The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 2, 2013

Mike Pound: Some baby names should never be used

Many years ago, I was at an event where former newspaper columnist and now author Dave Barry was signing copies of his latest book.

I was patiently waiting in line to have my copy of Dave’s book autographed when my wife asked me if I was going to say something funny to Dave.

“No,” I explained. “Dave doesn’t need morons like me trying to be funny.”

When it was my turn to have my book signed, I couldn’t help myself. When Dave looked up and asked my name so he could personalize the inscription, I said, “Mike,” and then because I thought it would be funny, I said, “With a ‘G.’”

Dave stopped signing and looked up at me.

“Really?” he asked with a face that said, “I think you might be insane.”

“No, no, heh-heh, I was joking,” I said.

“Oh,” Dave said, not laughing. “You never know with people and names.”

I learned two valuable lessons that day:

When you tell yourself to keep your mouth shut and not be funny, keep your mouth shut.

And, people really do nutty things with the names of their children.

At that point in his career, Dave had probably signed thousands of books, and in that time something tells me he had to spell “Mike” with a “G” at least once.

I’m not sure how you would do that, but if I had to guess I would say the “G” would go somewhere in the middle. Like this: “Migke.”

That’s just a guess.

I was thinking about that encounter with Dave Barry while reading a story about banned baby names in New Zealand.

According to the story, the New Zealand Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages recently released an updated list of 77 unacceptable baby names. When I read that, a couple of thoughts popped into my head.

The first thought was: I would hate to be the switchboard operator at the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Talk about pressure.

“You have reached the Office of Births. Let me be the first to congratulate you on your wonderful news. Now, how can I help you? What? Oh, so sorry. They sent you to the wrong office. I’ll connect you with Deaths right away.”

My second thought was: Really? In New Zealand the government can have a say in naming your baby?

That seems odd coming from a country named New Zealand. No offense, but the name New Zealand creates more questions than it answers. It implies that at one time there must have been an Old Zealand, which makes one ask what happened to Old Zealand since it never seems to come up in polite conversation anymore.

Then I read that some European countries also occasionally get involved in the baby-naming business. The point, according to the article, was to keep parents from giving their children names that will scar them for life.

Like “Newt” for example.

Ha. That’s a Newt Gingrich joke.

Some of the names on the New Zealand list of banned names sort of make sense. Names like “89,” for example. Or “III.” The name “Mafia No Fear” was on the list, along with “Chief,” “Mr,” “V8” and “H-Q.”

The New Zealand baby name police also rejected just about every name related to royalty. So if you want to name your kid Duke, King, Princess, Prince or Majesty, you might want to avoid New Zealand.

I guess New Zealand is worried that someone who was given the name Prince would later actually turn out to be a real prince and therefore have to go by the name Prince Prince. And if the guy’s last name was also Prince, well, you can see that a catastrophe would have been averted.

Oddly enough, the name “Newt” also was on New Zealand’s banned list.

But it was spelled with a “G.”

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

Text Only
Local News
  • Last two safe room projects up for Joplin School Board approval

    The Joplin Board of Education during its meeting tonight will consider more than $2.4 million in bid packages for safe rooms at Columbia and West Central elementary schools.

    April 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Mosaic pieces together purpose

    Today I want to tell you about a man named John — a man I never knew existed until last week. And yet he’s making a difference in my community. He is an individual served by Mosaic of Southeast Kansas, which also, I learned, is making a difference.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage Historic Preservation to re-create trolley era

    Recapturing history is difficult, but recapturing history without a building, an artifact or a singular focal point is even harder. To celebrate National Historic Preservation Month, Carthage Historic Preservation wants to recapture an era and an experience that have been gone from the city for almost 80 years: the era of the trolley (or tram) cars that provided public transportation.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Candidates for associate judge address GOP group

    The response was all but unanimous among four candidates seeking two Jasper County associate circuit judge positions. Asked to cite the biggest obstacle to justice in Jasper County, three of the four said the most prevalent challenge is getting the needed time on a busy court docket.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Money to area lawmakers slows down but doesn’t stop

    With the Legislature back in session, the flow of campaign cash to local candidates has slowed. But in this election year, the money did not completely stop. All members of the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly are on the ballot this year, but only two lawmakers are facing opposition.

    April 20, 2014

  • Joplin City Council to hear baseball plan details

    Proposed redevelopment plans for Joe Becker Stadium will be discussed with the Joplin City Council in a work session at the end of its regular meeting tonight. The WLD Suarez partnership has obtained a franchise of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball that succeeds the El Paso (Texas) Diablos.

    April 20, 2014

  • 041814 EPA projects5_72.jpg Contaminated mine tailings could be used on west bypass

    About 500 acres of former mining land at Wildwood Ranch have been reclaimed by contractors working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated mine tailings in the form of chat and waste rock have been consolidated in a surface repository that someday could be part of the roadbed for a limited-access highway that transportation planners hope to build on the west side of Joplin.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

Must Read


The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, following Russia's buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine. Do you think we should deploy these troops?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter