CSotD: Shallow thoughts

I had some deep thoughts today but realized I’ve shared enough deep thoughts lately and I’m not in the mood.

So here is our deepest thought of the day, from Red and Rover (AMS), and it fits my mood that it comes from a dog.

Nothing against dogs, mind you. I appreciate their ability to live in the moment, though they have varying abilities to live in the rain.

My last several dogs, Rhodesian ridgebacks, had no undercoat and refused to go out in the rain, but they compensated for it by having iron bladders and the ability to wait 24 hours if necessary.

I now have a tiny dog with a tiny bladder, but she doesn’t seem to mind rain, though she doesn’t stay out there any longer than it takes.

My deep thought of the day is that we should all be like dogs, mostly with the ability to accept the day and adjust accordingly.


If that’s not shallow enough for you, how about this rant?

Today’s Edison Lee (KFS) triggers a memory of when computer games first appeared, by which I mean computerized versions of board games, not the Orb of Zot.

Monopoly came out — on a small floppy, which you had to insert each time you played — and it simply had the board, the dice and the tokens, plus property cards. You clicked on the dice to roll, it moved your token, you bought something or paid rent or whatever.

If you played multi-player, nobody had to be the banker and it was impossible to cheat, and, if you couldn’t round up a crew, you could play alone against virtual opponents.

And then they improved it with animations, so that, for instance, when the guy on the horse moved, the horse reared and neighed and galloped and it took about 30 seconds for him to get to his next square.

It was like playing Monopoly with a group of really annoying dorks.

Made me want to go back to Zot and attack a vendor.


The revenge being that the people who thought all those “improvements” were improvements are now hip-deep in NFTs or, as seen in Brewster Rockit (Tribune), virtual houses.

Someone on Twitter asked if anybody thought Bitcoin was going to collapse and destroy the economy. They immediately got plenty of answers explaining why it’s all very stable and is definitely the currency of the future.

Like going to a Jehovah’s Witness convention and asking if Jesus is really coming back.


Another inconsequentially shallow observation concerns the trend noted in this Rhymes With Orange (KFS), which is based on the belief that the greatest gift you can give your child is a name they will have to laboriously spelled aloud each and every day for the rest of their lives.

That’s obviously not a problem in that portion of the African-American community where the goal is to come up with an absolutely unique name. D’Brickashaw Ferguson would have to spell his first name every time, if he hadn’t been a major star for 10 years in the NFL.

Now he only has to spell it for non-sports fans.


But this 2007 Baby Blues (KFS) demonstrates the other side of that coin.

In 1990, I did a story on baby-naming, and while some ethnicities have fascinating ways of choosing names, the most popular names — based on local birth records — seemed to come from soap operas, which I guess is what happens when you have to leave work in your fourth month rather than sticking it out until the contractions are 20 minutes apart.

Kayla Brady (“Days of Our Lives”) certainly isn’t the only soap opera character whose name shows up on the Top Ten lists for the North Country. Although only two boys names — Kyle (“Generations”) and Justin (“Days of Our Lives”) — have soap opera counterparts, the girls’ list reads like a roster of daytime characters: Brittany, Ashley and Nichole are all on “Days of Our Lives,” and Nichole is also the name of a character on “Another World.” Sarah is a character on “One Life to Live.” Amanda is on “Another World.” Chelsea appears on “The Guiding Light” and Emily has two characters with her name: One on “All My Children” and another on “As the World Turns.” Even Heather is a soap opera character, a baby on “Loving.”

Earlier generations had named their kids for Linda Darnell, Debbie Reynolds or Gary Cooper, so it’s really nothing new, but Special Spelling was: The most popular name in our region was Brittany, Britney, Brittney, Brittnie, while Number 5 was Ashley, Ashleigh, Ashlie, Ashlee and Number 8 was Chelsea, Chelsey, Chelcie, Chelsy, Chelsie.

Even “Ryan’s Hope,” which never got very good ratings, apparently inspired a small flood of Siobhans, a lovely name if you really are Irish, but which is already impossible to spell and, if you see it spelled, most people would have no idea how to pronounce it.

(Side note: In the Gaeltacht, “Caitlin” is pronounced “Hosh-leen,” not “Kate-lin.”)

And then, when I was in the editor’s chair, I had a furious mother call because, in a story about Explorer Scout awards, we had misspelled the mile-long, faux-Gaelic variant of Catherine with which she had saddled her daughter. Turned out we’d spelled it just as the Explorers had sent it.

The poor kid was hardly the only victim of born-again Irish determined to make their children’s names authentic and their lives miserable.

And who used to come up to the bandstand when my Irish pub band was playing, to inform us that we weren’t doing the song the way Turlough O’Carolan — excuse me, “Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin”had written it in 1708.

Riverdance killed pub music.


8 thoughts on “CSotD: Shallow thoughts

  1. My sister is named “Brenda Lee,” which pinpoints the era, and possibly the precise month, she was born. But let’s credit Nicholas Cage for christening his son Kal-El, a name that’s been around since 1938. No trendy names for him!

  2. My mother wanted to give me a very Irish name; fortunately it was well before the Gaelic revival spelling hit the states. Although I did have to spend a fair amount of time explaining that no, my mother wasn’t a big “Gone With the Wind” fan.

  3. Ray Bradbury has a short story about ‘Rain Rain Go Away’, wherein ALL the times the ditty’s been been chanted, the rain finally comes back . . . with a vengeance.

    I worked for 30 years in a high school where students’ names were created, presumably, by throwing alphabet blocks on the floor and using whatever came up as the kids’ names.

  4. People named Gallagher are entitled to all the Irish names their birth certificates can carry. Particularly if their parents know that Sean is not spelled Shawn.

    Though I knew a girl from Belfast who moved to America and named her daughter Aoife, which is a lovely name but filled her with guilt for how much confusion it was sure to cause. (It’s pronounced Ee-Fa, and she’s an extraordinarily powerful woman from the Ulster Cycle.)

    As for Brenda Lee, the name doesn’t even pin down a decade. She’s the world’s shortest giant and I’m not sure whether it’s harder to live up to Aoife or to Brenda Lee. They’re each worth a Google.

  5. Once I started doing genealogy, I found that in the past it was not uncommon for people to name their sons after presidents. I felt kind of sorry for the cousin who was named William Henry Harrison Gillette for unknown reasons and 40 years after Harrison died.

    That doesn’t seem to happen nearly as much anymore, but then we now have entertainers and sports figures to name children after.

  6. As someone who was also saddled with four names, I think parents should stop playing stupid games with their children’s names.

    Three names, easily spelled, and one should be subject to nicknames should the child later desire to be called something else.

    Also, if you are a huge jerk, you should not name your son Donald Trump Jr.

  7. The first time I felt really old: I asked a small child named Dylan if he was named after the singer. He replied “no, my uncle”.

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