September 27, 2007

First of all, thank you so much for the books/movies/music suggestions! I’ve got Knocked Up added to my Netflix queue; I downloaded Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Etc (LOVE), A Fine Frenzy (feeling lukewarm about this so far, but I think it’s one that will grow on me), Giant Drag’s “Wicked Game” cover (LOVE), Kanye’s “Stronger” (this song makes me do ridiculous things with my butt); and I’ve got a fantastic to-read list (including “The Nasty Bits“, which I have been meaning to pick up for a while now because man, do I ever love me some Bourdain). You guys rock, as usual.

(Also, here’s something I’ve never known: how are you supposed to reference books or music or movies? With italics, with quotation marks, or what? Is it different for each medium?)

In the spirit of good suggestions for good things, indulge me while I plug the newly-launched business of a family friend: Steve the Art Director has created a very cool website for ordering collage artwork. If you’re like me and you have shitloads of great family photos but no idea what to do with them other than periodically posting them on Flickr, his studio can create some really amazing options—matted, framed, the whole nine yards. Recognize this suspicious little guy? I have that image as a print, beautifully matted and framed, hanging in Riley’s room right now (there are some other cool samples here). Go check it out, and if you have questions, Steve will answer.

Okay, so . . . BOY NAMES. We had a great girl name picked out, but we’re struggling a little with a name for the dong-bearing Smalltopus. If coming up with fabulous-sounding boy names is a passion of yours, your input is welcome. Some possibly-helpful parameters: the middle name will be Emmett, and our last name sounds a lot like Sparks, so first names like Sam or Sheldon are out.

We have considered and mostly discarded the following:

• Ethan (love it, but it’s also the name of my new Workplace boss, who will be starting work—and sharing my office—as of next Monday. “Hi! I’m really hoping you won’t decide to phase out my position, and as a gesture of goodwill I have named my child after you! Hope that’s not awkward, ha ha!”)

• Jake (love, but do not love Jacob)

• Dexter (possibly influenced by my deep adoration for the Showtime TV series, possibly a name most people won’t find very appealing)

• Cody (cute, but maybe too trendy-sounding, especially when combined with Riley)

• Garrett (JB’s choice. Not mine)

• Casey (too gender-ambiguous; also not sure about another name ending in an “ee” sound)

The top contender is a name we both like very much, it just isn’t ringing the same bells that Riley did for us. I’m not sure if we can expect to have another “YES! YES THAT’S IT!” moment, or if we need to let a name percolate and become more familiar. I guess we could wait until the babe makes his appearance and name him then, but I’m concerned we’d end up with something like Vermixy or Red-n-Squashed or Hiccups Von NeverSleep.

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Amy
Amy
14 years ago

damn, Emmett was my first thought and then i finished the rest of the sentence. Rliey and Emmett sounds so lovely together…put it first instead! We’ll all come up with another middle name…

Jean
Jean
14 years ago

Evan is sort of like Ethan, but not the name of your boss. I like Evan.

If I had a boy, he would have been Jonas, so I like that one too.

Dex is a cool ass nickname.

I hate Cody. Sorry!!

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

whoa..Riley. fast fingers way too excited about this obviously.

Rae
Rae
14 years ago

Use quotation marks around the titles of short works: newspaper and magainze articles, poems, short sotires, songs, episodes of television and radio programs, and chapters or subdivisions of books.

Use italics for longer works: book titles, magazine titles (as in, Newsweek), newspapers, pamphlets, long poems, (like Paradise Lost, plays, films, television programs, raido programs, musical compositions (Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, choreographic works, works of visual art, comic strips, software, and Web sites.

I got that from my Bedford Handbook. It’s an awesome grammar book. And I am a big nerd for calling a grammar book awesome.

Creekle
14 years ago

Some off of the top of my head:

Nicholas (or any spelling variation thereof)
Henry
Liam (possibly too trendy, but dude – it was my great-grandpa’s name)
Simon

I kinda dig on the more “normal” names, as opposed to the Creightons and Willoughbys I’ve seen lately.

Sadie
Sadie
14 years ago

I agree with Jean – I dislike Cody too. And Casey. Neither are very masculine names. Think about a grown man, maybe an executive, named Cody. Or Casey. um, no. Of your choices above, I really like Jake. Strong and simple! It works at all ages.

I also like Garrett. And what do you think of Griffin? I’ve liked that name ever since it was Jennifer Love Hewitt’s boyfriend’s name on Party of Five, a hundred years ago.

mandy
14 years ago

Oh I love Garrett! Garrett and Riley, kewl.

JennB
14 years ago

I like Garrett, so much so that I married one.
I like Parker, too… so that’s what we named out daughter.

http://www.opaqueprintproduction.com/jbblog

Cavu
14 years ago

Yeah, why not Emmett first?

The MFA program taught us book titles are underlined, but if you’re writing it online, it’s common to italicize so it doesn’t look like a link when it isn’t a link. Article/journal articles are italicized.

angela
14 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Style_guide#United_States

I’m pretty sure the Chicago Manual of Style is standard for all non-academic applications, but I used Turabian in school and I’ve become accustomed to it.

Mare
Mare
14 years ago

I like classic names, like James and Robert and Michael. I’m also a fan of Sam and Max, Sebastian and Jack, and the previously mentioned Simon. And if I may, may I also join the nixers on Casey and Cody.

Jamie
14 years ago

How about Grant? It’s like Garrett, only just a shade more masculine.

Also, absolutely NO to Dexter. Dexter is a dog’s name. I only say it that plainly because you asked. Otherwise, I would never just hand out a$$vice like this – just not the way I roll. :)

Other names to consider:
Jonathan
Charles (Charlie)
Connor

Good luck!

marilyn
14 years ago

Might be too out there or Southern for you, but I really like my brother and dad’s name: Slade. I want to name my son (if I have one) that, but I guess I can’t steal it from my brother if he wants to continue that line.

It’s definitely not a name that he’d ever be able to find on a keychain though. Whenever I found (half the time) was able MY name on a keychain when I was younger, I’d feel sad for my little bro. I don’t know if he really cared.

angela
14 years ago

Also, I used to think shortened names were weird (Jake in lieu of Jacob), but I know a Mandie, a Rob, a Bob and a Danny. All their actual given names as stated on their birth certificate. I think Jake as a given name would totally work.

Niki
Niki
14 years ago

Well, I like Garrett, but not with the middle name: “Garrett Emmett” is too repetitive, and somehow doesn’t roll off of the tongue.

Why can’t you go with Jake, and leave Jacob out of it? (This, from a woman named Niki, not Nicole.)

I agree that Cody is a bad idea. A second boy with a -y ending may end up sounding cutesy.

Finally, I think it’s good to consider the meter of the whole name. If the first name is two syllables, I’d think they’d sound better if they’re very different from Emmett. And, of course, think about how they sound together. Because Emmett begins with a vowel sound, ending the first name with ‘n’ might cause problems. (Example: Jason Emmett could easily end up sounding like “Jasah Nemmett”)

Congratulations on your second boy. Whatever his name, I hope you all bring each other much joy.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

We were going to name Eric “William Robert” which also translates to “Billy Bob” no way! So we named him Eric Robert. If I had another boy I would want to name him William because I like the name Billy.

I love the name Dexter too! That would actually be my first pick off your list.

Leah
14 years ago

Rae stole my grammar thunder. Boo.

Boy names are HARD. How about Adrian, as a kind of sideways nod to your almost baby girl? Or is that weird?

katie
14 years ago

To quote from “The Sure Thing”:

Lady in Car: What are you gonna name it?
Alison Bradbury: What?
Lady in Car: The baby.
Alison Bradbury: Well, if it’s a girl, Cynthia, and if it’s a boy, Elliot.
Lady in Car: Those are lovely names.
Walter (Gib) Gibson: Elliot? You’re gonna name the kid Elliot? No, you can’t name the kid Elliot. Elliot is a fat kid with glasses who eats paste. You’re not gonna name the kid Elliot. You gotta give him a real name. Give him a name. Like Nick.
Alison Bradbury: Nick?
Walter (Gib) Gibson: Yeah, Nick. Nick’s a real name. Nick’s your buddy. Nick’s the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn’t mind if you puke in his car, Nick.

Banana
14 years ago

I love baby name discussions!!

Boy names I love:
Caiden (but maybe too trendy?)
Dustin
Finn
Griffin (I like that one too Sadie)
Tanner

I like names that are sort of unusual, but not to strange or scarring for the poor child who has to wear it their whole life

andrea
14 years ago

I am a big fan of classic names, we have a Charles (Charlie) and our other choices were Jack, William and George. I do really like Dexter and think Cody is pretty cute too, but I agree two ending in “ee” might be a bit much.

We Changed our minds off and on until a week before when it was glued to his wall in rope (cowboy themed nursery) and would have peeled the plaster off to change it.

Teralyne
14 years ago

My choice would be Scott. It is a strong manly name. Also it is the name I gave my son.

Tessie
14 years ago

There are little boys in my kid’s daycare class named Garrison and Finn. I like both of those with your middle/last name.

There’s also a kid named Linus. PLEASE GOD WON’T SOMEONE USE LINUS? If I never meet another Linus I shall be Very Sad Indeed.

Claudia
14 years ago

Think about the name as it is applied to a grown man. One day, he will be a man. Will he want to be a Cody? I wouldn’t. I think Ethan’s my favorite. It’s easy to say, spell, and is good for a male of any age. Classic and defies fads. Emmett’s my dad’s middle name. I’m partial to it as well.

stephanie
stephanie
14 years ago

I really dislike Cody. Not a big fan of Casey, either.
I really like Jake, I wouldn’t worry about it not being short for Jacob. What about:
Jack or Jackson
Henry
William
Daniel
Oliver
John
Charlie

Audrey
14 years ago

The grammar thunder has totally been stolen, but the general rule that helps me remember is this: If it’s published independently, italicize or underline it; if it’s published as a smaller part of something bigger, quotes. (So, a song would be in quotes, but the album name would be italicized; and a TV show episode name would be in quotes, but the name of the show itself [not the individual episode] is italicized.)

I love both Ethan and Jake. And I think a name like Dexter, which could be shortened to Dex, is absolutely to-die-for adorable while simultaneously being a kick-ass name for an older boy/man. In short, it will be a name that is good to him throughout his life.

Melanie
Melanie
14 years ago

If we had a boy, his name would have been Henry. I love James. I really like Garrett too. Andrew. Edgar.

Janet Powell
Janet Powell
14 years ago

LOGAN

-Janet in Miami

Erica
14 years ago

Ooohh, I do like Garrett. I personally have to suggest Avery and Daniel.

I do not like Casey (too girly) or Cody (too, ummm, “Duuuuude”-sounding, for lack of a better word).

Crystal
14 years ago

Ethan is the name of my youngest, and was definitely a “good enough” choice. For my oldest, his name was a no-brainer, it was the only one we considered and the only one that ever fit. For Ethan, though, we never had that lightbulb type moment. We actually would have preferred Evan, but my husband has a family member (one he doesn’t get along with too well) with that name so it was, unfortunately, out.

Jennie
14 years ago

I should have read all the other comments but I didn’t. Forgive!

I like:

Barrett
Jack
Tanner (although I used to like it much more than I do now)
Carter

And I think we’re naming our boy (if we have one; when we get knocked up): Kyler

Keri
14 years ago

I’ve always loved the name Keegan for a boy but my neighbor named her son that (what are the chances?!). ‘Riley and Keegan’ has a nice ring to it. ;)

Kelsey
14 years ago

How about Gavin? I think that goes better with Emmett than Garrett, though I do like Garrett.

I also like Jack; I babysat a kid named Jackson which they shortened to Jack and I liked the long and short versions of that name.

Liam is one of my favorite boy names.

Aaron sounds good with your middle/last name combo too!

Robin
Robin
14 years ago

Here’s some I like:

Mason
Chance
Wyatt
Wes
Jesse
Dalton

:)

Jennie
14 years ago

I also like Logan. But, quite possibly, because of my wee obsession with Veronica Mars.

Kelsey
14 years ago

Oooh, I had forgotten Keegan, but I do love that name and agree that it works will with Riley.

dregina
dregina
14 years ago

Lowell? That’s a family name of ours I like.

I know a lovely little boy named Dexter, so I’m in favor of that name…

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Here are my favorite unused boy names for my second son – we ended up naming him Ethan, and his big brother is Will (William). Feel free to use any of them:
David
Patrick
Owen
Liam
Malcolm
Wyatt
Jeffrey
Gregory
Matthew
Michael
Nigel
Daniel

jonniker
14 years ago

It doesn’t depend on the medium as much as it does the style you’re writing to. In Chicago and AP, it’s all different, and I’m sure in another style book (MLA?), it’s even MORE different. AP will tell you to put it in quotes, as italics aren’t used in newspapers or wire services, while Chicago will say to use italics, and when that isn’t available (like in a plain text e-mail), they’ll tell you do use underscores in front of it, like this:

_The History of the Siege of Lisbon_

That little puppy was taken directly from the CMOS online site. I have never read the History of the Siege of Lisbon.

Anyway! I write and edit in both, and I can never remember this point exactly because they both use them so differently, that I’m always using both online manuals until my fingers bleed.

Aaaand, with that, I don’t know how else to say this to Jamie, except that Dexter is on our short list for boy’s names. Buuuut, maybe not anymore, given that it’s a DOG’S NAME in some people’s minds? HAHAHAHAHA.

(Lest this be misconstrued, I love Jamie, and we’re actually friends. No drama, I promise!)

Pickles & Dimes
14 years ago

This is getting slightly popular, but I think Cooper is a great boy’s name.

I like also like the name Jensen.

Karey
Karey
14 years ago

I usually don’t respond to posts like this (mainly because it isn’t something I would feel comfortable asking for advise on myself), but the name I have always loved but can’t use now because it doesn’t work with my SOs last name is Owen. Owen Emmett Sparks has a nice ring to it. So does “Riley and Owen”.

Good luck with the naming!

adoring fan
adoring fan
14 years ago

Congrats on another boy!
I vote for Jake, but only because Garrett sounds funny with Emmett. Also like Grant, Oliver and Simon. (Oh look, here comes Riley and Oliver. Those Sparks boys are the most suspicious kids I’ve ever known.)

Jessica
Jessica
14 years ago

I love Nathaniel. I tried desperately for my hubs to go for it with our second boy, but to no avail. Nate is such a cute nickname…And I second the Logan. Another one my husband wouldn’t agree to.

McWriter
14 years ago

I love Henry!
“Henry Emmett Sounds-Like-Sparks” = hot guy

Also: Benjamin, Charlie, Nolan, Nathaniel/Nate, Timothy, Mitchell, Theodore/Teddy, Ryan (too close to Riley – I know), just plain Jake, Christopher, Edward/Ned, Luke, Alexander/Alex, more to come.

I never had a nickname. I always wanted one. Can you tell?

Mrs. Breedorf
14 years ago

I think that if the new boss is the only thing holding you back from Ethan, you should go for it. It’s not likely you’re going to know him forever and I doubt either would get confused when you’re referring to the other.

Ellen
Ellen
14 years ago

I think those names are all stellar, but you might want to make up a cover story if you name him Dexter. “Uh, he was my great uncle, not a dude with serial killer tendencies or anything.”

Jamie
14 years ago

Oh, Jonniker. What can I say? My mind, it has strong opinions. :)

I have trouble with ANY name that could be perceived as a dog’s name, and similarly, I don’t understand people who give their pets human names (unless they’re funny, like old men’s name. I love a cat named Wilbur). It’s just my own narrow-mindedness, I guess. I will never have a son named Hunter, Cody, Cooper, Tucker, or Dexter. Because in my mind’s eye, those are dogs. Similarly, I will never name a dog Emma or Charlie. I really don’t judge others – it’s just my own bizarre criteria.

Perceptions of a name is different, but I have to admit I like a lot of these suggestions, Sundry. Especially Keegan and Wyatt. And I hate trendy names, so that’s really sayin’ something.

GoingLoopy
14 years ago

I actually know a child named Dexter, as well, and I don’t HATE it. Cody and Casey – not so much. First name probably shouldn’t end in “T” if the middle name is Emmett. Nathan? Zachary (I’ve always liked that one)? I like names that you can make a good nickname from…probably because my name isn’t necessarily conducive to nicknamage. It does rhyme with lots of first-grader versions of mean, though. (Jelly. Smelly. Belly.) I also like Brandon and Patrick.

Jamie
14 years ago

Umm, apparently I’m so fired up about names that I flipping forgot to do a self-check on my own grammar. Whoopsie.

Mandy
Mandy
14 years ago

Finn
Beckett
Simon
Owen
Henry
Patrick

And my personal favorite, Ivan, which is what we named our son!

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

Caden Emmett
Jackson Emmett
Cooper Emmett
Carter Emmett
Finley Emmett
Parker Emmett
Drake Emmett
Levi Emmett
Miles Emmett

I like those, I love Riley and Caden though, Caden is my favorite.

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