names

Naming things is hard. Naming people is harder.

Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback scoured American census records searching for atrocious baby names. The results are compiled in an amusing little book called Bad Baby Names: The Worst True Names Parents Saddled Their Kids With—and You Can Too!. Among the names they discovered were “Toilet Queen,” “Leper,” “Cholera,” “Typhus,” “Stud Duck,” “Loser,”224 “Fat Meat,” “Meat Bloodsaw,” “Cash Whoredom,”“Headless,” “Dracula,” “Lust,” “Sloth,” “Freak Skull,” “Sexy Chambers,” “Tiny Hooker,” “Giant Pervis,” “Acne Fountain,” “Legend Belch,” and “Ghoul Nipple.” The forces of darkness were particularly well represented, with a “Satan,” a “Lucifer,” a “Zombie,” a “Demon,” at least eight children named “Evil,”and at least ten named “Hell.”

That’s just the start. Carlton F.W. Larson, UC Davis, School of Law professor quoted Sherrod and Rayback’s work in a much larger review of the constitutional dimensions of parental naming rights. We might laugh at the names above, but Larson uncovered a mishmash of laws and regulations regarding names that in turn reflect presumptions, biases, technical limitations, and some earnest attempts to protect children from their parents.

What Do You Call A Group Of Ninjas?

From AskMeFi: “You know, like gaggle of geese, murder of crows, school of fish, all that. Does a group of ninjas have some sort of descriptor? We’re talking many people in halloween costumes, how to address them together. The { blank }.”

Aside from the inevitable brush to Ask a Ninja, answers included:

  • sir, sir, sir, and sir
  • one ninja, many ninjim. And the collective is a flipout of ninjim
  • a hedge of ninjas. “We are a hedge. Please move along”
  • a stealth of ninja
  • a cloudshadow of ninja
  • a wraith of ninjas
  • a hood of ninjas
  • a murder of ninjas
  • a diminishing effectuality1 of ninjas
  • a silence of ninjas
  • an inevitability of ninjas
  • a doom of ninjas
  • a black of ninjas
  • a balaclava of ninjas
  • a probability of ninjas
  • a whisper of ninja
  • a lurk of ninja
  • you don’t call them anything, because you don’t even know they’re there

  1. Updated 2018: the original Wikipedia article was titled Stormtrooper Effect, then it was merged into an article titled Principle of Evil Marksmanship, before finally being deleted in 2015. Thankfully we have the Internet Archive to preserve back these lost treasures. ↩︎