Who on Earth would name their child something like, say, Moon Unit? Or how about a horrific handle such as Dweezil?
Then there’s Apple Paltrow, who could have been named after the computer company or perhaps the fruit, or maybe even The Beatles record company. I wonder what her brother Moses thinks?
But it probably won’t matter since both their parents, Gwyneth and Chris Martin (from the band Cold Play), are rich and famous and so the lives of App and Mo won’t be all that normal anyway. Whatever normal is.
As you may have noticed in news reports this week, apparently this year in our fair province, normal is Liam and Emma.
These were the two most popular names given to newborn Albertans by many parents who apparently like movie stars like Liam Neeson and Emma Stone.
Service Alberta (whoever they are) reported over 52,398 rugrats were born in our province alone last year, which was the most ankle biters ever created in Alberta in 12 months. There must have been a lot of bad weather in late 2011, early 2012 — either that or somebody put something in the water.
But what’s really fascinating, especially for those of us with a pathological curiosity around such brain-numbing factoids, is the weird and wonderful names that some munchkins have been saddled with by parents who were obviously delirious with rampant pregnancy hormones and dizzy from deep breathing in childbirth classes.
The records show that some innocent little girls were given such names as Skeeter and even Shy-Angel. And, presumably in honour of those rainy days — and who doesn’t want to honour gloomy grey sad rainy days? — one little angel who may or may not be shy has been stuck with the moniker Rhaney-Day.
I’ve heard of boys named Rain, and girls named Sky but doesn’t Rhaney-Day (note, it’s hyphenated) kind of put a little dark cloud over the little tike’s head? At least until she’s old enough to insist on a legal name change.
As for the unfortunate newbie boys of the male gender, here are a couple of gems for you. Fast forward a few years. Several young fellows are in kindergarten. The teacher is helping the children learn about the weather. Her directions would go something like this: “Thunderbolt, I see you have your hand up. Would you like to help Horizon work on his drawing of lightning? It’s too bad Brave isn’t here to help — he’s a very courageous boy.”
So keep a lookout for Albertans Thunderbolt, Horizon, Brave, and Skeeter — they will be actual people soon even though they do sound like pet Schnauzers or perhaps potential winners of the Kentucky Derby.
But don’t feel too badly for these little whipper snappers. As previously alluded to a couple of paragraphs ago, some celebrity children make poor old Shy-Angel and Rhaney-Day seem positively boring.
See if you can match these names of the children with their celebrity parents (these are their first names and I am not kidding):
The kids: Moxie Crimefighter, Pilot Inspektor, Fifi Trixiebelle, and Sage Moonblood.
The parents: Sylvester Stallone (elderly Rocky), Jason Lee (My Name is Earl), Penn Jillette (funny magician); and Bob Geldof (Live Aid dude).
Yikes. Just because you are rich and famous, does that really mean you can burden your poor little kidlets with: Moxie Crimefighter Jilette, Pilot Inspektor Lee, Fifi Trixibelle Geldof, or Sage Moonblood Stallone?
I wonder what these self-indulgent attention-seekers gave these poor kids for middle names!
Here in the kingdom of Alberta, we seem to be (well some of us do) a tad more sensible. Interesting, though, to note that other than Liam and Emma, the top five names for each gender last year were Ethan, Jacob, Logan, Mason and Benjamin; and Olivia, Emily, Sophia, Ava and Lily.
Since it’s our fair city’s big anniversary this year, I thought it would be fun to check out what the most popular names were way back when. Although these are American statistics, this is who was coming into the world in 1963: Michael, John, David, James and Robert; and Lisa, Mary, Susan, Karen and Linda. I bet you know a few of those names, eh?
And get this: here’s the most popular names 100 years ago: John, William, James, Joseph and Robert; and Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret and Ruth. Oddly enough, not a single Thunderbolt or Rhaney-Day child on the list in 1913.
And since actor-type showboats like Nicolas Cage and Shannyn Sossamon and embarrassingly pretentious musicians like Bono (U2) weren’t around then, the world wasn’t blessed with children named Kal-El Cage (Kal-El is Superman’s original alien name), or Audio Science or Memphis Eve. It’s not clear if Miss Sossamon’s little Audio Science is a girl or a boy. Or perhaps a robot.
And of course, where would this wacky world be without the Jackson family.
As in Michael, Jermain, Janet, La Toya, etc., etc. Michael’s two boys have to haul around the handles Prince and Blanket, while Michael’s big brother Jermain named one of his unfortunate offspring — I kid you not — Jermajesty.
Oh, and as for Moon Unit and Dweezil? They are the children of the late eclectic genius musician Frank Zappa. They are all grown up now and seemed to have survived relatively unscathed with those whack-job appellations.
Of course, I’m not too sure about their two siblings, Diva Thin Muffin and Ahmet.
What’s in a name, indeed? A baby born last Saturday might be asking that question one day. A little eight-pound baby girl was honoured with the name Hashtag, which also the name of the symbol #, which is used to mark topics on the popular social network site Twitter.
But at least little Hashtag Jameson’s technology-obsessed parents resisted naming her Twitter Jameson. Because that would have been just plain dumb.
Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.