Megan Fox Picked a Name for Her Son, Bodhi, That I’ve Already Misspelled Twice

Bodhisatttva is a Sanskrit term for a person who has chosen the path of “awakening” or “enlightenment.” Bodhi means “enlightened” or “awakened” and sattva means “being.” So it would seem as though actress Megan (“Transformers”) Fox and her husband Brian (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) Austin Green have picked an “enlightened” first name for their second son Bodhi.

However it isn’t enlightened to pick a name for your child which you know will be misspelled by 90% of the North American population after hearing the name spoken. Bodie Miller, the Olympic skier who has won 6 Olympic medals, is probably the only Bodie that most people have ever heard of. And as far as I know he has no “h” in his name.

Buddhists, on the other hand are not likely to misspell the name Bodhi, but they comprise only a small percent of the North American population. Not being a Buddhist, I didn’t spell it correctly once while writing the title and first paragraph of this article. (No kidding, I spelled it Bohdi twice and Bhodi once; neither of which are correct. I also misspelled the Sanskrit word that means enlightened being like this: Bohdisattva.)

In addition, Buddhists are likely to be concerned about the name or word that follows Bodhi in the name Fox and Green gave their son: Bodhi Ransom. You already know what Bodhi means. I suspect you also know what Ransom means. It is most commonly defined as “a price you must pay for the return of a person or property which has been lost or stolen.” So Bodhi Ransom would seem to refer to an enlightened memory loss, theft, hijacking or kidnapping. What kind of name is that to give to your son? I guess Fox and Green didn’t consider that someone might put their son’s two names together and say “What the heck is that supposed to mean?”

As much as I like the idea of an enlightened being, putting Bodhi together with Ransom is like putting something good together with something bad and since the good thing is also likely to be misspelled by most people (who don’t know that Bodhi is also a very chic and pricey brand of lady’s handbags and accessories) I think the name Bodhi Ransom has bad kharma (a word I also misspell from time to time because of that darned “h”).

As you can see, Bhodi Ransom is not a name I can recommend with any enthusiasm. However, I should probably mention that Brian Austin Green’s first son (with a different wife) was named Kassius. I have already misspelled that name three different ways while trying to write it correctly in this paragraph, so I can’t recommend that name in good conscience, either.

Why would a woman named Megan Denise Fox and a man named Brian Austin Green, both of whom have experienced the pleasure of having names that are easy to spell and pronounce, pick names that nine out of ten people will spell incorrectly after hearing the names spoken. Those are not the kind of names I’d suggest giving to children you love.

Although The Baby Name Police didn’t warn Green about Kassius, we are giving Fox and Green a ticket for the name Bodhi Ransom. As documented above, the name creates needless spelling problems and is confusing.

What Kingsley Would Tell his Wife If She Wanted To Name Their Baby Girl Beauquisha Sharice (NSFW)

Baby Name Police_imageI’m writing to announce the appointment of a comic named Kingsley, who wears a faux rabbit-fur aviator hat, as the newest member of the Baby Name Police.  He scolds people who would pick names like Beauquisha Sharice or Acsh’lye or Dashaquitra and uses language I don’t use, because I’m afraid my mother might wash my mouth out with soap.

At a time when baby-naming standards are going downhill thanks to a recent spate of weird names from Soleil Moon Frye and Gwen Stefani and weird recommendations from Nameberry, I’ve decided to expand the Baby Name Police by naming Kingsley to the force.

Though Kingsley was disappointed with the pay, he was happy to learn that a faux rabbit fur aviator hat is the official winter headgear for the force. In a secret ceremony, I taught him the secret handshake and warned him never to use it in public. I’ve asked my mother to review the Baby Name Police etiquette manual with Kingsley so the force doesn’t receive any more bad publicity for “snarky comments.” Unfortunately, I’m not a very good role model in that respect.

To listen to Kingsley’s rant, just click the play arrow.

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale Come Up With Another Colorful Name: Apollo Bowie Flynn

Back in May of 2006, the name Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their first son, Kingston James McGregor, a name that was out of the ordinary. Using Kingston, a place name, seemed cool, but I worried what people would call him. King? (King is a grandiose title if ever there was one. Bullies might call him King Kong. But with James as a middle name, King James (like Lebron) was the more likely moniker. If the boy were a clan or a kilt, McGregor might come in handy. But, unfortunately, McGregor comes across as an unrelated add-on to Kingston and James.The best that can be said about these three names is that James provides a strong option should Kingston (or King for short) become too unwieldy or uncomfortable for the boy.

When their second son was born in 2008, the name Stefani and Rossdale came up with was Zuma Nesta Rock. That combination was immediately considered one of the “worst celebrity baby names” of the year and was added to many all-time “worst celebrity baby name” lists as well. Stefani and Rossdale’s credentials for “notorious” or “outrageous” baby names was now established.

The name presents a practical problem; it’s not clear what people call the boy: Zuma? Nesta? Rock? On an aesthetic level, the combination of three seemingly unrelated capitalized words may call to mind the Stone Age or perhaps a post-apocalyptic time in the future, which is why the combination seems so disorienting.

Stefani and Rossdale’s first two baby-naming projects included these elements:
-a first name that didn’t look or sound much like a name
-two “middle names” with little or no relationship to the first name
-a vibe of randomness or disunity between all three names
-seemingly little or no thought given to what the child would actually be called
-the net effect: an uncomfortable, disunited or disorienting impression.

So it’s not surprising that Stefani and Rossdale have again picked a name, Apollo Bowie Flynn, that is likely to attract attention.  Apollo was the Greek god of prophecy, healing, music, poetry and light. Like Kingston (King for short) Apollo makes a grandiose statement. It calls to mind Apolo Ohno, the Japanese-American Olympic short-track star and Apollo Creed the African-American fictional boxer in “Rocky” films also known as: The Master of Disaster, The King of Sting, The Dancing Destroyer, The Prince of Punch, and The Count of Monte Fisto. (Either way, it’s a very colorful and attention-getting first name.)

The two middle names, Bowie and Flynn are completely unrelated to Apollo. Bowie calls to mind Jim Bowie, a nineteenth-century American soldier, smuggler, slave trader, and land speculator, who is famous for having killed a sheriff with a long, 9 ½ inch knife that was honed sharp on both sides (and called a “Bowie knife”). Flynn is a prototypical Irish surname that has been made famous by the expression “in like Flynn” and happens to be on my list of “Cool Names for Boys.” In short, Apollo Bowie Flynn comes across as a random collection (or melting pot) of names which are as “disunited” as Zuma, Nesta, and Rock.

This is what I wrote about the name before I read an article in the Independent which reported the source of the two middle names: Bowie and Flynn are Stefani’s and Rossdale’s mothers’ maiden names.  That changes the story, but it doesn’t change the overall effect. Apollo and Bowie are two glitzy names that will compete against one another for “first name” status. They will also compete against Flynn, a cool name that starts the contest in third place.

One way or another, ABF will wind up with a name he likes–we just don’t know which of the three names it will be, probably until high school or college. So there’s no need to call the Baby Name Police, except perhaps to break up some fighting between the three names that should be working together.

(BTW, here’s a link to the birth announcement in The Independent that provided me with information about the two middle names.)

To Prevent Bullying, Mexican State Bans “Outlandish” Names Like Scrotum, Virgin and Twitter

The state of Sonora, in Northwestern Mexico, has taken action against “name abuse” (the practice of giving children outlandish names that encourage teasing and bullying) by banning 61 names and promising to expand the list as more harmful names come to their attention.

“It’s about protecting children,” said Cristina Ramirez, the director of Sonora’s Civil Registry. “We want to make sure children’s names don’t get them bullied in school.”

Here are some of the names banned in the state of Sonora as reported by Reuters:

Technology Names: Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Email

Fictional Names: Harry Potter, Rambo, James Bond, Terminator, Robocop

Medical Terms: Scrotum, Circumcision, Virgin

Brand Names: Burger King, Rolling Stone, USNAVY

Historical Names: like Hitler

Parents may be influenced by the “anything goes” style of baby-naming practiced by celebrities. But if you can’t afford to send your child to school in a chauffeur-driven limousine, accompanied by a bodyguard, picking an “outlandish” name for your child is like putting a “kick me” sign on his back before he gets picked up by school bus for another hellish day.

So let’s call the practice of giving children “funny” or “outrageous” or just plain “weird” names that are likely to embarrass your child and encourage teasing or bullying what it really is: name abuse. Cristina Ramirez put her finger on the problem: children’s “outlandish” names “can get them bullied.” By her choice of language it’s clear that this is a problem that parents needlessly inflict on their children.

What kind of parents do that? People who aren’t primarily concerned about their children’s welfare. The Baby Name Police prefers handing out tickets to parents who abuse their freedom of choice to banning names, but we think a “public scold” is needed to warn parents away from ridiculous names likely to embarrass children and subject them to teasing, harassment, and bullying.

Soleil Moon Frye Gave Three Names to Her First Boy, But What Will People Call him?

Recently, I saw an article in People about Soleil Moon Frye, who was expecting. You may recall that she and husband Jason Goldberg gave their first daughter three names: Poet Sienna Rose. I wondered what she would be called: Poet doesn’t sound much like a name you’d call a child so I figured people might call her Sienna, a cool name, or possibly Rose, a fairly old-fashioned name. Poet Sienna Rose wound up on a number of “worst celebrity baby name” lists because it seemed pretentious and awkward.

Frye and Goldberg gave their second child three names: Jagger Joseph Blue. I wondered what he would be called until I read the birth announcement more carefully and wondered what she would be called. Neither Jagger nor Joseph seemed much like girl’s names so I thought she might be called Blue. Of course, the problem with Blue is that it suggests “the blues” and “depression.” Because all three names seemed highly problematic for the child, the name went on many “worst celebrity baby name” lists, mine included.

Not surprisingly, Frye and Goldberg came up with three more names for their third child and first son: Lyric Sonny Roads. Again, I wonder what the boy will be called. Lyric refers to the words of a song, but it doesn’t sound much like a name. Sonny is a generic name that’s like naming your son “Boy.” And Roads doesn’t work well as a stand-alone name so this collection of names is another puzzler. Because none of the names works well as a stand-alone name Lyric Sonny Roads is likely to wind up on many “worst celebrity baby name” lists like the other two Frye/Goldberg concoctions.

Frye and Goldberg have used the same basic M.O. for the names they selected for all three children:

-They gave each child three names.

-They selected first names for each child that don’t sound much like names: Poet, Jagger and Lyric. Poet reminds me of “The Artist formerly known as Prince.”

-The selected usable middle names for Poet, but both Jagger and Lyric lack middle names that will work well as “safety names” if they ditch their first names–which I suspect they may do.

-Frye and Goldberg have stuck to their three-name-formula even though the response from pundits and the public has been largely negative about the names they gave their first and second children.

Most kids are embarrassed by everything their parents do by the time they turn 8 or 9. I’m pretty sure the first two Frye/Goldberg kids were embarrassed by their names as soon as they met kids their own age who had “normal” names that didn’t make them seem like complete fruitcakes. It’s likely Lyric will have the same kind of “rude awakening.”

I’m guessing Frye and Goldberg had to tell their first two children “sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never harm you” many times when they came home crying. They will have to repeat the proverb many times for their third child. Too bad it isn’t true. Teasing does hurt and bullying can lead to fists and possibly “sticks and stones” for their first boy, Lyric.

That’s why the Baby Name Police hard giving a ticket to Frye and Goldberg for yet another pretentious name likely to embarrass their child Lyric.

Why Busy Philipps Really Named Her Second Daughter Cricket

I just saw a video on that claimed to explain how Busy Philipps and husband Marc Silverstein came up with a name for their second daughter.

I’m writing this from memory, because I don’t want to sit through another showing of an annoying commercial featuring a Merlin-like Wizard or Philipps’ paid comments on behalf of Clorox about a contest of some sort that could earn a lucky winner $20,000 which, Philipps suggested, could “come in handy” to cover your holiday expenses. So between the commercial and the Clorox promo, Phillips was kind enough to share a few recollections about how she and her husband named their second daughter. Please forgive me if I leave a few details out of this re-telling.

Before the baby was born, she had come up with a list of names. But after her daughter was born none of the names seemed to fit:  About a week went by and the hospital called asking her to stop in and pick a name, already. So husband Marc Silverstein, a screen writer and producer, started peppering her with cute name suggestion and they started to picture their daughter growing up. Here are two of the images they were thinking about:

-She’ll be the favorite camp counselor.

-And, she’ll be totally hot in college

If they really had those images in mind,  they would have come up with an “all-American, freckle-faced name” like Becky or a “hot in college name” like Sabrina, Brooke or Madison.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to picture a girl named Cricket ever getting past the age of 5. Because Cricket is the perfect nickname for a cute little toddler playing with dolls, petting puppies, and chasing butterflies. As far as I can tell, there is nothing remotely sexy about the name Cricket. Which is why Busy Philipps’ baby-naming story doesn’t make much sense.

So what does make sense? You may recall that Philipps and Silverstein had named their first daughter Birdie (after Ladybird Johnson). I don’t know if they read my “Naming Siblings” article about picking names that go well together, but they seem to have been trying to come up with names of other “cute little critters” to go with Birdie.

Robins are cute and they chirp, but Robin doesn’t go well with Birdie (because Robin is a specific type of bird and Birdie is juvenile word for birds).  Bedbug is another cute critter name they may have considered, but the idea of giving their child a name with the word “bug” may have killed that idea. So they settled on Cricket, not thinking what it would look like on their daughter’s college application or job resume: juvenile.

Because parents like to give their children names that go well with one another, I think the real reason Philipps and Silverstein named their second daughter Cricket is because they named their first daughter Birdie and were looking for a diminutive sibling name to go with it.

So the moral of this story is: don’t pick a silly name for your first child, because that might cause you to pick a silly name for your second child, too.

The Baby Name Police should have warned Philipps and Silverstein about giving Birdie a juvenile name likely to be embarrassing when she gets beyond elementary and middle school. We’re giving her a belated ticket for the name Cricket, which is just about as juvenile as Birdie likely to come across as demeaning as she moves on to high school, college and adulthood.

Answer: 10 Dead Names. Question: What Did Aela Mass Find in a Cemetery?

According to Nameberry, “cool names” are names that will impress your friends and family when you send out the birth announcement. They’ll say, “I wish I had thought of that!” Or, “Great name! Where’d you find it?” However, if you pick a name that causes friends and family to say, “You must be kidding!” you know you’ve picked name which isn’t a “keeper” (if you’d caught it while fishing, you would immediately remove the hook and throw it back into the water).

For reasons I can’t fathom Pamela Redmond Satran and Aela Mass specialize in names that would cause most people to say “You named your baby What?”  It appears Satran has an acolyte named Aela Mass who wrote an article called “10 Unusual Baby Names I Discovered While Walking My Dog,” which I found on Babble.

All ten of the names would do a great job of confounding your friends and family when you announce them. All ten would also come in handy when you are angry at your child: “If you do that again, I’m going to change your name to Sophronia!” Or, “Hobart, get a sponge and clean up the milk you just spilled. Now!”

That said, here is the list of ten dead names Aela Mass claims she found in a cemetery: Sophronia, Eudora, Drusilla, Alaric, Hobart, Emiline, Annourilla, Lugretia, Gratia and Almeda

The proof that Mass found these names in a cemetery rather than on her laptop is that she included a photo of her dog, Darla in her “Walking My Dog” article. I wonder if the cemetery Aela Mass claims to have visited with her dog is the same cemetery where Satran finds the names she uses in her articles about “unusual,” “forgotten,” or “never heard of” names. I suspect both Nameberry writers use the same source, whatever it might be. Their writing styles are both quite similar. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

I must admit it took me some time to copy down the dead names, because I had to keep rechecking to make sure I had spelled them correctly. Annourilla, Lugretia, Gratia and Emiline are begging (from the grave) to be misspelled and mispronounced.  However, just about all the names would be great fun to use when your children are late for dinner. “Alaric, Drusilla, dinner is on the table. Wash your hands immediately or no dinner for the two of you!”

Why did Aela Mass decide to share these ten names with us? You’d think someone named Aela (who must have hated her name when she was a child) would want to prevent babies from getting awful names. Instead she promotes embarrassing names on behalf of Nameberry and Pamela Redmond Satran for distribution through Babble.

P.S. I just remembered where I’d heard of Aela Mass; she’d written an article called “20 Cool and Unusual Names” which I think contained 20 of the names Pamela Redmond Satran had included in a longer article called “100 Cool and Unusual Names.” I wrote a post about Mass’ article called “Has Nameberry Lost Its Cool?” It is one of my most popular posts. I also wrote a post about the longer article that Satran wrote, “Should Come With a Warning,” which was even popular.) It would appear that Satran and Mass are colleagues. Do they hold editorial meetings in cemeteries? I doubt it.

The kind of “dead” names in Aela Mass’ latest article were similar to the kind of “cool and unusual” names from Mass’ and Satran’s recent articles). For example Eulalie was recommended in the “cool and unusual” article and Eudora was recommended in the “dead names” article. All of the names Mass and Satran have been recommending could just as easily be called: “forgotten” or “unheard of”–words Satran has used in the title of recent articles featuring archaic names that are rarely if ever used in recent years.

However “dead” (a word that fits the “cemetery theme” Mass invented) strongly suggests that the names aren’t fit for real live children. What they can’t be called is “cool” because there’s nothing remotely “cool” about the dead names they’ve been recommending to expecting mothers whose babies would be devastated by the embarrassment and teasing these awful names would bring them. (Aela Mass should know from first-hand experience how painful it is to be given a “weird name.”)

To her credit, Mass didn’t call the latest batch of 10 names “cool.” But the fact that Nameberry is still recommending names that died 100+ years ago and have little or no possible appeal to parents in 2014 is amazing. What’s more amazing is that websites like Huffington Post and Babble feature these dead names which are of little or no use to contemporary parents.

Sooner or later Nameberry’s distributors (Huff Po, Babble and major market newspapers) and Nameberry’s employees are going to rise up and say “We don’t want to recommend dead names to parents whose babies could suffer as a result.” There’s something ghoulish about Nameberry’s continuing obsession with names that have been rotting in their graves for 100 years or more.

If you think I’m crazy, ask yourself this question. Would you happily switch your name (whatever it is) for Annourilla or Lugretia?  Is there a single name on Mass’ list of dead names you would give serious thought to naming your next child? Why would any rational parent want to subject their next baby to embarrassment and teasing? (I exclude certain celebrities from the category of “rational parents.”)

You may recall that boxer Laila Ali called ridiculous celebrity baby names like North West and Blue Ivy “crazy.” I think the ten dead names Aela Mass claims to have found in a cemetery are as embarrassing  as many of the names on my list of “29 outrageous celebrity baby names.”

The Baby Name Police have their eyes on Mass and her Nameberry colleagues. It’s a fine thing to call attention to lovely old names that have been overlooked in recent times. It’s a harmful thing to promote the use of unpleasant and unappealing old names which  likely to subject contemporary children to  likely to embarrassment, teasing and harassment. And to add insult to injury, many of the names are difficult to spell and pronounce as well.

The GQ Guide to Baby Naming: Magary’s 9 Dos and Don’ts

In a recent post I gave you an entertaining sample of the GQ Guide to Baby Naming and a link to make it easy for you to read the whole article. I suspect a lot of readers enjoyed the sample but didn’t click on the link. So I’m going to try again to motivate you to read Magary’s entire article. This time, I’m giving you a stripped down version of Magary’s Dos and Don’ts without Magary’s entertainingly detailed explanations and examples.

  1. Do not invent a name. Most inventions fail. Many don’t even make it past the patent stage. What makes you think a name you created out of thin air is gonna stand the test of time?
  2. Think real hard about whether or not a “cool” name is all that cool…Names that sound kinda badass…become stale and tepid with the passage of time.
  3. If you give your kid a kooky name, there’d better be a [great] story behind it.
  4. Don’t abuse the letter y. It’s not a real vowel.
  5. Go easy on the “extreme” letters. I like x, k, and z as much as any competitive Scrabble player does. But these are children you’re naming, not line extensions of Mountain Dew.
  6. Do not use double letters if you don’t have to.
  7. Do not name your child after…things [like: celebrity baby names, “Twilight” characters, etc.]
  8. Consider whether that apostrophe is really necessary. It isn’t.
  9. Think about the kid and not yourself. Are you giving this kid a one-of-a-kind name because…you
    want friends and family to be dazzled by your creativity?

Now you know Magary’s Rules, but without the entertainingly detailed explanations and examples you’re missing most of the fun, so check out the GQ Guide to Baby Naming–as I asked you to do last time.

Me: Questions?

You: Why do you keep writing about The GQ Guide to Baby Naming?

Me: Thanks for asking. I’m trying to reach: celebrities, celebrity wannabes, and parents who believe their kids will run with the popular crowd in high school if they name their daughter Blue Moon Unyt and their son Xlaxx)–before it’s too late. The GQ Guide to Baby Naming might save a few children from the curse of going through life with an awful name. I’m thrilled to be joined on this important mission by Drew Magary, whom (I’m sorry to admit) I had never heard of before I ran across his article.

You Named Me…What? The GQ Guide to Naming Your Baby

If you’re interested in reading a bare-knuckles introduction to baby naming, I strongly recommend Drew Magary’s article that ran in GQ a few months ago. If you missed it, you’re in for a treat. Jump right in, here’s the intro:

If name is destiny (Destynee?), then judging from the dumb-ass, intentionally misspelled, needlessly apostrophe’d names we Americans are giving our kids nowadays—Jaxxon, Branlee, Scot’t—we’re raising a generation of meth heads. What can be done to stop this? Presenting GQ’s rules for naming a baby in the worst baby-naming era in human history.

Congratulations, your wife/girlfriend/au pair is pregnant! A little bundle of colicky delight awaits you mere months from now. And one of the great joys of this period of anticipation is brainstorming all kinds of kick-ass names for your offspring.

But be warned: The power that comes with naming a child can be both intimidating and addictive, and we are currently in the throes of a child-naming crisis here in America. Seemingly rational people are naming their kids Baylynn, and Daxx, and Nirvana. Ethans are becoming Aythans. Marys are becoming Jazzmins. Wannabe elitist parents keep trying to one-up each other, as if a uniquely horrible name serves as some kind of guarantee against little Aston Martin growing up to be merely ordinary. Soon we’ll be staring down an army of Apples, and the entire country will collapse upon itself. Each of us will get only a few opportunities (or if you’re Antonio Cromartie, two dozen) to help in the fight against this encroaching apocalypse, so when your turn comes, please do your part by following a few simple rules.

If you want to read the rest of Drew Magary’s guide to baby naming, click on these words. It’s not on the newsstand any more, so I’m making this article available as a public service (and because I agree with Drew’s POV: baby names are becoming Dumber and Dumberer.)

Boxer Laila Ali’s Smackdown of Kim and Kanye Re: North West

After staying up late last night to write a response to Joanna Shroeder’s article “Stop Complaining About So-Called Weird Names?” I was thrilled to discover an interview, this morning, with Laila Ali (retired boxer and daughter of the legendary Muhammed Ali) about celebrity baby names like North West. Here are some of highlights from an interview by as reported by

When asked what she thought about the name North West, she replied: “I don’t like crazy names!”

When asked about the meaning of names like North West she said: “I think it doesn’t make any sense…You have to think about the child and as they get older what they have to deal with…. But North and South, and Leaf, and Water Drop, and all these names… C’mon now.”

When asked about the current practice of giving babies bizarre names: “A lot of people do things because it is a fad and they want to get some attention.”

When asked about celebrities who defended the bizarre names they had picked, Ali looked directly into the camera as if she was talking to Kim and Kanye and the other baby-naming celebrities directly, and said : “I don’t care who you are that is just stupid, period.”

Celebrity news media usually present celebrity birth announcements as though they are quoting God. Pundits, like me, try to discuss the names objectively. Truth is, we don’t actually know the celebrities we are writing about—so we can’t speak from first-hand knowledge about them. We can only guess what their true motives really are.

That’s why Laila Ali’s smack-down of Kim and Kanye (in particular) and others of their kind is so rare and powerful. She knows the game that Kim and Kanye are playing. And she’s willing to call them on it. What it boils down to is: Kim and Kanye can run from Laila Ali—but they can’t the hide.