That's Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck to you!

After eight years, Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck has earned her PhD in higher education from Cardinal Stritch University. And yes, Marijuana Pepsi is her real given name. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit, (Wisconsin) picked out her name and proclaimed that it would take her around the world. Her sisters, one older and one younger, got relatively common names, Kimberly and Robin.

Teachers, classmates, bosses and other people in Marijuana's life pushed back against her name and teased her. Some suggested she go to court and change it. Some flat out refused to call her that or insisted on Mary, which she rejected.

As much as people blamed and judged her mother for the name, Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today...

But mostly she embraces the name as proof that you can overcome any obstacle in life and achieve your dreams...

It's fitting that an African American woman who has gone through life as Marijuana Pepsi chose as her dissertation topic: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions."

"Yes, her name really is Marijuana Pepsi, and now she's Dr. Marijuana Pepsi to you" by Jim Stingl (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Read the rest

The real Assman was denied his personalized license plate

In another example of life imitating Seinfeld, Melville, Saskatchewan citizen Dave Assman (pronounced Oss-men) applied for a personalized license plate of his last name but the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (like the DMV) put the kibbosh on the request and also his appeal. So Assman created a large decal inspired by the Saskatchewan plate design and slapped it on the rear end (ahem) of his truck. Based on the SGI's Twitter post below, they seem to be ok with that.

"It's just a name and censorship should be out of the window..." Assman said. "It upsets me, but I'm not one of those guys to take offence to it."

(CBC)

Read the rest

Macaulay Culkin to legally change his middle name to 'Macaulay Culkin'

Macaulay Culkin's middle name is currently "Carson." But, starting in 2019, it will be "Macaulay Culkin," as in Macaulay 'Macaulay Culkin' Culkin.

The Home Alone actor has been polling his fans on what his new middle name should be. The other choices were "Shark Week," "Kieran" (his younger brother's name), "TheMcRibisBack," and "Publicity Stunt." Ultimately his fans went with the meta choice of his own first and last name.

On Christmas day he made the big announcement.

Keep it quirky, Culkin!

Recently: 38-year-old Macaulay Culkin is Home Alone again in this fun ad

Related: Did you know that the black-and-white gangster film ("Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!') in Home Alone was created for specifically for the movie? It's not a vintage flick at all!

(COS) Read the rest

Most popular baby names of 2018

Each year, Baby Center polls parents to find out what they named their newborn. In 2018, more than 742,000 parents answered.

Based on that data, here are the top baby names for 2018.

Girls:

1. Sophia 2. Olivia 3. Emma 4. Ava 5. Isabella 6. Aria 7. Riley 8. Amelia 9. Mia 10. Layla

Boys:

1. Jackson 2. Liam 3. Noah 4. Aiden 5. Caden 6. Grayson 7. Lucas 8. Mason 9. Oliver 10. Elijah

Sophia celebrates her ninth consecutive year as the top choice for girls, while Jackson remains the most popular name for boys for six years running. Oliver and Layla both jumped into the top 10, pushing out Logan and Zoe. The fastest climbers of 2018 include Everly, Isla, Leo, and Carson.

These are the top ten, head to Baby Center to see all 100 top baby names for 2018. If you click on a name, you can discover its popularity over the years (data FTW!). Baby Center also offers predictions of future trends in baby names (inc. sneakers, gender-swaps, and Southern states), as well as alternatives to popular names.

Previously: Heather used to be a popular baby name

(Neatorama)

image via Classic Film Read the rest

IHOP appears to be changing its name to IHOb

An unusual set of tweets from the official IHOP account suggests that the pancake house chain is going to be changing their name to IHOb. They haven't revealed what the "b" stands for but will on Monday, June 11, the day the name change is supposed to go into effect.

USA Today quotes IHOP’s executive director of communications, Stephanie Peterson, as saying, "We're serious about the quality of food and our menu, and this name change really reflects that."

Ok then.

photo by Mike Mozart

Thanks, Evan! Read the rest

Bayer and Monsanto merge into a new company called "Bayer" because Nazis have a better reputation than Big Ag

The $63 billion takeover of Monsanto by Bayer prompted a thorny branding question: what to call the new company? The company's management has announced its decision: the new company will be called "Bayer," despite the name's longtime association with Nazi slave labor camps, fatal human subjects experiments conducted on prisoners supplied by the Nazis, and complicity in the production of Zyklon B, the lethal poison used in concentration camp gas-chambers. Read the rest

Donald Glover got his rap alter-ego name from a Wu-Tang name generator

Today I learned that Donald Glover got his rapper name Childish Gambino from this online Wu-Tang Clan name generator. It's not new news (though the info was new to me, and perhaps to you as well), as he mentions it in this 2016 Hollywood Reporter roundtable discussion. He says, "If I had known it was going to be something for real, I wouldn't have used it."

Thanks, Robin! Read the rest

Mother renames her son to match her misspelled tattoo of his original name

Johanna Giselhäll Sandström of Kyrkhult, Sweden paid to have her arm tattooed with her two children's names: Nova and Kevin. Problem is, he accidentally inked her with "Kelvin." The tattooist refunded her money and suggested she go to a tattoo removal clinic. Instead, she and her husband settled on an easier, less expensive, and pain-free solution: They changed Kevin's name to Kelvin which they claim to prefer anyway. From The Local:

“I had never heard the name ‘Kelvin’ before. There isn’t anyone who names their kid Kelvin. So when I thought more about it, I realized that no one else has this name. It became unique. Now we think it is better than Kevin,” Sandström said....

“He wasn’t so old [at the time of the tattoo] so he didn’t think about it. He’s five now, but when I got the tattoo he was approaching two,” she said.

"Swedish mum renames son after tattoo typo" (via Fark) Read the rest

These are the top ten baby names in the US

The Social Security Administration has released its "Top 10 Baby Names of 2017" male and female baby names in the United States. (No info on gender neutral names though.)

Male names:

1 Liam 2 Noah 3 William 4 James 5 Logan 6 Benjamin 7 Mason 8 Elijah 9 Oliver 10 Jacob

Female names:

1 Emma 2 Olivia 3 Ava 4 Isabella 5 Sophia 6 Mia 7 Charlotte 8 Amelia 9 Evelyn 10 Abigail

The SSA's Baby Names page also has ways to look at name ranks by birth year, state, and also changes in popularity. Read the rest

The climactic conclusion to DONG Energy's awesome name

A brand manager at Dong Energy finally convinced them that their company name might be getting in the way of their messaging. They will be Ørsted from here out. Read the rest

British place-names generated by a neural net

Dan Hon (perfecting earlier work by Tom Taylor) trained an AI on the vast corpus of British place names, then set it loose. The results are amazing, illustrative of an uncannily human humor seemingly at work, something you'd never get from the standard syllable-randomizing place name generators of yore.

"There aren’t as many cocks as you’d think," he writes.

My favorites: Brotters Common, Boll of Binclestead, Farton Green Pear End, Weston Parpenham, Sutsy Compton, Stoke of Inch, Kinindworthorpe Marmile, Rastan-on-croan, Fuckley, Fapton, Waterwitherwell.

See also Hon's AI trained to generate Ask Metafilter post titles.

Surely neural-net-generated Liffs are next. Read the rest

Film examines truth of legendary gathering of fish-surnamed people

In 1987 or so, the Welsh island of Anglesey, legendary redoubt of the druids, hosted a similarly legendary gathering to which only people with fish-themed surnames were invited. In Fish Story, Charlie Lynn (with the help of one Caspar Salmon) sets out to unravel "the truth behind a fishy tale." Read the rest

Why people name things, and themselves, "Zzyzx"

When I was a youngster, during the golden age of prank calls before caller ID, my friend and I found the name Zerba Zzyx at the end of the telephone book. We called Mr. Zzyx and asked if he realized he was the last name in the telephone book. Much to our surprise, he pleasantly told us that yes, he was aware of that fact, and hung up. (It wasn't one of our proudest prank call moments.)

Anyway, I hadn't thought about Mr. Zzyx for many years until I just saw this post on Weird Universe about "Zzyzx Road," just outside of Baker, California. Here's the origin of the road's name:

Entrepreneur Curtis Springer decided he wanted to be the last name in the directory, so when he opened a health spa at a natural springs in the Mojave Desert he called it Zzyzx Springs, so he could promote it as "the last word in health." By 1965 he had convinced the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to rename the road running to the springs Zzyzx Road. (It used to be Soda Road)...

Several movies have been named after Zzyzx Road, including the record-holder for the lowest-grossing Hollywood movie ever.

Sufficiently curious about any connection between Zzyzx Road and the Zerba Zzyx who I telephonically encountered in the 1970s, I did a Google search found this 1981 article from the Associated Press:

(Cincinnati) Roger Obermeyer wanted a way to make his name noticed in the city telephone book, so the advertising executive has himself listed as Zerba Zzyx, the last name in the directory. Read the rest

Interactive map of New York City's dog names

Every bubble of Dognames represents a particular name. Max and Bella lead, followed by Charlie, Coco, and Rocky, and Buddy and Lucky, and so on. [via] Read the rest

How many towns in the world have the same name as yours?

A weirdly fascinating single-serve site: How many places are named Pittsburgh? (Spoiler: three!)

There are 15 New Yorks, 29 Londons, 53 Parises, 248 San Franciscos and 320 San Antonios. But there is only one Truth or Consequences. Read the rest

Most popular baby names by state, 1910-2015

Zip through 105 years of popular baby names in this interactive map by Mike Barry. Toggle for boys or girls. We've come a long way from John and James and Helen and Mary. Read the rest

Freight train goes off tracks and hits perfectly-named bar

Last night in Charles City, Iowa, a freight train car separated from the track as it was changing connections and tipped right into the back of a bar. The name of the trackside tavern? DeRailed.

Nobody was injured.

(KCCI) Read the rest

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