Here’s the latest batch…
From the novel The Notorious Miss Lisle (1911) by Mrs. Baillie Reynolds:
“The notorious Miss Lisle had the most weird Christian name you ever heard of — let’s see now, what was it? Not Guinevere, nor Gwendolen — Oh, yes, I have it. Gaenor! G, a, e, n, o, r! Did you ever hear such a name as that?”
From “Do Weird Baby Names Indicate Selfishness Or Love? Yes” by Joy Pullmann of The Federalist:
Our first child has a rather weird name. Ransom is a genuine, old name, but the effects of choosing it actually made me determined not to make such an ethereal pick again. I’ve finally joined my husband on the plain-vanilla baby names bandwagon, just as everyone.s getting off it.
Our son’s name means a great deal to us because it in fact does signal our family’s ties to something greater than even each other. It’s an enduring mark of gratitude for a faith that kept me from killing a child I didn’t want. That faith and that child ransomed me from selfishness (or at least some selfishness). So it may be and is indeed likely that other people’s children, whatever their names, can and have performed similar acts of mercy even just by existing. And how would an onlooker know whether an unusual name signifies parental self-absorption or self-sacrifice?
They wouldn’t. But, all the same, our next baby will have a meaningful name that other people have heard before.
From “Why Google’s smart assistant doesn’t have a name like Siri, Alexa, or Cortana” by Jillian D’Onfro of Business Insider:
Assistant’s lack of personality was quite intentional, according to Jonathan Jarvis, a former creative director on Google’s Labs team.
“We always wanted to make it feel like you were the agent, and it was more like a superpower that you had and a tool that you used,” he tells Business Insider. “If you create this personified assistant, that feels like a different relationship.”
For that reason, Assistant likely won’t be telling you jokes or serving up sassy responses, either.
We also heard while at I/O that Google didn’t want to give its assistant a gender or make it seem too American.
From “The Difficulty of Names” by Mami Suzuki of the blog Tofugu:
My name “Mami” (pronounced mommy) is a good example of this. Mami is quite a common name in Japan and mostly means “true beauty” or “true”, but in English, it just sounds like mother. Therefore, I always feel embarrassed when I introduce myself, because I have to say, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Mami.” It’s pretty strange, isn’t it? “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Mother. Say my name.” Even my teachers and my bosses have to call me Mommy!
From “Bye-bye Berlin: Wheels for name change set in motion 100 years ago” about the Ontario town of Kitchener (formerly Berlin):
Meanwhile, 100 years after it was nixed, the Berlin name is enjoying a bit of a minor renaissance in Kitchener.
Two businesses prominently featuring the name have opened in recent months: The Berlin restaurant and the Berlin Bicycle Café.
Andrea Hennige, the restaurant manager at The Berlin, says the name was chosen with an eye toward the area’s history.
“It’s a nod to the people who settled the area, who probably laid the bricks in this building,” she said in an interview.
Town residents voted to drop the name Berlin in 1916, during WWI. The name change ballot included the following options: Adanac (Canada spelled backwards), Benton, Brock, Corona, Keowana, and Kitchener. Speaking of ballots…
From “Maine”s GOP governor, veto record-holder, names new dog Veto” in The Seattle Times:
Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the state’s all-time veto champion, has named his new dog Veto.
LePage, who has earned renown for exercising his veto pen on bills he didn’t like, adopted a Jack Russell terrier mix from a shelter.
LePage chose the name Veto because his pet “is the mascot of good public policy, defender of the Maine people and protector of hardworking taxpayers from bad legislation,” his spokesman Peter Steele said.
Steele joked that the governor is going to train the dog to deliver vetoes from his office to legislative leaders.
From “Why There Are So Many More Names for Baby Girls” by Chris Wilson in TIME:
“The culture is much more accepting of out-there girls’ names,” says Matthew Hahn, a professor of biology and informatics at the University of Indiana who co-authored a 2003 study comparing baby name trends to evolutionary models. “The same goes for inventing new names.” For example, some formerly male-dominated names become predominantly female names, like Lindsey and Mckenzie, but it rarely goes the other way.
“The inventiveness in girl names has always led the boys,” says Alex Bentley, a professor in comparative cultural studies at the University of Houston and a co-author of the 2003 study, though he notes that, in the past decade, the rate at which people invent new boy names has caught up with the rate for girls.
From “Ever Wonder How Ice Cube Got His Name? Here’s Your Answer” by Angela Watercutter in Wired:
“My brother, he’s about nine years older than me, he used to have all kind of women calling the house and I would try to get at them,” the man known to the IRS as O’Shea Jackson says in this Google Autocomplete interview. “He got mad at that and said he was going to slam me in the freezer one day, and turn me into an ice cube. I said, ‘You know what? That’s a badge of honor.'”