English: Cary Grant & Irene Dunne in Penny Ser...I’m watching Dexter’s Lab with my daughter, and thinking about how much I really like that name.  The -x in the middle, the -r at the end.  Cary Grant as C.K. Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story.  The crazy boy genius with the inexplicable accent on the cartoon.  The vigilante serial killer.  Okay, that last one gives me pause.  But it is a great name, stylish and surprising.

We’re watching the cartoons on Netflix, which is really a treasure trove of obscure, kid-friendly shows.  My favorite of the moment is Franny’s Feet – shoes, travel and adventure, strong female narrator.  What more could you ask for?

  • Speaking of Franny, how ’bout Franny as a first name?  For Real spotted a Franny Juniper.  I’d go for Frances, Francesca, Francisca, or something more formal on the birth certificate.  But we live in an informal age, where Franny would hang out with Elsie, Sadie,  and Hattie.  Incidentally, Franny of the television series is Frances Fantootsie.
  • This is the second time I’ve heard Aspen used as a boys’ name this week.  Could it be more gender neutral than I’ve realized?
  • I had no idea that Clarina was a suffragette name!  Clarina is my mother’s (detested) given name, the one she has declared should never be passed down.  Will she feel differently when I tell her that a nineteenth century writer and reformer was also Clarina?  Probably not, but it is a nice fact.
  • Are we really naming kids Swayze?  Yes, yes, we are.
  • Cleveland Evans weighs in on the enduring popularity of Brad – and his surprising roots in Plymouth.  Who knew?
  • Swistle’s question about popular names is a treasure trove of experiences and perspectives – read the comments!
  • I think Irene and Joan are ripe for revival – are there others from Lisa’s list of 1930 names that you would consider?  By the way, that photo is Cary Grant and Irene Dunn from Penny Serenade – a 1941 flick, but close enough, right?
  • Happy one year blogoversary, Evgeny!
  • How many of these fictional names are wearable for boys?  Yes to Caspian.  And, oh look, it’s Dexter again!
  • Speaking of fictional names, ForReal spotted a Maximus Prime.  More than meets the eye …
  • And a Nevaeh-Heaven Anna Champagne.  That sounds downright fictional.  On the plus side, the post also includes Honora, Gibson, and Leland.
  • Loved AnastasiaRuby’s latest vlog – it covers Rosemary!
  • Ren and Sakura are my favorite’s from Bree’s post about the top names in Japan.  I wonder, though – is it too much of a stretch to borrow Japanese names if you’re not of Japanese descent?  Or is that just a weird hesitation of mine?  I wanted to wear a red wedding dress – it’s traditionally worn in China and India because red signifies good fortune.
Enhanced by ZemantaThat’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. There’s an Irena in our baby group… There are times that I think our baby group sounds more like a bridge club than baby group.

    Trudy (mine)
    Sebastian (2)

      1. Roosevelt is a girl called “Roo” though her mom says that she’ll probably be “Rose” or “Rosie” eventually. When I asked her how she decided on that name she said that she and her husband felt that it was “like Benjamin for girls”

        I also met a Luca at the doctor’s whose mother said she chose it as a take on her maiden name “Laduca.” Which I thought was lovely.

        1. Luca from Laduca is clever – I like a subtle link to a family name.

          Roosevelt is interesting, isn’t it? I can see the appeal, but I’m not sure I see it catching on …

  2. Brad is our cat. Actually, we call him Bradley, not Brad, but he COULD be a Brad. I think he needs a friend named Todd.

  3. Dexter is a great name and the serial killer was so lovable despite his horrid hobby, haha! I love Caspian and will also be featuring it soon, oops! I gotta say, as a mom of a Maximus, Maximus Prime is super cool. But I’m biased. 🙂 Great summary.

  4. As always, For Real Baby Names comes up with the most jaw-dropping baby names! 🙂

    I do think it’s a bit silly that people look down on names from the “wrong” culture – I mean so many people of Anglo descent have Hebrew names from the Bible. My name is a Greek form of a Hebrew name, but I am neither Greek nor Hebrew.

    And I know lots of children of Asian descent with English names like Lily or Ashton – I certainly don’t look down on their parents because they chose non-Asian names. So it seems a bit strange to discriminate the other way.

  5. As a die hard anime and Japanese drama fan, I love the idea of using a Japanese name, even though I’m not Japanese. I love Sakura because cherry blossoms are my favorite flower and sakura is the Japanese word for it. If I decided to use a Japanese name, I’d probably go for Rei or Minako (or Mina as a nickname), after two of my favorite characters in Sailor Moon. Love the names of the actresses who portray them in the live-action version too, Keiko and Ayaka, respectively. Hina reminds me of the festival Hina Matsuri. I like it, but not sure if I’d use it. Nanami sounds pretty. Reminds me of a character in the J-drama series Buzzer Beat, though her first name is Natsuki. Not sure what I’d name a boy yet. Probably Hiro or Kenji.

    My jaw dropped at Nevaeh-Heaven Anna Champagne too. What the heck were the parents thinking? Anna is nice, but the rest, wtf? o.O; I agree, Irene is due for a revival.

  6. Totally off topic, but I never would have known Dexter’s Lab was on the instant queue without this post and you have consequently made my day!
    Umm, back to names. What’s the deal with Swayze being used on girls predominantly? I heard it on a little girl about a year or two back and I thought “Oh man mom and dad, Roadhouse much?” That article was quite enlightening. Also explains the friend of a friend’s daughter Swayzlynn I stumbled across on facebook. I kid you not….

  7. Oh, and I googled Eisen Es Zoo, another name spotted at ForReal this morning, and his(?) parents are named Hlee and Thao.

  8. My mouth dropped when I saw Heaven-Nevaeh Anna Champagne earlier this morning.

    I often have the same hesitation about borrowing names that aren’t from my own descent. But if people borrow Irish, Italian, German, and Greek names for their children without having an Irish, Italian, German, or Greek background, why not use a Japanese name?