish on someone’s front porch, was taken by photographer Neal Douglass in April of 1941.
The Portal to Texas History calls it “Mrs. Bill Wright; Boy Riding Catfish.” So I’m guessing that “Mrs. Bill Wright” was the boy’s mother. But there’s no other identifying information, so I don’t know the boy’s name, nor do I have any way of tracking it down.
So let’s turn this into a name game!
First, let’s suppose our little catfish-rider was not named “Bill” (or “William,” or “Willie,” etc.) after his father. With that rule in place, here are the questions:
What do you think Mrs. Bill Wright named her son?
What would you have named him?
Just for reference, popular names for Texas newborns in the late ’30s included:
For extra credit, what do you think the boy named his catfish? And, what would you have named his catfish? ;)
The pretty name Amoreena debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1971 and was used most often during the 1970s:
1974: 10 baby girls named Amoreena
1973: 17 baby girls named Amoreena
1972: 15 baby girls named Amoreena
1971: 14 baby girls named Amoreena
Where did it come from?
The Elton John song “Amoreena.” It was never released as a single, but was featured on the album Tumbleweed Connection, “a loose concept record about the Old West written by two people [composer Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin] who had never even been to America.” The record came out in October of 1970.
According to one source, the song was a nod to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” (1969). “Both songs paint lyrical images of a lusty country girl in a pastoral setting.”
So how did Bernie Taupin come up with the name?
No one knows. One theory is that it’s based on amor, which means “love” in several Latin-based languages (including Spanish).
But we do know that the wife of Ray Williams (Elton John’s first manager) was pregnant at the time, and that Taupin suggested “Amoreena” as a potential baby name. Amoreena Joanne Williams was born during the first half of 1970, months before the album was released.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Amoreena?
Bernardin, Claude and Tom Stanton. Rocket Man: Elton John from A-Z. CT, Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1996.
My dad came out to visit us in Colorado recently. He loves geology, so we made sure to take him to several different places with impressive rocks/terrain.
One place we visited was Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. In this park we spotted the above sign, which described how the park got its name back in the 1850s:
As they looked over this area of cathedral-like rock spires, one man, Malancthon Beach, commented that the spot would be a great place for a beer garden someday. His friend, a poetic young man named Rufous Cable, replied that it was a place “fit for the Gods.”
It’s a cool story, but, to me, that first name “Malancthon” is way more interesting than the origin of the park name. Where did it come from?
My best guess is that Malancthon is a tribute to 16th-century German theologian Philipp Melanchthon, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname at birth was Schwartzerd (“black earth” in German), but as a young man he Latinized his name to the classical equivalent Melanchthon (“black earth” in Greek).
We also saw some names at Red Rocks, which is both a park and a famous amphitheater.
The amphitheater was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that existed during the Great Depression. One display included a photo of 124 of the men in the local CCC. Here are their first names, sorted by frequency:
With a first name as iconic as Kobe Bryant’s, who needs a middle name with an interesting story? Well, Kobe Bryant does. His middle name — Bean — is a touching tribute to his father, Joe Bryant. Because of his high energy and ability to jump (guess Kobe must have inherited that particular skill), his father was nicknamed “Jellybean.” Luckily, Kobe’s parents didn’t go for the full candy-coated name and instead just dubbed him Kobe Bean Bryant.
The names for Beatrix Potter’s much-loved cast of animal characters may have come from ageing headstones.
Peter Rabbett, Jeremiah Fisher, Mr Nutkins, Mr Brock and Mr McGregor have all been found on stones at Brompton cemetery, west London, near where Miss Potter lived from 1863 to 1913. This seems to confirm local rumours that have circulated for years about the source of the names of her characters.
“Leisel was a very rare name when I was born in 1985… When I was born actually, my doctor said to my mum ‘you cannot call her Leisel because that’s not a name… You’re going to regret that one day,'” the Olympic swimmer said.
“And they absolutely did.”
The 32-year-old also went on to say having a unique name isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when no one can spell it right.
“The only problem with my name is it’s spelt L-E-I-S-E-L — and everyone spells it wrong. Everyone spells it as L-I-E-S-E-L,” she said.
“So that is a bit painful, it’s a bit annoying. But I do love my name and I love that it’s different.”
From the 2003 book Exploring Twins: Towards a Social Analysis of Twinship by Elizabeth A. Stewart:
“[I]n such cultures as those of the UK and the US the implication of twinship in the broader realities of social structure is clearly indicated by the link between the ‘naming’ process for twins and class differences: higher socio-economic groups tend to choose more separate, less ‘twinsy’ names for their children, emphasizing values of and possibilities for individuation and autonomy, whereas the greater tendency for lower-class groups to actively emphasize and encourage unitary ‘twinness’, whether through naming, dress or referencing (as in the ‘twins’ as a social and linguistic unit) may well reflect values of familial solidarity and fewer opportunities for individual social advancement.”
The grandmother of a new baby named after murdered schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer insists the name was meant as a tribute to the dead girl.
Tiahleigh’s furious mother Cyndi Uluave unleashed on a young couple whose baby was born last Friday, and named Tiahleigh, claiming it was disrespectful to use the name of her daughter who was killed in 2015.
‘Who names their baby after a dead girl? This wasn’t their name to use,’ she said.