Family: December 2005 Archives

Isn't modern technology amazing? Be amazed at this selection of boy names selected by the Baby Name Wizard at


Without knowing it, I must have selected the "name sounds like Grandpa clearing his throat" criterion.

Suddenly "Moe Tell" looks like a good alternative. (By the way, Jan, my wife said to tell you that she knows where you live.... :) )

(And, no, the baby isn't here yet -- just trying on the name for size.)

The website US Social Security Administration offers some fascinating statistics on baby names. Even if you aren't a parent or aren't likely to be anytime in the near future, you may find it interesting for what these lists reveal about the evolution of American culture over the last 120 years.

From the main page you can generate lists of popular names by birth year, going back to 1879; track the popularity of a particular name over a number of years; list the top 5 names for each state, for any year going back to 1980.

For any year from 1960 to the present, you can look up the top 100 names for each state.

My favorite is the top 1000 names by decade, from the 1880s to the present. It's striking that, in olden days, a much higher percentage of babies were given the most popular names. In the 1880s, 15% of boys were named either John or William, and 38% were given names in the top 10. For girls, 21% were given names in the top 10. So far in this decade, the numbers are 12% and 9% respectively. You can see the same trend in Scotland, although the percentages are almost double those of America both 100 years ago and today.

It would be interesting to combine the stats from different decades to see which names are the most timeless, which are tied most closely to their decades, and which display generational cycles. It would also be interesting to look at the top names for each state over the years to see how naming trends spread through the country.

Here's a question for you: In the top 100 girls names in Oklahoma for 2004, there's a name I've never seen before -- Cadence. Any idea where this name came from? Nationally, it was 958th in 2002, 474th in 2003, 218th in 2004. A cadence is something you sing when running or marching in a group, so why has it become a popular girl's name? Anyone?

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.

To balance out that last post, I should mention that my dad has been having a lot of fun as Santa's helper this month. He filled in at Philbrook a couple of weekends and has appeared at some Christmas parties. He's had kids from 9 weeks to 94 years on his lap. He was the first Santa a Tunisian visitor to Tulsa had ever met.

I gave him a free BlogAd, and he's had several leads from the ad. A reader in Conway, Arkansas, mentioned him to a Tulsa relative who needed a Santa for an event. A Santa who needed a last-minute substitute gave him a call.

As the blurb says, "A BatesLine ad is great value." For $10 a week, your ad appears on every page on the site, including all my archived entries. It averages out to less than 2/10ths of a cent per view. For a ridiculous $45, you can have an ad for three months -- that averages less than a tenth of a penny per view.

A big portion of the readership is in Tulsa or interested in Tulsa because they still have family and friends here and they visit once in a while, so it's a cheap way to attract local customers to your locally-owned business. You could even use a BlogAd to wish a friend a happy birthday -- it's cheaper than flowers.

Click the "Advertise on BatesLine" button to set up your own cheap ad. If you need help setting things up, drop me an e-mail at blog AT batesline DOT com.

Show and kvell: He's a treble

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My nine-year-old son started this fall with Tulsa Boy Singers, which he dearly loves. This weekend he will be singing in the TBS Christmas concert (this Friday and Saturday evening), and he'll also be singing a solo at the school's Christmas chapel and a solo in our church's Christmas program on Sunday night.

This evening, I had the privilege of listening as he rehearsed the piece for Sunday. He has a beautiful tone, clear and straight (i.e. no vibrato), and was right on pitch with a challenging melody. He seems very confident with the music.

Can you tell I'm proud of him?

Ain't that a kick?


"He's kicking," said of a child in utero, is somewhat misleading, because it suggests that the child is otherwise stationary. The reality, I am reliably told, feels more like someone doing Taebo in a gym that is barely bigger than the person exercising. Which is a rather odd sensation for the gym.

is when my no-longer-baby girl lost her first tooth. She was very concerned to remember the exact date and time of this momentous occasion. And she is very excited.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Family category from December 2005.

Family: November 2005 is the previous archive.

Family: January 2006 is the next archive.

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