Bananafana fo ... what?

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Must be something in the air, or maybe it's just aftershocks from 2004, the Year of the Blogger. Bloggers are getting well-deserved recognition from old dead-tree media. I know of at least two bloggers who are under contract for books related to the content of their blogs.

That good news comes at a cost to the Blogosphere, however. With book deadlines swiftly approaching, one of those two book-writing bloggers has cut down to one blog post a week, and the other, who also writes a weekly newspaper column, has put her blog in hibernation until the manuscript is finished.

You're about to see something similar happen here. I've already cut back on blogging. My column in Urban Tulsa Weekly is taking up a lot of my creative energy, and anytime I start writing a long blog entry, I think, "That could be a column." (I could write 1,000 words for free... or I could get paid for them. What a dilemma.)

My volume and frequency is about to take another hit. Like other bloggers who have cut back on posting, here at BatesLine HQ we've got a major project in the works that's about to come to fruition.

It's not a book, although it is a bit like writing a book. It all starts as a concept (a word related to "concept", anyway) and there's a good deal of time and labor involved in the production.

In one respect, it's easier than writing a book. If you have a book in you (everyone does, they say), it may stay in there forever. If you have a baby in you, after nine months it's coming out, one way or another, even if they have to slice you open to get it. (As far as I'm aware, there is no procedure analogous to a Caesarean section to get a book out of an author. I'm sure there are some book editors out there who wish such a thing existed.)

On the other hand, once you've delivered a book manuscript most of the hard work is over. Once you've delivered a baby, the hard work has just begun.

Did I mention that we're having a baby?

I've dropped a few hints on the blog, and of course the people who know us in Real Life have known for quite some time, but I haven't come right out and said anything here about the major milestone just around the corner for our family. In a little over a week, my wife and I will have our third child. Despite the fact that we feel too old for this sort of thing, the pregnancy has gone well, the baby is vigorous and big, and my wife has been pretty healthy throughout.

This will be the first time I will have had a new baby and a blog at the same time. In a competition for attention between the blog and the baby, the baby is going to win. For one thing, the blog is not anywhere as cute as this baby is bound to be. (Those who have met my first two kids will know I'm telling the truth.) The frequency and length of my posting has already decreased, as job responsibilities, writing a column, and doing things around the house to get ready for the baby have taken more of my time.

I'm not going to put BatesLine into hibernation. (The word makes me think of HAL 9000, astronauts, and freezer burn.) We've got an important city election coming up, and I'm sure I'll have some things to say about it. Urban Tulsa Weekly will get dibs on my thoughts on the subject, and I'll continue to post a link here to each week's column.

(And speaking of that city election, there has been some speculation that I might run for office again in 2006, especially now that the incumbent councilor in my district, Tom Baker, is giving up his seat to run for Mayor. It's not going to happen, not this next year, and probably not for a decade or so.)

There will still be reasons to check in here every couple of days. Most of my blogging is likely to be more linking than thinking -- pointers to interesting items, but not much commentary -- and there will of course be a certain amount of baby blogging. I will probably expand the linkblog, and I'm working on ways to aggregate and present headlines from my favorite blogs -- a sort of extension of my blogroll, so you can see titles and easily get to the latest entries from a select group of the most interesting writers in the blogosphere.

Now, back to the baby, and the reason for the title of this post. Taking a page from meeciteewurkor's book, I'm having a contest, with two prizes, each a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

With our boy, I had had a name in mind for a few years in advance. With our girl, we went through a long process of elimination and finally settled on a name two days before delivery (over dinner at the Green Onion, as it happens).

With the first two, we knew in advance the sex of the child. This time, at my wife's request, it'll be a surprise. So we need to have two names picked out. My suggestions (Margaret Hilda for a girl, Winston Spencer for a boy) have been vetoed by She Who Must Be Obeyed, so I'm asking you, dear reader, for some ideas.

The prizes will go to the best suggestions for a girl's name and a boy's name (even if we ultimately choose something else).

Here are some guidelines to point you in the right direction:

  1. The name ought to clearly indicate gender. Preferably, the common nickname for the name should be unambiguous as well.
  2. That means, among other things, no last names as first names.
  3. Euphony matters -- the name ought to roll easily off the tongue and be easily understood when spoken.
  4. For euphony's sake, monosyllabic names ought to be avoided, because of our monosyllabic last name.
  5. We'd prefer traditional names within our ethnic heritage, which is mainly Ulster Scots (Scotch-Irish), English, Irish, German, Swiss German, Dutch, and (very slightly and not officially) Cherokee. Hadassah, Luigi, Svetlana, and Fernando are fine names each representing a fine heritage, but they'd be misleading attached to someone in our family.
  6. I won't rule out "M" names, but we've already got two MBs in the family and would prefer not to have a third.
  7. Norman is right out.

Joke suggestions are welcome as long as they're within the bounds of good taste, as defined by the Arbiter of Good Taste (me).

Deadline is midnight Central Time on New Year's Eve or when the baby arrives, whichever happens first.


Dan Paden said:

My family's heritage is largely Irish, and the only thing I can tell you is that played up properly, it can create some leverage. For instance, I wanted to name our youngest "Ian," but I started out asking for (hoping that I remember the spelling right)"Bhaorfuin", which is pronounced, I kid thee not, "Barfin'".

After my darlin' wife heard that bandied around, I didn't get too much fuss over "Ian."

mad okie Author Profile Page said:

though you would prefer no "M"s I have always been partial to Morgan Dale (which would work for either a boy or girl ironically)

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

Congrats to the Bates family!

Boy: Evan Aaron
Girl: Elsie Kathleena

MrFisher said:

What am I? Chopped Liver?!?! ;)

I guess I need to get out more. I had no idea.

Congratulations Cuz!

I used to have this really cool name generator do hickie,t hat would tell you in what year, what names were most popular. VERY NIFTY. I'll see if I still have saved.

In the meantime. :-P

boy: Ekkehardt Dag
girl: Nina Rhea

Or I always liked

boy: Eric Quinn
girl: Kennedy Lynn (course that's probably out what with sis and all)

Congrats. The best rule of thumb is to YELL the name you are going to choose!

Mike Mansur Author Profile Page said:

I don't have any name suggestions, but I do want to send my congratulations. My wife and I will be praying for a safe birth and healthy child.

ShelleighM Author Profile Page said:

John Wesley Bates
Shelleigh Marisa Bates
Beatrix Alicia Bates (Trixie, for short)

mad okie Author Profile Page said:

Cachere ?

please dont hit me :D

Native Tulsans said:

Our family would like to offer:
1) Gloria Susanne (Bates)
2) Norenda Rene' (Bates)
3) Joseph Eugene (Bates)
4) Stephen Jamison (Bates)

Wishing you and your family the very best with your new addition and for 2006!!

Dustin said:

My wife suggests:

Lilian Bonnibell Bates


Shane Malcolm Bates

Congratulations. We just had hour third. 2 boys and a girl.

Jan said:


Here are my ideas:

Moe Telle
Charlie Mohummad

Thanks, everyone, for all the suggestions -- a lot of names I'd never have thought of. Greta, that's very sensible. Mike, thanks for your prayers, and congratulations on little Noah's recovery.

Moe Telle -- very creative way around the ban on Norman.

Finally, here is the judge's decision in the contest. Thanks to everyone who participated. Although ultimately we didn't choose any of the names suggested, there were some suggestions that made our final list, and so I'm awarding the prizes to Native Tulsans for Stephen Jamison and ShelleighM for Beatrix Alicia. I will be e-mailing your Amazon gift certificates tomorrow.

The first name we ultimately chose? For privacy's sake, I won't tell you the name directly, but I will tell you that it violates one of the less-important rules in the list above, it's the name of a book in the Bible, and it means "gift of the Lord" in its original language.

Jan said:

For some strange reason I fell asleep last night thinking, "I should have said Jay L. Bates."

Perhaps I should get a life.

Jan, I very briefly had the idea of naming a girl after the heroine of Judges chapter 5 -- a Biblical name, not commonly used -- but it didn't take long to realize that Jael Bates would just not work.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 27, 2005 11:27 PM.

A better reason for blogger consortia was the previous entry in this blog.

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