Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Amusement

Happy Fourth of July, Americans! If you are not American, you can just leave, because Sam the Eagle and I are going to post TRIBUTES TO AMERICA. Like this one. You know it's patriotic because it has the word AMERICAN in the title.

...Huh. Well, that's probably part of a plot to be un-American or something. This is better. I bet that other one had problems because it was posted on the Canadian web.
 ("World wide web? Is there a way to put this on just the American part?")

(In very related news, The Muppets is a very good movie, and their official YouTube channel is infinitely amusing.)

I hope everyone had a happy Fourth and that wherever you were, you had a good time. Even if it wasn't for all the same reason--watching Nashville's spectacular fireworks display with a group, the amount of smoke they gave off ending up almost completely enveloping downtown (or at least it looked like it from where we were) ...and with the flashes of light from the fireworks going off, it looked like Godzilla was in that smoke somewhere, wreaking havoc on cowboy-boot-wearing honky-tonk patrons.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hungering for Books After The Hunger Games?

Like many others, I'm a big fan of The Hunger Games. I devoured the trilogy, which sits on my shelf (thank you, anonymous crazy person who donated a pristine hardback of Mockingjay to the library's $1/book sale), because the series includes several things I love.

However, I've learned it's hard to trust new books that tout "if you loved The Hunger Games, you'll love [insert title here]!" because they are not The Hunger Games. They're trying to play off THG's hype, usually because of genre similarities and having a female protagonist.


That is not why THG is awesome. If it was, I'd enjoy the fifty thousand YA dystopias on my Goodreads shelf a lot more. Instead, here are some books that share some of the characteristics I loved about Suzanne Collins' series:

1) Emphasis on the story and action, rather than lingering on the main character's thoughts, feelings, and angst
2) Strong female character(s)
3) Romance, if there is any, is not the focus and/or is relevant to the plot
4) Appeals to both males and females

The Avatars trilogy (Tui T. Sutherland)
Without warning, five teenagers from across the globe discover that they appear to be the only humans left on the planet. They're drawn together, traveling through a world where mythology doesn't seem too far-fetched anymore, but what they'll find when they reach their destination is only the beginning.

If this were published now, it would be getting a lot of fanfare: comparisons to both The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, big displays in bookstores, long wait times at the library, and a quickly-announced studio adaptation, because it's awesome. Unfortunately, it was published six years ago (only six!) and no one seems to have heard of it.

Wait, why? It's got a seemingly apocalyptic setting when five minutes before, everything was normal. Characters are diverse, and both the male and female characters have [inner and physical] strength. Plus, there's a good bit of snarking, action, and magic. Honestly, this is one of the few series I've read that could stand comparisons to The Hunger Games because of the parallels, including action and serious fights.

The Provost's Dog trilogy (Tamora Pierce)
Beka Cooper's life  revolves around thieves, thugs, murderers, and the crime-filled dirt-poor Lower City. She's a trainee in the law-keeping Provost's Guard, and has worked for years to be able to guard the place she calls home.
Work is hard enough, but the slum is about to face a crime wave, the likes of which has never been seen. It's going to take all her skills (which might just include a magical affinity for hearing the dead) to find those responsible. But don't underestimate Beka. Because this isn't just any slum.
This is her slum.

Tamora Pierce should be well-known to anyone who likes reading about strong female characters in fantasy, and her most recent series doesn't disappoint. Pierce writes within her created medieval fantasy world of Tortall, but don't go looking for places with unpronounceable names and too many apostrophes; it's easy to settle in and the magic, while built into the world, isn't the only way things get done.

Beka's shy in her social life, a terrier when she gets a hold of a case, and makes mistakes. Think of this as a police drama, in book form, before police dramas existed. It doesn't have the always-on-your-feet-run-for-your-life action that Hunger Games and Maze Runner (below) do, but it's no dull read and Beka is trained to kick butt.

The next two books expand even more, taking Beka up through the ranks and onto even more dangerous cases. However, unlike the other series I recommend here, Terrier (the first book) could easily be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhangers!

Plus, a bonus if you read any other of Pierce's Tortall-set books: you can recognize some of the same places, and even the same (and/or related) characters in other books; the series is stand-alone but you could pick up the Song of the Lioness quartet, for instance, and meet one of Beka's descendents.

The Maze Runner trilogy (James Dashner)
This is life in the Glade:
1. A new boy is sent up every 30 days. Like all the others before him, he has no memory before waking in the elevator that transports him.
2. The elevator delivers supplies on a schedule.
3. The Glade is surrounded by a giant, unsolvable maze with doors that lock them in every night.
4. There are no answers.
Thomas is the newest boy, amnesiac and arriving on schedule. The next day, a girl arrives: the first ever. Her arrival signals a breakdown in life as the boys know it--and, perhaps, a chance to learn what's going on. If they survive.

Questions. Lots and lots of questions. You have them, and the boys have them. They know how they live, but none know why: why it's only boys, why a new one comes each month, why the maze exists with its deadly creatures, why they're locked in each night, or why they are cut off from anyone else. The answers come, I promise, though you'll have to read the entire trilogy.

Teenage boys are hardly my favorite protagonists, but I found Thomas to be a fairly likable character, and the entire trilogy keeps the action going the entire time; it'd be good to have all three books on hand when you start, because you will want to find out what the heck is going on as much as the characters do.

 Honorable Mention: Eon and Eona (Alison Goodman)
Eon's master has prepared him for years to become a Dragoneye, an apprentice to one of the twelve magical dragons that keep the land in harmony. Should he succeed, both Eon and his master will have riches and power. But that's only if no one discovers that Eon is really Eona: a female, forbidden upon pain of death to learn the dragon magic. 
That alone would make her life difficult, but Eon's appearance strikes a dangerous struggle, and more than just her life is on the line.
Okay, I loved Eon. Loooooved it. Interesting fantasy world, smart and strong female character and smart and strong and interesting secondary characters, action, magic, and both it and its sequel are fairly long--I like being able to curl up for long periods of time. Heck, I love it so much this is the second time I've mentioned in on this blog.

However, without getting spoilery, I felt Eona slipped in quality. I felt the second book got muddled with interpersonal issues--really stupid ones, and way too many. The smarts and action slipped, giving way to issues that seemed forced for the sake of plot, rather than how these people we've been previously introduced to would behave.

And that's why it gets an honorable mention: the first book is wonderful, and very much in the vein of Tamora Pierce, but the story spans both books. However, the Goodreads' ratings are actually slightly higher for the second book, so try for yourself.

I'm not saying that you'll love these if you love The Hunger Games; I've been burned too often by too many books making that claim. But these books are ones I've enjoyed and for reasons similar to why I liked THG. It's been extremely hard for me to find a dystopian series that can compare, but I finally realized that The Hunger Games isn't awesome just because it's set in a scary future. The characters, writing style, and how the plot is woven together is what made me love it, just as those same elements did in these books.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Four years ago, I entered college in Nashville, TN, with 12 credits from classes in high school, waist-length hair, no minor, and a major in Digital Multimedia Communications, essentially a blend of IT and graphic design because I wanted art classes that my school didn't have.

Last weekend, I graduated from the same college with 148 credits, shoulder-length hair, minors in Art and Social Sciences, and a major in Communication Studies which I think is the most awesome thing ever.

While the last couple months have been rushed (as evidenced by the complete lack of posts), it's a journey I really didn't want to end. I've learned so much, and done things I never thought I'd even care about.

The first painting I ever did. It's a scarf.
Four years ago, if you had told me I'd discover a passion for communication and research somewhere between Research Methods in Communication Studies and Nonverbal Communication classes, I wouldn't have believed you. Or that I'd write for the school paper. Or that I'd help found the university's art club--and then lead it. Or that I would not only survey the entire freshman class for my senior project, but enjoy it so much that I'd voluntarily present the project twice, once for communication faculty and then again the next semester at the research symposium. Or that I'd study abroad and be completely responsible for researching and setting it up. Or that I'd learn to paint. Or that I'd fall in love with Nashville.

 It's been an eventful journey. I look different: I started growing my hair out when I was 8; when I was 18 I dyed a foot and a half of it hot pink, then bright blue, then chopped it off. I can look at pictures from four years ago and see how some people have changed--and see some who never came back; it can be disconcerting to realize how many people started with me and didn't finish here. Coming in, I drew cartoons for fun and couldn't do anything else: the first art class I ever took in my life was my freshman year, before an art minor even existed. Also, I was terrible.

I might have improved a bit, though my
ability to take *pictures* of my paintings has not
I don't think it's possible to overstate how much the people at this school have helped me grow. Professors make a huge difference in whether you actually learn or not--under other professors, I'm sure I wouldn't have learned nearly as much about art, or communication, or sociology. I don't think I've had a single professor who didn't know my name, and it's been a joy to have multiple classes with the same excellent professors. (Also, to Mrs. K the art professor: bless you for putting up with my ridiculously visual brain and its inability to decipher verbal descriptions.)

At turning points like this, I think it's common to be asked the question, "would you do it the same way if you had to do it all over again?"

No, I would not.

 I would come in as a Comm Studies major and save myself the grief of the few computer courses I took (I'm pretty sure Alice was created by the devil, or at least people who can stand to fidget with computer programs for far longer than I can). I'd start with a Sociology minor--I couldn't fit enough Soc classes in, so I did a second minor in Social Sciences instead, which includes Sociology and Political Science, which I also enjoyed, but also Economics. And I'm sorry, Dr. M, but I think it's painfully obvious that Economics and I do not get along.

But that's it.

I wasn't damaged by having to animate fighting ninjas in Alice. I like both my minors anyway.The news makes a little more sense after having taken the Global Economy class.

And I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss not having to cook, no matter how much I complained about the cafeteria. I'm going to miss having friends in close quarters. I'm going to miss class discussions that help add to my ever-lengthening list of Communication Things To Research When I Have The Time Because I Find This Fascinating. And I'm probably going to have to wait until I'm retired until I'm in an environment where I can dye my hair crazy colors to make people stare again. Although by that point, I probably won't need to bleach it.
Four years ago, I entered college in Nashville, TN, not knowing what degree I'd get, or what honors, or, well, anything. Makes you wonder what the next four years will hold.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Six Things to Propose With Instead of Rings

Being a senior at a college (especially a Christian college), I am not a stranger to the idea of "ring before spring," which is exactly what it sounds like. I can't blink without running into another couple now preparing for a wedding two days after graduation.

However, the thing that really gets me is that rings are so boring. Professional jewelry has sharp, soulless edges that get caught on sweaters. And if you're anything like me, any ring on my fingers tends to migrate during the day to every other digit, whether it fits or not. Plus, they can fall off, or be taken off for some innocuous reason and then forgotten. And let's not forget the story that pops up every week in the news about how some poor schmuck's ring was dropped into rock/eaten by poodles/lost down the garbage disposal.

Obvious solution? Propose with something else.

1. A necklace. If you are so fixated on the idea of jewelry that you have nothing more original to do, at least consider that necklaces have more design potential, and they can have larger designs. If you really want to get the message across, get one of those personalized word necklaces with the word "ENGAGED" on it.

If you feel that that it doesn't quite convey all the meaning a traditional ring might, add a few more words so that you can capture it exactly, like "NOW ENGAGED" or "GETTING MARRIED LOOK AT MY BLING." If you find a talented wire jewelry artist, you might be able to forgo the necklace altogether and have your entire love story turned into chain mail.

2. Books. Why wait until you're married to start that family Bible? Give her a giant 20-pound leather-bound monstrosity with your genealogies already written in! If that doesn't symbolize commitment, nothing does.

If that doesn't suit your taste, find a nice edition of something that symbolizes your relationship. Pride and Prejudice to remind each other how much you totally hated each other at first! Twilight because of all the Facebook stalking you did before getting together! The Metamorphosis to prepare for the day when you wake up with a giant cockroach in bed with you! (Recommended for couples who live in Hawaii.)

3. Marbles. Perfect for artistic couples, this engagement gift will be an ongoing and live demonstration of your life together. Once you both exchange marbles, it won't matter how hard you try to keep track of them. They'll be spilled, stepped on, and ultimately lost. If this catches on, retirement homes can have competitions wherein residents can boast of how many marbles they haven't lost after X years of marriage!

4. Glitter. If you are still stuck on the idea of something shiny, choose glitter. Dump a couple gallons on both of you: it won't come off completely for a while, and you'll be shiny like a diamond without spending thousands of dollars!

Bonus: this automatically decorates your engagement spot for use in the engagement photos you'll spam Facebook with (outdoor proposals recommended).

5. Kittens. Inanimate objects are all well and good, but you're proposing that the two of you spend your life together--and people can be a lot harder to get along with than hunks of rock. Plus, what if you have kids? The best way to address this in your initial proposal is by giving him a kitten.

Similar to how you can tell a lot about a person by seeing how he treats waitstaff and retail clerks, you can tell a lot about how your beloved will be to live with by looking at this kitten. If it is starving, missing limbs, or dead, you might want to reconsider. And call the animal cops, which should also satisfy your post-breakup need for nasty things to happen.

If that doesn't happen, either you'll each have a cat to add to your family leading to hours of cuddling and entertainment, or since the cats have a good chance of outlasting your marriage, a built-in purr-machine to assuage your broken soul!

6. Teacups. This is what you're looking for in an engagement symbol. Elegant. Traditional. Comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Has a practical purpose, but is easily put on display. Perfect for use in both the wedding and anniversary celebrations!You don't have to mortgage your house to buy a nice one. And since it has a handle, if you really want to, you can wear it on your finger. If you were crazy.
Engagement teacups: best idea, or bestest idea?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Crushing Your Hawaiian Paradise

Being an Air Force brat (the term of choice for most kids of military families), I grew up living in radically different parts of the world. This is now something people find cool, because I spend most of my time with people who have moved maybe twice in their life and have never left the continental U.S. for any reason (my mind, it boggles). And they always give more attention to some of my previous places of residence than others: Arizona? No one cares about Arizona. But when people find out I've lived in Hawaii, they almost always respond along these lines: 
Oh, how cool! I've always wanted to go to Hawaii! Didn't you love it?
To which I reply along these lines:
Actually, it's really crowded--especially Waikiki, which has no waves and kinda icky water--and the traffic is horrible and potholes are everywhere, everything is super-expensive and did I mention it's crowded? And also there are giant flying cockroaches. Everywhere.
And then they look at me like I'm the biggest jerk ever for crushing their dreams of an island paradise, so I quickly add:
But other than that, it's cool.
One of these days, I'm going to try just saying "no, I didn't," and see if I get the same reaction.

When I originally typed this, I wrote: "I don't know why my first instinct is to come off as a total jerk." And then I realized that was a lie. I know why: because it's all true.

Because my family was coming from Germany where we could drive a few hours and reach several other countries, and were suddenly confined to a tiny island that took 45 minutes to drive from north to south. Because not only did we suddenly lose cultural things common in Germany, but prices on basics like milk shot up because everything had to be imported. Because when you live somewhere it gets really annoying for everyone to assume you're a tourist there for a week. Because cockroaches as are common as flies and it doesn't matter how clean everything is, they'll still be there. Because the twenty-three months I lived there (but who's counting?) were some of the worst of my life.

Comparatively. I've had a really awesome life.

At any rate, I find myself these days wishing to return for an extended stay, part of this post-military-life nostalgia for a time when I lived not in the continental U.S. and was too young to appreciate everything. You'd think that spending the summer in Germany again would help alleviate that, but it really just made it worse.

Hawaii is part of that. Yes, everything was expensive. Yes, tourists were everywhere. Yes, the traffic is the worst, I've seen enough 70-year olds in thongs to go blind, and the cockroaches flew in formation around my head taunting me. But its reputation as a good vacation spot is mostly deserved.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is interactive, informative, and fun--and I had almost mastered the New Zealand poi balls as a way to incapacitate my sisters before we left (the fact that they were made of tissues notwithstanding). The North Shore had some gorgeous spots for boogie-boarding, my sport of choice because of my complete inability to stand on a board without killing myself and everyone within a ten-foot radius. And if you've been in the water from a young age like I have, having easy access to lots of beaches is a plus.

This is exactly what I walked across. Except not on fire.
The Big Island (Hawaii) has active volcanoes and it's surprisingly fun to hike over a former lava flow (down by your kneecaps, enjoy the former-parking-lot-sign that says "CAUTION: SPEED BUMP AHEAD). Kauai has...well, I don't remember what Kauai has, but it didn't kill me so we'll assume I enjoyed it. These other islands are also distinctly less crowded than Oahu, home of Honolulu and Waikiki and probably everything else you associate with Hawaii (except for live volcanoes).

So the next time someone starts gushing about the tropical paradise they envisioned I lived in, I'll just smile, nod and back away slowly, and tell them how great it is to hike over lava fields and go scuba diving.

But not Waikiki. I have to draw a line somewhere.
 And I draw it here. Thanks, Waikiki, for all the images I never wanted.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Most Ridiculous Baby Name Book Ever: Part III

If you've already read parts One and Two, you know that 40,001 Best Baby Names displays a remarkable insanity before you even get to the actual name listings. And if you're like me, you'd think that except for many containing some of the names in the lists, a name dictionary can't really go wrong.

And then you remember that this is the book that suggests Dusky-Dream as a name, giving its origin as "invented." It would like you to believe that "dusky" means "dreamy" (it doesn't), so the book wants you to name your daughter "dreamy dream."
Fun with names: according to the book, another female American name that means "dreamy" is Fog, so presumably you should feel free to name her Dusky-Fog or maybe Fog-Dream.
Admittedly, it would be hard to find fault with a lot of the names listed simply because it's normal for name books to contain names that would seldom be used, either because they're out of date (Eustace) or just aren't a real choice (Agamemnon).

The book is full of "American" names--that is, names with American origins, as opposed to Scottish or Arabic. And that can be legitimate: the name Colleen, for example, although quintessentially Irish, is not a name in its country of origin; it's a term for a young girl. So I'm not going to pretend that there are not names that are unique to or more common in America.

But then you have names that are deemed "American," and assigned a meaning with no reference, which makes no sense because America is a nation of immigrants. Will someone please tell me how "Ajay" (A.J.) came to mean "spontaneous"? Other "American" names include:
Cowboy (male; "western")
Curb (m, "word as a name; dynamic")
Dearon (m; "dear one")
Devender (m; "poetic")
Dobes (m; "unassuming")
Dravey (m; "groovy")
Gaddis (m; "hard to please, picky")
Kyzer (m; "wild spirit")
Momo (m; "rascal") It doesn't tell you it's actually Japanese for peach.
Orenthiel (m; "sturdy as a pine")
Phex (m; "kind")
Poogie, Pookie (m; "snuggly")
Skeetz (m; "zany")
Trocky (m; "manly")
Wize (m; "smart") and Wyze (m; "sizzle, capable")
Beige (female; "simple; calm") and Beige-Dawn ("clear morning")
Bootsey (f; "cowgirl")
Chessteen (f; "needed")
Essence (f; "ingenious")
Fluffy (f; "fun-loving")
Fushy (f; "animated; vivid")
Gregory (f (!); "scholarly") Note that in the boy's section, Gregory is a Greek name that means "cautious."
J-Nyl (f; "flirtatious")
Meashley (f; "charmer")
Nurlene (f; "boisterous")
Poodle (f; "dog; froufrou girl" )
Schmoopie (f; "baby; sweetie")
Wood (f; "smooth talker")
Yuette (f; "capable")
Zoom (f; "energetic")

Other names deemed "American" are actually combinations of other names, with meanings assigned to the combination with no apparent regard for what the original names meant. Try these on for size:
Hughdonald (m; "combo of Hugh and Donald; southern." Hugh="intelligent," Donald="powerful; world leader")
Jathan (m; "combo of Jake and Nathan; attractive." Jake, from Jacob="replacement; best boy," Nathan="magnanimous")
Johnny-Dodd (m; "country sheriff")
Rajoseph (m; "combo of Ra and Joseph." Ra has no entry, Joseph="asset")
Tedwayne (m; "combo of Ted and Wayne, friendly." Ted, from Theodore="a blessing," Wayne="wheeler-dealer")
AthaSue (f; "combo of Atha and Sue; sweet and discriminating." Atha has no entry, Sue="lily")
Caykee (f; "combo of Cay and Kee; lively." Cay has no entry, Kee has no entry although "Keekee" is American and means "dancing." Apparently this is different from "Kiki," which is both Spanish and American and means "vivacious")
Deandralina (f; "combo of Deandra and Lina; divine seer." Deandra="combo of Sandra ("protective") and Deanna ("divine girl"); Lina="light of spirit")
Jo-Allene (f; "combo of Jo and Allene; effervescent." Jo ("from Josephine")="spunky," although Josephine="blessed;" Allene="wonderful")
Maryalice ("friendly"), Maryann ("special"), Mary-Catherine ("outgoing"), Mary-Elizabeth ("kind"), Marykate ("splendid"), Marykay ("adorned"), Mary-Lou ("athletic"), Mary-Marg ("dramatic"), Mary-Margaret ("dramatic, kind"), Marypat ("easygoing"), Marysue ("country girl")
Michaelannette ("combo of Michael and Annette; spirited")

If you're sick of Mary-Anything right now, consider that I did you a favor and left out all the Mari-Names and Marie-Names.

And the insanity doesn't stop there. You may remember, from Part Two, the inclusion of a list of "made-up names." If that list wasn't enough for you, here are a handful of the names with no cultural background; they're just listed as "invented" although that apparently doesn't stop them from having definite meanings.
Delete  (m; "ordinary")
Jadall (m; "punctual")
Jagit (m; "brisk")
Kelts (m; "energetic")
Odisoose (m; "invented form of Odysseus")
Chinadoll (f; "fun")
Crispy (f; "fun-loving; zany")
Dijonaise (f; "condiments; combo of Dijon and mayonnaise")
Likiana (f; "likeable")
Rockella (f; "rocker")

These barely skim the surface of what's contained within the seemingly-innocuous pages of the 40,001 Best Baby Names. It's the most baffling collection you may ever read. However, I'm sure it (and its successors of 50,0001 and 60,001 names) has its uses: announce that your twins are going to be Tankie Austeena ("big" and "statuesque") and Swoosie Tygie-Jimbo ("unique" and "energetic"-"cowhand"), and when they're born and you announce what the names really are, no one will complain. Ever.

Part I, An Introduction: Just in Case You Wanted You Child to Have a Death-Row Name
Part II, The Lists Get Weirder: Afrodytee is Much Easier to Pronounce than Aphrodite

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Most Ridiculous Baby Name Book Ever: Part II

Previously in Part I, we were introduced to the mind-boggling ridiculousness that is 40,001 Best Baby Names and its unexplained, random lists that make up the first fifty pages (not counting the introductions with helpful information telling you how to change your name, that the name Erica is evil, and interviews with people telling you how much she loved being a Jennifer, or how traumatizing the name Wendy is). And yet the lists go on.

Sure, you have the prerequisite "[country] names for boys/girls" (although Asia gets lumped together--good luck if you wanted more than one Thai name), and for the worried parent it helpfully lists "names that get shortened" (where else would Lucretia and Nanette be put together, or Wilfredo and Augustus?), but how about "girl names that spawn nasty nicknames"? She earlier introduced earlier to her female friend Christopher, unfortunately saddled with a distinctly male name, so that name is on the list, along with Dusky-Dream, Hermione, Lesbia, Scarlett, and Winifred. I'm not even sure where Lesbia came from--it's not listed in the book's actual name listings AT ALL. And Dusky-Dream?

Dusky: (invented) dreamy;

Dusky-Dream: (invented) dreamy; Duskee-Dream (alternative spelling)

Debbie-Jean and Fluffy are "girlie-girl names"; Glanville, Jaden, Maureen, and Hilary are "so over";  Cherry-Sue, Galaxy, Snooks, and Boots "make you smile"; Bryton, Derlin, and Alexakai are "made-up" (which begs the question: why are they here?); Ned, Arden, Ethel, Corinna, Irene, and Polly are "old-fashioned...[but] cute again"; Bebe, Fluffy, Pal, and Rabbit are "for playful personalities"; and along with Gwyneth and Roosevelt, Don Quixote, Bjork, and Karalenae (defined as "a combination of Kara and Lenae") are "overpowering."

I want to ask questions: what does "overpowering" mean, because there's a lot of different between Penelope and Deja-Marie. Why are "made-up" names included? Is "make you smile" some secret code for "try not to laugh at the poor person who was named by their 4-year-old sibling who really just wanted a puppy"?

I keep thinking I should be done with the lists, but things keep popping up. Specifically, two lists: "alternative spellings for boy/girl names you can't pronounce" and "Boy/girl names for children of lesbians and gays".

Please let that sink in.

In the first category, we have Dameetree, Malla-Ki, and Playtoh for the boys (Dmitri, Malachi, and Plato respectively), and Alaygrah, Sheelyah,  and Tateeahna for the girls (Allegra, Shelia, and Tatianna). Sure, if you name your child "Bouvier" there's going to be confusion (avoid that with the lovely Booveeay), but how many people have trouble with Monique (Moneek) or Dana (Dayna, which isn't too bad as a name itself except for the implication that Dana is a horribly difficult name to figure out)?

The entire reason I picked up this book was because of this last list, names for children of lesbians and gays. Surely, I thought, there must be some rationalization, some sort of explanation. Perhaps these are the names of people dominant in the history of gay rights, or current activists, or it turns out that Alex actually means "likes to kiss other boys" or something.


I have no idea where this list came from. There's no explanation, it might as well be "names of people who checked out this library book before I did" or "list of people whose favorite color is puce." Because I don't know about Bevan and Noel, but Spencer, Ethan, and the aforementioned Alex are fairly wide-reaching. And maybe I don't know that many Glorias, Annabelles, and Ramonas, but I'm pretty sure that the many Ambers and Jessicas I've met don't all have same-sex parents.

I keep looking at this thinking, surely there is some semblance of reason in here. Surely there is invisible ink explaining this. And there's not. And it's hilarious.

Part III, We Finally Reach the Name Listings: Meashley, Yu-crazy
Part I, An Introduction: Just in Case You Wanted You Child to Have a Death-Row Name


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