Roger Answers Your Question, Scott

Our next contestant is Scott, husband of Marcia (no, not my sister), father of Nigel and, since September 22 of Ian:

Who’s going to win the NL pennant, the AL pennant, and eventually the World Series?

I thought in the beginning of the season the Red Sox would be the AL wild card but would get to the Series. Not feeling it any more. While the Angels COULD beat them, I got to think that the Yankees just seem too solid to lose.

Did you happen to read that cover story about Detroit in Sports Illustrated this week? I REALLY will be rooting for the Tigers, but I’m not seeing it happening. If it did, I’d be happy – shades of 1968. (Off topic: BREAK UP THE LIONS!)

I don’t see the NL wild card (probably Colorado, though I’d prefer the Giants) winning the pennant. The Phillies have an unreliable closer and leave too many on base. Certainly can make the case for the Dodgers, but I’ll go with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Want to say Cards win the Series – shades of 1964 – but I think the Yankees, shut out of the postseason last year, are ticked off enough to win it all – shades of 1928 and 1943.

Is there an entertainer (singer, musician, actor, all, etc.) that you first couldn’t understand why they were even in the business, but now admire their work?

Yeah. Almost any singer-songwriter whose singing voice isn’t pretty; the first is Bob Dylan, who I first knew as a singer, long before I heard that he wrote all of those songs that other people performed. Then I thought that he should ONLY be a songwriter. But given the number of Dylan albums in my collection, evidently I’ve changed my mind.

To a lesser degree, Neil Young: his voice wasn’t as harsh as Dylan’s so I did not have as far to travel to get to owning well over a dozen Neil albums, just as I own numerous Dylan discs.

Given how the media has access to so much information and gets to see so much of a famous person’s life, do you think it’s best to always steer clear of them being accepted as role models?

I think young actors and athletes and musicians are ill-served. If there was some sort of mechanism that said that when you reach a certain level of the profession you seek, you need some sort of counseling to make sure your head is on straight. I’m thinking of folks like the Mets’ Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, who had too much money too quickly and screwed themselves up.

But everybody is a role model for someone. One can refuse to accept it – was it Charles Barkley who said that he wasn’t role model for anyone? – but it doesn’t alter the fact that he is. I’m a role model, you’re a role model, even if we’re unaware. And you don’t even know when one’s going to become a role model. The Phillies fan who catches a foul ball, hands the ball to his daughter who throws it back, then hugs his daughter; he’s a role model. Now if he chewed out his daughter instead, he’d STILL be a role model, albeit not a very good one.

On the other side of this, who that is famous do you think is a good example of a good role model?

There are lots of athletes and performers who work for their various charities, sometimes with limited publicity nationally. That said, I’ve always been impressed with Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee Bucks, LA Lakers) for the way they carry themselves. Kareem is also a JEOPARDY! winner – actually the week before I won – so that’s also a plus. BTW, he’s going to be on JEOPARDY! this season in a million-dollar celebrity invitational; someone’s favorite charity will receive one million dollars at the end of the season.

What is your favorite show that is not shown on one of the big four networks (and Jeopardy!, though syndicated, counts as a big network show, since it’s always found on one of their local affiliates)?

Scott, with that caveat, you know me too well. Actually, don’t mind watching some of the daughter’s shows such as Jack’s Big Music Show (Noggin). But I suppose I’ll pick The Closer on TNT; once you realize it’s not a whodunit, but rather how the team discerns it, it’s much more interesting. There were a couple particularly moving episodes this summer.

That said, there are SO many shows out there that I might be interested in watching, I pretty much say “no” more often than “yes” lately. Even in this new season, I’ve taped only three new network shows (Glee; The Good Wife – strong cast; and Modern Family) and I haven’t watched ANY of them yet. My wife started watching Glee with Lydia – she mistakenly thought it was child-friendly.

You might have posted this already and I missed it, but had Lydia been a boy, what were your choices for a name?

Had to ask the wife. She claims we agreed on Micah, but I’m not convinced. Sounds too much like the ever-popular Michael. In all likelihood, the child would still be called Male Child Green.

ROG

The Name Game

No doubt you saw the story a few weeks ago about how Emma supplanted Emily as the most popular name for a baby girl, while, on the boys’ side, Jacob held steady.

There’s much more at Social Security’s Popular Baby Names site such as the names of twins born in 2008, by rank:
1 Jacob, Joshua 69
2 Daniel, David 59
3 Jayden, Jordan 56
4 Ethan, Evan 50
5 Taylor, Tyler 43
6 Gabriella, Isabella 42

Interesting stuff. The problem I have with most of the the stories is that it doesn’t tell you the change in the nature of naming children.

For instance, below are percentages of boys, girls born with these names:
1880
1 John 8.1541%, Mary 7.2381%
2 William 8.0511%, Anna 2.6678%
3 James 5.0057%, Emma 2.0521%
4 Charles 4.5167%, Elizabeth 1.9865%
5 George 4.3292%, Minnie 1.7888%
6 Frank 2.7380%, Margaret 1.6167%
7 Joseph 2.2229%, Ida 1.5081%
8 Thomas 2.1401%, Alice 1.4487%
9 Henry 2.0641%, Bertha 1.3523%
10 Robert 2.0404%, Sarah 1.3196%

1930

1 Robert 5.5021%, Mary 5.4969%
2 James 4.7781%, Betty 3.2794%
3 John 4.6417%, Dorothy 2.6064%
4 William 4.1855%, Helen 1.7076%
5 Richard 2.8491%, Margaret 1.5743%
6 Charles 2.8197%, Barbara 1.5683%
7 Donald 2.5723%, Patricia 1.3507%
8 George 2.0155%, Joan 1.3280%
9 Joseph 1.8579%, Doris 1.3250%
10 Edward 1.5346%, Ruth 1.2804%

1980
1 Michael 3.7039%, Jennifer 3.2811%
2 Christopher 2.6531%, Amanda 2.0132%
3 Jason 2.5994%, Jessica 1.9064%
4 David 2.2600%, Melissa 1.7776%
5 James 2.1205%, Sarah 1.4464%
6 Matthew 2.0417%, Heather 1.1223%
7 Joshua 1.9454%, Nicole 1.1189%
8 John 1.9018%, Amy 1.1148%
9 Robert 1.8475%, Elizabeth 1.0972%
10 Joseph 1.6285%, Michelle 1.0743%

2008
1 Jacob 1.0355%, Emma 0.9043%
2 Michael 0.9437%. Isabella 0.8941%
3 Ethan 0.9301%, Emily 0.8377%
4 Joshua 0.8799%, Madison 0.8199%
5 Daniel 0.8702%, Ava 0.8198%
6 Alexander 0.8566%, Olivia 0.8196%
7 Anthony 0.8442%, Sophia 0.7729%
8 William 0.8438%, Abigail 0.7250%
9 Christopher 0.8268%, Elizabeth 0.5748%
10 Matthew 0.8061%, Chloe 0.5692%

In 1880, two boy names were used by almost one-sixth of the population, while Mary was nearly thrice as popular as the next most popular girl’s name. By 2008, the #1 names was considerably less dominant than the #10 names in 1980.

I decided to pick out some boys’ and girls’ names not entirely at random to note their trends.

Male

Roger
1880-349
1930-57
1980-134
2008-463
highest year-22 in 1945 (unsurprisingly)

Darrin
not in top 1000 until 1959
1980-505
not in top 1000 since 2004
highest year-102 in 1965

Gordon
1880-233
1930-77
1980-345
2008-946
highest year-70 in 1935

Rex
1880-519
1930-233
1980-488
2008-799
not in top 1000 in 1999-2002
highest year-171 in 1951

Arthur
1880-14
1930-23
1980-147
2008-363
highest year-14 in 1880-1884, 1886-1899, 1901

Norman
1880-133
1930-40
1980-286
not in top 1000 since 2005
highest year-36 in 1931

Leslie
1880-167
1930-139
1980-354
not in top 1000 since 1997
highest year-81 in 1895

Female

Carol
1880-685
1930-54
1980-232
not in top 1000 in 1883
not in top 1000 since 2006
highest year-4 in 1941

Lydia
1880-77
1930-233
1980-287
2008-120
highest year-75 in 1883

Gertrude
1880-25
1930-96
not in top 1000 since 1965
highest year-22 in 1906

Marcia
1880-614
1930-231
1980-414
not in top 1000 in 1992
not in top 1000 since 1994
highest year-74 in 1951

Gladys
1880-370
1930-48
1980-628
not in top 1000 in 1998
not in top 1000 since 1999
highest year-11 in 1901

Karen
1880-not in top 1000 until 1881
1930-687
1980-54
2008-183
not in top 1000 in 1882-1884, 1888, 1891, 1895-1905, 1907-1911, 1913-1917, 1919-1923, 1925, 1925, 1927
highest year-3 in 1965

Leslie
1880-655
1930-601
1980-61
2008-147
highest year-56 in 1981

Note that the specific spelling matters. For instance, on the boys’ side in 2008, Arthur is #363, but, separately, Arturo is #352. Similarly, on the girls’ 2008 list, Leslie is #147 and Lesly, #447; Lesley fell off the chart in 2008.

Having spent all this time on FIRST names, you may want to check out this database which allows you to search a last name and see how it ranks nationally, with racial demographic breakdowns (provided by U.S. Census Bureau).

Finally, I’m in the mood for a little Shirley Ellis:

Just don’t try Chuck.

ROG

Tragically hip


I was playing my one Tragically Hip album for Canada Day – Tragically Hip being a Canadian band – when it hit me: there seems to be a number of Americans who seem to have ascribed to the dominion to the north powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal countries. They seem to think of Canada as just like the United States, only not on steroids. Yet – and it has been proven in poll after poll after poll – Americans don’t know jacksquat about about Canada.

Quick, Americans: how many provinces and territories are there in Canada?
OK, Canadians, how many states are there in the United States? OK, the flag design DOES make that a bit easy.

Americans: Who’s the current elected head of government in Canada? What do you call the elected head of the government in Canada?
Canadians: What do you call the…OK, Canadians, put down your hands.

Lessee. Americans: in terms of size, area not population, where does Canada rank in the world? Bonus question: where does the United States rank?
Canadians: Same questions.

Americans: Mame the two houses of the Canadian legislature.
Canadians: Name the two…oh, never mind.

Americans: Name the two largest cities in Canada, and the capital.
Canadians: Help me find fairer questions.

My point is that some Americans have seemed to have romanticized Canada with having any real sense of the place.

There is, however, one thing to be said for considering moving to Canada. when the global warming really hits – as though it hasn’t already? – and the maple stops flowing in New York and Vermont because it doesn’t get cold enough for long enough, I suspect the provinces at least will be quite temperate.

Top Baby Names in Canada vs. the US.

Background Note: Canada from the US State Department.

Don’t recall the source, but it suggested that when dealing with US Customs agents and they ask you how long you’ll be in Canada, answer as though you know, even if you don’t. Otherwise, you’ll appear suspicious. Siounds right.

This site notes that there are 13 states that border Canada; I had forgotten states whose international borders are actually in the middle of the Great Lakes (Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania).
***
I’m not a big fan of Canadian-born singer Sarah McLachlan, but I love this scene from Toy Story 2:

And it’s equally affecting in Portuguese.

ROG

The Name Game

There are 15 people in my office. Two of them had already planned to take yesterday off. Two called in sick, six called in to take vacation, and five showed up. I was in the latter category. A dedicated follower of dedication, or foolishness…
***
I was reading one of those trends in baby names articles, so I went to Social Security Popular Baby Names section and generated these charts.

Popularity in 1880
Rank/Male name/Percent of total males/Female name/Percent of total females
1 John 8.1525% Mary 7.2389%
2 William 8.0512% Anna 2.6677%
3 James 5.0052% Emma 2.0520%
Meaning that almost one in six of all male babies born that year were these two names. In fact, there were 14 boys named Wm, which I assume was just an abbreviation for William.
Popularity in 1900
1 John 6.0608% Mary 5.2562%
2 William 5.2889% Helen 1.9948%
3 James 4.4684% Anna 1.9237%
John was #1 from 1880 to 1923, and still in the Top 10 until 1986. It’s now 18th.
William is now #11.
Popularity in 1950
1 James 4.7319% Linda 4.5717%
2 Robert 4.5926% Mary 3.7216%
3 John 4.3649% Patricia 2.7247%
Mary, which was #1 until 1946, #2 from 1947 to 1952, and #1 again from 1953 to 1961, fell out of the top 10 in 1971, and was 73rd in 2005.
Popularity in 2005
1 Jacob 1.2145% Emily 1.1818%
2 Michael 1.1175% Emma 1.0027%
3 Joshua 1.0912% Madison 0.9658%
Even though certain names are MOST popular these days – Madison is STILL there? The movie Splash was two DECADES ago! – none dominate like John, William and Mary did 125 years ago.

I decided to look at some timelines for particular monikers, names picked TOTALLY at random:

Popularity of the male name Roger
Year of birth Rank
2005 417
2004 414
2003 396
2002 389
2001 371
2000 373
1999 358
1998 347
1997 329
1996 285
1995 278
1994 264
1993 253
1992 214
1991 231
1990 209
1989 196
1988 180
1987 176
1986 167
1985 159
1984 157
1983 145
1982 127
1981 120
1980 134
1979 132
1978 120
1977 115
1976 103
1975 97
1974 93
1973 84
1972 78
1971 71
1970 61
1969 59
1968 55
1967 53
1966 51
1965 49
1964 49
1963 53
1962 48
1961 47
1960 47
1959 47
1958 47
1957 42
1956 41
1955 37
1954 34
1953 31 (0.6581%, 13,144)
1952 30
1951 29
1950 27
1949 25
1948 24
1947 25
1946 23
1945 22
1944 23
1943 24
1942 25
1941 25
1940 26
1939 28
1938 31
1937 36
1936 35
1935 36
1934 39
1933 48
1932 50
1931 53
1930 57
1929 64
1928 71
1927 84
1926 89
1925 90
1924 93
1923 95
1922 96
1921 99
1920 103
1919 124
1918 116
1917 120
1916 129
1915 124
1914 126
1913 139
1912 138
1911 139
1910 171
1909 180
1908 187
1907 169
1906 194
1905 226
1904 194
1903 189
1902 210
1901 227
1900 219
1899 199
1898 202
1897 232
1896 215
1895 207
1894 225
1893 254
1892 241
1891 217
1890 229
1889 232
1888 259
1887 259
1886 308
1885 324
1884 277
1883 346
1882 304
1881 305
1880 349
I wonder if its popularity in the years before and after WWII had to do with Roger, Over and Out?

Popularity of the female name Carol
2005 753
2004 844
2003 881
2002 851
2001 834
2000 726
1999 742
1998 658
1997 607
1996 565
1995 525
1994 493
1993 496
1992 411
1991 384
1990 350
1989 339
1988 331
1987 319
1986 310
1985 292
1984 267
1983 253
1982 262
1981 238
1980 232
1979 224
1978 203
1977 198
1976 171
1975 149
1974 137
1973 120
1972 109
1971 92
1970 71
1969 55
1968 48
1967 47
1966 48
1965 42
1964 36
1963 33
1962 28
1961 24
1960 23
1959 22
1958 20
1957 18
1956 16
1955 15
1954 15
1953 16
1952 12
1951 11
1950 9
1949 8
1948 8
1947 6
1946 5
1945 5
1944 5
1943 5
1942 5
1941 4
1940 6
1939 6
1938 6
1937 6
1936 10
1935 11
1934 14
1933 20
1932 32
1931 46
1930 54
1929 63
1928 77
1927 106
1926 113
1925 119
1924 132
1923 139
1922 159
1921 166
1920 182
1919 200
1918 196
1917 215
1916 215
1915 243
1914 250
1913 254
1912 246
1911 291
1910 285
1909 302
1908 294
1907 328
1906 338
1905 349
1904 330
1903 389
1902 357
1901 378
1900 392
1899 361
1898 391
1897 455
1896 480
1895 404
1894 519
1893 503
1892 504
1891 526
1890 510
1889 443
1888 561
1887 590
1886 610
1885 661
1884 800
1883 a
1882 827
1881 513
1880 685
a Not in top 1,000 names for indicated year of birth
A top 10 name for 15 years around WWII. Can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with the Christmas carol. In the year of Carol’s birth, there were 16,651 other Carols, which meant 0.8027% of the female names.

Popularity of the female name Lydia
2005 119
2004 126 (0.1295%, 2,598)
2003 127
2002 137
2001 140
2000 149
1999 149
1998 153
1997 160
1996 175
1995 173
1994 188
1993 206
1992 205
1991 214
1990 206
1989 219
1988 229
1987 224
1986 233
1985 212
1984 217
1983 239
1982 240
1981 267
1980 287
1979 296
1978 327
1977 312
1976 310
1975 333
1974 317
1973 329
1972 319
1971 315
1970 307
1969 320
1968 301
1967 288
1966 270
1965 263
1964 258
1963 246
1962 227
1961 214
1960 205
1959 210
1958 207
1957 206
1956 205
1955 200
1954 198
1953 201
1952 213
1951 225
1950 223
1949 214
1948 209
1947 230
1946 239
1945 223
1944 233
1943 227
1942 226
1941 248
1940 234
1939 237
1938 244
1937 239
1936 237
1935 242
1934 249
1933 237
1932 246
1931 236
1930 233
1929 223
1928 219
1927 217
1926 222
1925 206
1924 217
1923 204
1922 199
1921 197
1920 184
1919 186
1918 180
1917 170
1916 168
1915 169
1914 168
1913 154
1912 152
1911 142
1910 152
1909 142
1908 140
1907 130
1906 132
1905 123
1904 112
1903 116
1902 112
1901 103
1900 104
1899 97
1898 88
1897 83
1896 91
1895 85
1894 85
1893 81
1892 93
1891 86
1890 78
1889 83
1888 85
1887 76
1886 87
1885 77
1884 80
1883 75
1882 76
1881 77
1880 77
Lydia as a name is becoming as popular, percentagewise, in the early 21st century as it was in the beginning of the LAST century.

“Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth. Name data are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.”

Another site for this type of stuff, with rather nifty Java-enhanced graphics, is here, with its related blog, here.

***
Oh, the picture above is Comet Hale-Bopp Images – May 1997, taken by Lydia Green, probably no relation.

The RULES (Part 1 of 37)-The Name Game

You’ve got a lot of rules for somebody from Binghamton.

No, not THOSE Rules. MY rules. I don’t mean like “Follow the Golden Rule,” (which I try to do). It’s more like, “When I get a new album, I must play it at least three times before I file it away” or “When I play racquetball, and the score gets into a rut, I must find arcane ways to recite the score” or “Almost any song can be done in chicken, the more bombastic, the better. Ode to Joy and Smoke on the Water are good examples.”

I knew I had rules, but until we got into naming Lydia, I don’t think that Carol was aware of my naming rules. *I* wasn’t aware of my naming rules. When you’ve never had a child, naming is more a conceptual thing, as it were.

So the rules were:

  • No name in the top 10 in the Social Security list of most popular names for the most recent year available. There will be enough Emmas in her kindergarten class (but Emma IS a lovely name).
  • No naming after any family member, living or dead. I want her to have her own identity. And I didn’t want, “Oh, you named her after Aunt Hortense!” We’ll call her Little Horty!” No, you won’t.
  • No unisex names: Terry, Madison, e.g. This comes directly from the fact that my father AND my sister were both named Leslie. Confusion ensued, and often at my expense. Since my father had a child named Leslie, it was ASSUMED it was his ONLY son, i.e., me. “Hey, little Les,” one guy from church constantly called me. “That’s NOT my name,” I’d mutter under my breath (but never aloud, for that would have been considered rude.)
  • It had to have two or more syllables, to balance off the shortness of Green.
  • No names that easily went to the nickname. Elizabeth is in the top 10 anyway, and which variation (Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Betty, Betsy, or several others) would ensued? No thanks.
  • It should have a recognizable spelling. While a few people have spelled her name as Lidia, most have opted for the more traditional option.
  • No names beginning and ending with A. This is a practical consideration. I have a niece named Alexandria. Carol has nieces named Adrianna and Alexa. One of Carol’s best friends has a daughter named Ariana. And there are several others. Having but one child, I didn’t want to run through a litany before I found hers.

    So, Lydia it was, named in part after a woman in Acts who was rich even to put up the apostle Paul and this cohorts. It was only later that a friend pointed out that the church I attended as a child, Trinity A.M.E. Zion, was on the corner of Lydia and Oak, and that I walked down Lydia Street every day on my way to school. Obviously, I knew this to be factually true, but never crossed my consciousness.

    The only downside to her name has been those streams of choruses from Marx Brothers’ fans of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, a song that had TOTALLY slipped my mind.

    So, even with RULES, tattoos happen. But so do encyclo-pidias.

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