Tuesday, August 18, 2009

YOU CAN CALL ME AL

I was talking to a friend today about names. For the most part, we agree on the worst Spanish ones: Juan, Javier and Osvaldo made the cut. Agustin, Nico and Rodrigo (a few of our current favorites) did not. I like Ezequiel -- What can I say? It's grown on me -- and he does not.

But what about those scary English monikers? Because there are only about 20 names being shared by 95 per cent of the population in Argentina, there are far more cringe-worthy ones running loose in the US. I mean, what proud new parents of sound mind would settle on Edgar, or Edith, or Madge, or Bernie, or Edna for their newborn tyke? Poor taste or intolerable cruelty? Thankfully, those names, inexplicably popular at one point during the last century, went out of style and were eventually replaced by the blander but far less offensive likes of Megan, Brittany, Jason and Scott. Yawn.

And since we're on the subject of bad names, why is it that so many US Presidents -- particularly those who served in the late 1800s and early 1900s -- were saddled with some of the worst names ever in circulation? But perhaps being horribly named isn't such a bad thing -- it seems to increase your chances of being one day elected President of the United States. Somewhere (presumably in the White House), Barack Obama is smiling.

The 10 worst Presidential names
  • Millard Fillmore (above, 13th President, 1850-53)
  • Ulysses S. Grant (18th President, 1869-77)
  • Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President, 1877-81)
  • Chester Alan Arthur (21st President, 1881-85)
  • Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President, 1885-89, 1993-97)
  • Woodrow Wilson (28th President, 1913-21)
  • Warren G. Harding (29th President, 1921-23)
  • Calvin Coolidge (30th President, 1923-29)
  • Herbert Hoover (31st President, 1929-33)
  • Dwight Eisenhower (34th President, 1953-61)
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