Poll: Warby Parker vs. Zagg Pepper

dog-glasses

The 2016 Pop Culture Baby Name Game starts tomorrow!

One name that I’ve never added to the annual pop culture watch-list (but that I’ve been tempted to add for the last few years now) is “Warby,” from Warby Parker.

So how did the hipper-than-thou eyewear startup get its name? Here’s the story:

In May 2009, our co-founder Dave was wandering around the New York Public Library when he stumbled into an exhibition about Jack Kerouac. The four of us had long been inspired by Kerouac, who spurred a generation to take the road less traveled.

The exhibit included some of Kerouac’s manuscripts, drafts, and journals. In one of the journals, Dave noticed two characters with interesting names: Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker. We combined the two and came up with Warby Parker.

So let’s pretend it’s 2009 again. You and your friend Dave are at the NYPL, and he asks you to choose between the names “Warby Parker” and “Zagg Pepper” for his new company. Which one do you pick?

I'd call the company...

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Source: Culture | Warby Parker
Image: Pixabay


Dymaxion – Possible Baby Name?

Buckminster Fuller was a prolific designer and inventor (among other things). The word he used over and over again to name his creations? Dymaxion.

dymaxion

Fuller’s Dymaxion innovations included:

  • The Dymaxion House (affordable, transportable, maintenance-free)
  • The Dymaxion Car (3 wheels, 11 seats, teardrop-shaped)
  • The Dymaxion Map (which folded into an icosahedral globe)
  • Dymaxion Sleep (awake for 6 hours, sleep for 1/2 hour, repeat)

“Dymaxion,” pronounced die-MAK-see-uhn, is a portmanteau of the words dynamic, maximum, and tension (though some sources say the last element is simply the word ion).

The word reminds me of modern male names like Jaxion, Dymond, Maxin, and Xavion. And the fact that it was coined makes me think of brand names that became baby names such as Qiana and Jordache.

“Dymaxion” is an eye-catching word, it has retrofuturistic associations, and it handily shortens to Max…so do you think it might make a good baby name?

Image: Adapted from Dymaxion House (LOC)

Sierra Leonean Babies Named After Tony Blair

Kosovo isn’t the only place in the world where babies have been named after Tony Blair. There’s also the West African country of Sierra Leone:

[Blair’s] decision [in 2000] to send in British troops at the height of a brutal civil war is widely seen by Sierra Leoneans themselves as the critical moment in their country’s salvation. It turned the tide in the conflict and helped bring an end to an 11-year nightmare.

In 2010, The Guardian noted that “nine and ten year-old boys called Tony Blair are not uncommon now in Sierra Leone.”

One of these babies, Tony-Blair Kamara, was born in 2001 in the capital city of Freetown. His father said that he “would not be here speaking to you [if not for] all these risks Tony Blair took, because it was a political risk intervening where you know some of your troops will die.”

Sources: Sierra Leone: Tony Blair Born in Freetown, ‘I would not be speaking to you if it weren’t for the risks Blair took’, Free healthcare for Sierra Leone – and a whole lot of Tony Blairs

Do You Name Your Orchids?

orchid

Hubs and I went to a baseball game on Friday night, and one of the women sitting behind us spent time talking with her friends about the orchid in her office. And you know what? That orchid had a name: Octavia. The woman went on to say that she knew of another office orchid with a name (Desdemona) and that she thought all orchids deserved names because they’re so hard to take care of.

(I swear I’m not a creepy eavesdropper. I couldn’t help but overhear this stuff.)

Giving names to plants is nothing new, but her last point made me wonder if people are more likely to give names to finicky orchids than to plants that don’t take as much effort to grow.

Have you been introduced to any named orchids lately? More importantly, what name would you give an orchid?

P.S. In terms of baby names, both Orchid and the Spanish version Orquidea remain rare in the U.S. The fact that they stem from the Greek word for “testicle” (orkhis) could have something do with it.

P.P.S. The man-eating plant named Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors may have been inspired by a man-eating orchid from a 1950s Arthur C. Clarke story, which in turn may have been inspired by an man-eating orchid from a 1890s H.G. Wells story. Disappointingly, neither of these two carnivorous orchids had names.

Babies Named Linux?

linux, tux, penguin
Tux, the Linux mascot
In August of 2008, a couple in Sweden named their baby boy Linux after the open-source operating system.

Linux’s dad said that “[t]he reaction from family and friends has been positive — they all like it. Our families think it’s a bit of an unusual name but still a nice one, and our friends like it because it sounds cool!”

He announced the name to fellow Linux users that October, asking community members to send along “any stuff with the name Linux on [it], like stickers, pens, and so on” that they could spare.

The baby name Linux is also being used in the U.S these days:

  • 2015: 6 baby boys named Linux
  • 2014: unlisted
  • 2013: 8 baby boys named Linux
  • 2012: 5 baby boys named Linux [debut]
  • 2011: unlisted

The operating system was created by Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds. “Linux,” which Torvalds pronounces LEE-nux, is a portmanteau of Linus and Unix (the name of an earlier operating system).

What do you think of the name Linux? Do you like it more or less than Linus?

Source: A baby named Linux

Edith, the First U.S. Incubator Baby

baby incubatorOn September 7, 1888 — 128 years ago today — an incubator was used for the first time in the U.S. to treat a premature baby.

That baby’s name? Edith Eleanor McLean. She was born in New York City, and her birth-weight was below 3 pounds.

How did the names Edith and Eleanor do on the baby name charts in 1888? Edith was the 29th most popular baby girl name in the country that year and Eleanor ranked 128th.

These days, Edith ranks 526th and Eleanor 60th.

Source: Accardo, Pasquale. The Medical Almanac: A Calendar of Dates of Significance to the Profession of Medicine. New York: Springer, 1992.

The Kosovar Albanian Babies Named Tonibler

Tony Blair in Kosovo, with namesakes, 2010
Tony Blair & namesakes (in suits)
During the Kosovo conflict of the late 1990s, Yugoslav and Serbian forces under Slobodan Milošević persecuted ethnic Albanians — killing thousands and driving out hundreds of thousands.

After NATO became involved in 1999, thanks in large part to pressure from UK prime minister Tony Blair, the conflict was eventually resolved.

More than a few thankful Kosovan Albanian parents proceeded to named their sons “Tonibler,” “Toni,” and “Bler” in honor of Mr. Blair. Some examples:

  • Tonibler Dajaku
  • Tonibler Gashi (born in 2001)
  • Bler Podrimaj
  • Tonibler Sahiti (born in May of 1999)
  • Bler Thaqi (born in August of 1999)

When Blair visited Kosovo in 2010, he was “told that his name was ‘quite common’ in the country” and got a chance to meet nine of his namesakes.

Sources: Meet the Kosovan Albanians who named their sons after Tony Blair, Namesakes welcome Tony Blair during Kosovo visit, Kosovo conflict – Britannica