Re: Children's names

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Mon Jun 04 2001 - 14:35:28 BST

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    Subject: Re: Children's names
    Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 09:35:28 -0400
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    On 06/04/01 07:22, Chris Taylor said this-

    >Then of course there's the cohort of 50's Afro Caribbean immigrants to
    >Britain, who all seem to have the names of British Prime Ministers
    >(Winston etc.) - I don't know where those came from (whether it was a
    >Carribean thing, or whether they just grabbed names for their kids once
    >over here, and drew on the token bit of colonial history someone had
    >taught them).

    And then of course there's the choice taken by the Electroids from Planet
    X (or something like that) from the movie Buckeroo Banzai - they all took
    the first name of John and had different last names. But, they did that
    because they figured taking the most popular name would tend towards

    I will tell you the story of the names I gave my two daughters, since the
    itch is present.

    I am a fan of science fiction, and one of my favorite movies is Forbidden
    Planet, the first major studio usanian SF movie, made by MGM in '56 and a
    seminal influence of Star Trek, and dozens of others.

    There is one female character in the movie (why will be revealed
    shortly), who is named Altaira, after the world she was born on, Altair
    IV. I fell in love with the actress (Anne Francis), in that movie-star
    crush sort of way, but I fell in love also with that name, and I vowed,
    that if I ever were to have a daughter, that Altaira would be her name,
    and I did, and it is.

    Forbidden Planet is scripted with a loose wave towards Shakespeare's 'The
    Tempest', and many of the characters are indirect transcriptions. Thus,
    we have Morbius (Prospero), the lone scientist (sorceror), with his
    created servant Robby the Robot (Caliban), and a force unseen but somehow
    called forth (Ariel) from the inner workings of the planet.

    And we have Altaira.

    And upon the birth of my second daughter, the name Miranda was impossible
    to avoid, so I didn't, and it is also hers.

    It doesn't hurt that the names also mean things. Altair is from the
    arabic, the eagle - flying highest. Miranda is from the greek - 'woman of

    Altaira is an unusual name, so much so that I have only, mostly through
    the benefit of this internet, found one other. And there was a character
    on a briefly seen TV show called Modern Science named Altaira, the
    daughter of an astronomer. Miranda is much more common, but still nowhere
    near the ubiquity of Brittany, Jessica, or even Courtney - a name also
    well-trampled here in the US due to media and celebrity.

    And, yeah, I chose names that mean something to me. (We had a deal, the
    ex- and I, to name opposite sex children. She had 'Brendan' all picked
    out....) At the back of my mind was also an impulse to give them names
    that were not easily or rudely shortened. 'Dick' and 'BJ' and 'Bill' and
    'Fred' and 'Barb' being particular peeves of mine.... I don't use
    nicknames, even among close acquaintances, if I can help it, prefering to
    say 'Donald' over 'Don' at all times- but this is a peccadillo of mine,
    and far from norm..., which is another nickname I tend to abhor.

    Books of children's names line the impulse shelves near the checkouts in
    supermarkets. Every tourist trap has a tower of keychains and trinkets
    with names, hopefully in alphabetical order, to purchase as gifts.

    True enough, neither my name nor the names of my daughters are found in
    these displays, that I have seen.

    But, they _can_ both find all their letters in a bowl of Alpha-Bits....

    - Wade

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