Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Name Calling

A few months ago, the wife was tending to her morning oblations and called out: "What about Franklin?" My mind raced: Name our first born after Frank Zappa? Gnarly! I agreed immediately and asked her what made her think of that name at that moment. She opened the door of the bathroom and showed me the name of the mutual fund she was perusing: Franklin Templeton. True to the Taiwanese fashion she remarked that Franklin was also on the hundred-dollar bill and that this would be a very auspicious name. Franklin will grow up to be something between the father of electricity and the creator of Joe's Garage. I'm not taking bets on which one he'll be closer to.

The Harrison bit came to me while I was at the gym. Harrison's spirituality balances Zappa's eccentric genius and the two names spoken together rather dance off the tongue. For what it's worth, it's also quite easy to say without moving your lips. The Batt throws that off, though.

Some folks have told me that they can't imagine naming a baby before he's born. They think it makes more sense to get a good look at him first. I'm glad we didn't wait, cause I might have called him Splotchy Red Batt after all. Can you imagine a UN Secretary General called Splotchy?

The English part was pretty easy. Now, Franklin's Chinese name took a little more work. Frank's grandfather consulted the I-Ching to come up with lucky names. On Sunday, he brought us a sheet of paper with my family name Ba(3) at the top, followed by two rows of characters. One row was a list of 8-stroke characters--these would be the first character of his given name--the second list was made up of 10-stroke characters for the other half.

Many of the words in the first row, once I grasped their meaning, seemed rather kitschy. They were mostly words like strong, handsome, coin, luck, luck, luck. Not what I was looking for, and as luck would have it, not what Maggie was looking for, either.

We didn't know it, but the word we were looking for was Sheng1 which is one of the words which can be translated as "sunrise."

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