Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Can we get some hot water please?

4 comments
I'm working back at the same place as before. I didn't miss the bathroom there. First, there's only one toilet, and it's always cold in there for some reason. But the real issue is that there is no hot water at the sink, only ice cold!! This is actually a pretty common thing here at public toilets. It's okay now and then - saves them the money to heat the water, I guess. But at work I get seriously chilled washing my hands in the cold water and I feel like I never recover from the chill, then just have to go back in there again later, and wash my hands in the cold-ass water again, and get even more chilled...brrr!! I so look forward to going home at the end of the day to use my own bathroom and use some nice warm water. :) Still, our offices are in a building that is at least interesting and is convenient for me, so I can't really complain otherwise.

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In other news, it's almost name-nerd Christmas!! On Mother's Day the new name statistics for the US for the previous year are usually released. When they are, I'll post them here in a comparison with the most popular German names. In other name news, the German Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that people can't have triple or higher hyphenated last names. From the article:

Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim, a Munich dentist, wanted to take the last name of her husband, Hans Peter Kunz-Hallstein, to become Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein. The case brought Germany’s minister of justice before the court in Karlsruhe for oral arguments in February to defend the ban on what the Germans call “chain names.”

By a vote of five to three, the court refused to budge, ruling that ballooning names “would quickly lose the effectiveness of their identifying purpose,” and declined to overturn the law on the grounds that it infringed on personal expression.

In a telephone interview, the couple’s lawyer, Rüdiger Zuck, said his clients had no comment on the ruling, but added, with what sounded distinctly like a note of resignation, “The Germans are old-fashioned.”

Germany takes a highly regimented approach to naming. Children’s names must be approved by local authorities, and there is a reference work, the International Handbook of Forenames, to guide them. Jürgen Udolph, a University of Leipzig professor and head of the information center there that provides certificates of approval for names that have not yet made the official list, said that “the state has a responsibility to protect people from idiotic forenames.”

The United States, of course, does not have naming laws of any kind - anything is fair game for a first or last name - and I doubt they ever would. It would not suit the American attitude. ;) As a consequence of our naming freedom, we have a reputation for using weird, wacky, and meaningless names. (My parents did a good job, though. Thanks guys.)

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I've had this in my head all week. Note: you need a high tolerance level for annoying music to click this.

4 comments:

  1. Multi-hyphenated names “would quickly lose the effectiveness of their identifying purpose”?

    Wouldn't they increase identification. Combining names would create more unique names.

    In spirit at least, I agree with the court. At some point, the names are just silly-long

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  2. It's not about being unique, it's about a family name, i.e. the identification of a person with their family through the name.

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  3. Well, back in the 70s you even needed approval of your priest to baptize you with a certain name, which is why my parents went to a lot of trouble with our local priest so i could be named with the pagan, non christian name Thorsten. On the other hand, the naming rules at least prevent stuff like this, so everything has pros and cons:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28655143/

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  4. Mary: I think it has to do with a couple of things: first, which name is even which? Hard to tell with so many. Second, keeping records on increasingly long names invites mistakes, cutting off of names, etc.

    Kato: That too.

    Hessi: Those names are disturbing. It bothers me when people use their kids to make a political statement.

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