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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Do Parents Have the Right to Afflict Any Name on their Child? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Do Parents Have the Right to Afflict Any Name on their Child?
Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Freedom of speech doesn't extend to speech that causes harm to others. The name alone is child abuse.

I think it's a horrible name to give a child. But I do not think it should be against the law, and it certainly does not rise to the level of child abuse.
What, the legal definition, or your personal compass of abuse? I think it's abuse to use your child as a vehicle for your own narcissism, which is kind of what the whole naming thing is about. There are unfortunately many perfectly legal ways to abuse your kids, because just doing the normal things, like naming your kids, but with the wrong intentions can be abusive in its way.

It's not required by law that you speak to your children or answer any of their questions, or seek a better life for them, or encourage them in their education, or hug them and kiss them, or save for them, or even buy them health insurance. But not doing these things constitutes abuse in my book.

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Mucus
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There was an odd related bit in the second article:
quote:
Robert M. Gordon, a clinical psychologist in Allentown, said the names would hurt the children.

"Certainly society is going to be hostile towards those kids, especially when they go to school," Gordon said.

More than that, he said, the children would be harmed by their parents' views.

"By the time they get to school, they will already have been damaged," Gordon said. "Any parent that would impose such horrific names on their children is mentally ill, and they would be affecting their children from the day they were born. Only a crazy person would do that."

The problems the children might encounter in school, he said, "would be icing on the cake."

I don't think he meant "crazy" as a professional opinion. But it does make me wonder if this will end up damaging the children's children just the father's guardian used the Bible to damage him. Sins of the father and all that.
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katharina
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I suspect anyone narcissistic enough to use their children's lives to say "Bite Me" to the world was always going to screw up their kids.
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Belle
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That is absolutely horrific. I heard about it on Cakewrecks, actually, which linked to the same article.

Poor babies. [Frown] Not their fault their parents are mentally ill and sick and twisted. Yet, those two will suffer for it.

*I should have read the first post more carefully, and I would have known I was linking to the same article. *slaps forehead*

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Mucus
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katharina : "children's children"

Whether these particular children will be screwed up isn't really in doubt. What I'm wondering is how long this kind of effect persists across generations.

(not that I'm advocating any legal remedy, I'm just curious about it on a personal level)

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Artemisia Tridentata
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Other extreme behaviors on the part of significant adults are as potentially damaging. A fourth grade boy, that my wive works with, was sobbing uncontrollably two weeks ago because Obama was going to be the president now and was going to outlaw hunting. The kid was never going to be able to go hunting with his father ever again. I'll bet he didn't get that out if his "Weekly Reader".
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Architraz Warden
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My best friend from high school has assigned a 'production title' for his second child (daughter) to outline her position as the younger sibling:

Avarice Envy M_____

Both he and his wife are using the name so often, I'm wondering if it's going to stick (maybe Avarice as a middle name).

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It's not required by law that you speak to your children or answer any of their questions, or seek a better life for them, or encourage them in their education, or hug them and kiss them, or save for them, or even buy them health insurance. But not doing these things constitutes abuse in my book.

I disagree with several of those. And the ones I don't would almost certainly be part of a much larger problem. If you never answer a child's questions, never hug them -- most likely there is real neglect going on.

Not buying a kid health insurance is child abuse now? If we're going to include stuff like that, then we dilute the meaning of the word beyond any useful purpose.

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romanylass
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Some parents can't afford to save for their kids, some can't afford health insurance, and some ( like us) have insurance but have to think three , four times before we use it because we may not be able to pay our part of the bill. Is that abusive?
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rivka
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Not in my universe. I can't speak to Orincoro's. [Razz]
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Teshi
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quote:
How... on... EARTH do they get away with that without the secret police getting carried away with elastic interpretations?
A good number of countries "police" the kind of names children can have without getting carried away. Shockingly, it's not the 'secret police' who get involved. You get a bureaucrat in a grey suit and then a civil court case.

Not all countries think in terms of eroded freedoms and expect that any limits are going to result in a midnight raid by armed masked men. Because they don't.

That said, some countries are quite restrictive on what names are allowed. Mexico and Germany are among them. As far as I know, the secret police is still not involved and there is not elasticity over the rules, they are simply more severe than elsewhere.

I believe the rules in most places are more about unpronounceable names, or names that invite ridicule like "Wzzzskjhdf" and "Butthead". However, these choices are likely made by civil servants and then by a court, not by the secret police.

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Mucus
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(Technically, if that American sociology professor is correct (and he could be wrong) and American parents cannot in fact name their children four letter swear words, then it is not so much that Americans think that "any limits are going to result in a midnight raid by armed masked men" but simply that they think that "any limits more restrictive than American limits are going to result in a midnight raid by armed masked men")

i.e. its kinda relative rather than absolute

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:

Not buying a kid health insurance is child abuse now? If we're going to include stuff like that, then we dilute the meaning of the word beyond any useful purpose.

Eh, I disagree that the useful purpose of the term is to describe beating a child with a belt, or allowing a child to go hungry. Abuse is a broad term, and our culture has narrowed it, ignoring the elements of abuse that are not as overt as physical violence. This is the same with "Domestic Abuse" which for a long time was synonymous with Wife-beating, and a fair number of our judicial practices as a society have been unfair to men as a result (certainly this is not meant to indicate that our laws are ever totally fair either way, only that imbalances in both directions are not good).

I really do believe it is a form of abuse to have too many children for your resources, to not show love and affection for your children, and yes, to not provide them with the safety net of medical coverage if you cannot afford to pay out of pocket if an emergency arises. I don't believe these things should be legislated, but I think our society should have an understanding that the *requirements* of parenthood are higher than the legal obligations of parenthood. Of course, few will disagree with that.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by romanylass:
Some parents can't afford to save for their kids, some can't afford health insurance, and some ( like us) have insurance but have to think three , four times before we use it because we may not be able to pay our part of the bill. Is that abusive?

No, not on its face. I'm not claiming all of these things as absolute indicators of any of your parental qualities- you can obviously provide for your children in many ways outside of what I've said. At the same time, I am sure you do more than is legally required, and I think as long as you do the best you can or know how, then of course you are not being abusive- abuse is partly a function of intent.

IF you can't save money, fine- that isn't the end all by a long shot. But acting selfishly when faced with decisions about your children's future would be, to me, abusive. I know you can do that without being able to save money.

quote:
Not in my universe. I can't speak to Orincoro's. [Razz]
I see it's patronize Ori day. You have not heard the end of this, my NEMESIS!!! [Mad]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I really do believe it is a form of abuse to have too many children for your resources

And apparently, to not perfectly predict the future and/or successfully plan for all contingencies.

You know, when you spout off on music or philosophy, I may think you are an arrogant ass, but I don't usually care much. But when you spout off on things like this, you are not only being an arrogant jerk (from your comfortable ivory tower, since I am fairly certain you have no kids), but you are knowingly hurting specific people.

Talk to me in twenty years. [Razz]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I see it's patronize Ori day.

No, that was last week.

This is just on general principles.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Technically, if that American sociology professor is correct (and he could be wrong) and American parents cannot in fact name their children four letter swear words

AFAIK, there exists no federal law, statute, or agency that has anything to do with birth certificates and the naming of children. Wouldn't that be a state-by-state sort of thing?
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Orincoro
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Does that mean not talk to you for the intervening twenty?

You know, you could give me an inch of breathing room by taking what I say as an invitation to be corrected. I don't think of what I say as being absolute. So call me arrogant, whatever, I've heard it before, and I keep coming back. If your intention is to hurt my feelings by dismissing my opinions or my posts on a wide range of topics as self-aggrandizing, then you've succeeded. I've never done that to you, so of course it hurts to be verbally smacked by someone I have respect for.

Edit: Btw, you should know I'm capable of hurting people *without* being aware of it. Like in this case, for example, where I honestly wasn't thinking of anyone (here) specifically, because I can't think of anyone who posts here as even approaching what I was talking about. I was thinking about my grandmother, who ended up raising a family of 13 children with a redneck fundamentalist, and discouraging all of her children from leading successful and happy lives. She was abusive without ever lifting a finger to any of them.

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rivka
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My intention is to make you think before you post such hurtful things. I believe you are capable of posting more circumspectly; you choose not to do so.
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Orincoro
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Maybe I'm not capable of doing so. Maybe I'm a shallow and empty shell of a person. I think that sometimes. Maybe that's why, even though I love kids, the idea of having children is alien to me. Maybe I was robbed of a nurturing instinct by experiences I don't wish to see repeated. And it isn't like I've lived a terrible life or had bad parents, because I haven't and I don't. So I don't honestly know why I think this way, but I do.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Maybe I'm a shallow and empty shell of a person.

Maybe. But I don't get that impression. And regardless, you have the choice to change what and how you post. And speak, for that matter.
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Orincoro
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I don't really say that much to people anymore unless I know them quite well. I have an older sister who can't stand to listen to me talk. I mean, she gets angry when I open my mouth to say something, and will always either correct me, or make fun of me- every moment in the same room with her is stressful. It used to just be very petty and unpleasant, but now our parents avoid forcing us to interact at all, and if I never saw her again I wouldn't mind. That's such a terrible thing to think about a family member, but if someone ever calls me arrogant or superior, or says anything about my self worth, I just think, "God, if you only knew my sister." She probably thinks the same thing about me.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Technically, if that American sociology professor is correct (and he could be wrong) and American parents cannot in fact name their children four letter swear words

AFAIK, there exists no federal law, statute, or agency that has anything to do with birth certificates and the naming of children. Wouldn't that be a state-by-state sort of thing?
I don't know, hence the "if" and the bracketed qualifier. I thought that was enough qualification [Wink]
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The Pixiest
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One can grow up with a strange name and live a normal life. For example, my parents named me Pernicia Euphemia Scrapple-Jacks <last name> and I bare no lasting scars, I just changed it when I grew up.
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Orincoro
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Seriously? Scrapple-Jacks? What is a Scrapple-Jack?

Did they ever explain what their motivations were?

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The Pixiest
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Well, you know, my dad thought it would be funny. And actually, I like it better than the first two. Some of my friends still call me Scrap. (Some still call me Pern too...)

Remember the old "Apple Jacks" song? I always sang it "S is for Scrapple, J is for Jacks" you know, cuz it was all about me.

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Artemisia Tridentata
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Shoot, and I thought Morris was grim!
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Freedom of speech doesn't extend to speech that causes harm to others. The name alone is child abuse.

I think it's a horrible name to give a child. But I do not think it should be against the law, and it certainly does not rise to the level of child abuse.
Child abuse includes verbal abuse, such as yelling, swearing or insulting, and also psychological abuse, such as public humiliation. This name achieves both of those. It may not be at the level where the parents can be arrested for child abuse, but in a divorce court I'd bet it would have an impact on who gets custody. Also, these kinds of abuse may not warrant action by CPS, but they are certainly adequate reasons to open an investigation to see if other forms of abuse are present.
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Dagonee
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"Scrap" is such a great name for you. [Smile]
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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
"Scrap" is such a great name for you. [Smile]

Ya think? I mean, I answer to it and don't mind it and all (I DO like my legal name better) but why do you think it's a great name for me?
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Dagonee
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'Cause you're scrappy - in an entirely good (and entirely unrelated to the abominable cartoon puppy) way.
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scifibum
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I think, Orincoro, that I can see where you were coming from. You've seen children neglected and emotionally malnourished and you wouldn't wish that on anyone. Safe ground so far.

I think the problem was in stating that certain behaviors that *might* be part of a pattern of neglect constitute "abuse" of children. No doubt several people reading did not meet all of the standards you mentioned.

Many children of poor parents who are ill equipped to provide for all the material wants of a child are still happy to have been brought into the world, and perhaps to better the family's financial future. Many sick children are still glad to have a mom and dad who comfort them and love them.

In fact, prior to the last few decades, the expectation of living through childhood without experiencing hunger, sickness, and death of people close to you would have been totally unrealistic.

So it takes a pretty fresh perspective to say that children without medical insurance are abused.

(I'm leaving the precise denotation of "abuse" alone, because I think what you mean is the children are not properly cared for.)

Caring for your children and trying to do what is best for them is essential. However, failing in a few dozen ways is inevitable, and doesn't automatically rise to the level of abuse. I see you've already acknowledged this:

quote:
I think as long as you do the best you can or know how, then of course you are not being abusive- abuse is partly a function of intent.

IF you can't save money, fine- that isn't the end all by a long shot. But acting selfishly when faced with decisions about your children's future would be, to me, abusive. I know you can do that without being able to save money.

Mostly right, IMO. Still, parenting is a bit trickier than being unselfish. I honestly don't think we can expect that parents put their children ahead of themselves in every respect. We're tricky beings. Sometimes expecting too much from us backfires. Sometimes a parent who might have coped, and been an all-around adequate caretaker, breaks down under pressure. I'm dancing around the point, so here it is: sometimes what looks like selfishness is necessary in order to preserve critical functions.

Just to pull an example out of the air, a parent might have a lucrative job that affords the family a safe home, medical insurance, life insurance, safe travel, and good schooling. Then, the parent might decide that he wants to go back to school for something completely different, and cancel the insurance and move the family into a shack so he can get by working fewer hours at an easier job, so he can spare the cognitive effort for school. And at the end of this, the person will still make too little to afford what the family used to have.

From the outside that might look selfish. It might look irresponsible. Yet it might not be what it seems, and I certainly don't think it would be fair to call it abusive without some deep insight into the situation.

From the inside, the person might have determined that the existing career was creating pressure that was going to break out eventually in some destructive way: nervous breakdown, divorce, unemployment, suicide. Only that person can decide what amount of self-care is necessary to the well being of the family in the long run.

A less extreme example is the parent who takes a vacation every year instead of putting the money away for the kids' college. Wise use of money? Perhaps not - maybe even probably not - but only that parent knows.

Sometimes this kind of thing gets carried to an extreme that IS shamefully selfish or irresponsible. But it's hard to know exactly what a parent needs to do in order to keep parenting unless you're that parent. From the outside society has to be watchful to ensure kids are eating, aren't getting molested or beaten, and even for mental or emotional abuse. But we can only ever see the situation from the outside.

I realize you were never talking about the forms of abuse on which society should intervene. But even a more general concern for the well being of the child should be balanced with the recognition that no one but a parent is in a position to consider not only the child's needs but also the parent's.

Calling subjectively suboptimal parenting decisions abuse just doesn't work. You can't know enough about the nuances in play. That's why it's better to stick to labeling only the less subjective, less subtle forms of maltreatment as abuse.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
'Cause you're scrappy - in an entirely good (and entirely unrelated to the abominable cartoon puppy) way.

"Why I oughta... let me at em! I'll splat em..." and so on?
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
I don't know, hence the "if" and the bracketed qualifier. I thought that was enough qualification [Wink]

Sorry, I was commenting on the original claim, and too lazy to go back and look for the first post that made it. Yours was handier. [Wink]
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The Pixiest
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Ok, I gotta fess up. My parents didn't really name me Pernicia Euphemia Scrapple-Jacks.

I thought it was such a stupid name that someone would call me on it. That, and I can't say it aloud without laughing.

People DO call me "Pern" and "Scrap" though. But that's because Pernicia and Scrapple are the names of two of my WoW characters.

So I'm sorry if my silliness mislead anyone. My name is, and has always been "Megan."

And Dag, Thank you =)

Pix

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Orincoro
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Scifi, that was a very thoughtful response- I think you read into what I was getting at and expressed it more aptly than I did- I can agree with your interpretation of abuse.

Being raised is such a subjective experience anyway. I think we probably all get the feeling that our particular case is extraordinary or at least different from others, so objective qualifications for parenting are more or less impossible. I do simultaneously believe that my parents did everything they could for me, and did mostly the right things raising me. At the same time of course, I had an abusive older sibling who terrorized me, and to a lesser extent (I judge mostly from my current relationships with them) I turned and offered the same treatment to my younger siblings (who were very close to me in age). We now have a good relationship, whereas our relationships with the older sister are virtually nonexistent. I can see too, that I have *no possible way* of knowing why she turned out the way she did. I can speculate- I believe she has a narcissistic personality disorder, but I don't know why, and that's of course baffling and frustrating. It's made me very hostile to "traditional" concepts of family that were espoused by my parents- rather I tend to feel that these things simply can't be done right, almost as if raising a child is an abuse unto itself. It's not a state of mind many people talk about, but there it is.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Ok, I gotta fess up. My parents didn't really name me Pernicia Euphemia Scrapple-Jacks.

To borrow Tom's words: "this has been act of Unmaking." [Cry]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Ok, I gotta fess up. My parents didn't really name me Pernicia Euphemia Scrapple-Jacks.

I was trying to decide whether to call you on that. [Laugh]
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Dagonee
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quote:
To borrow Tom's words: "this has been act of Unmaking."
Nah, it was an act of Teh Funny.
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PSI Teleport
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Scrapple-Jacks is a lot better than Jackel Scraps. I'm just saying.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
To borrow Tom's words: "this has been act of Unmaking."
Nah, it was an act of Teh Funny.
I was Teh Kidding. [Wink]
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Dagonee
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Yeah, I know. [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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quote:
My name is, and has always been "Megan."
My God. I'm so sorry.
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Orincoro
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Now that constitutes abuse.
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The Pixiest
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Tom's just pickin' on me. It's ok =)
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Now that constitutes abuse.

Too true.

*shakes head sadly*

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theresa51282
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28655143/?GT1=43001
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The Pixiest
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28584888/

quote:

Lisa Bonet's new baby's name is a mouthful
Newborn boy's name is Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa

*facepalm*
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Orincoro
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They never disappoint, do they?
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Juxtapose
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28584888/

quote:

Lisa Bonet's new baby's name is a mouthful
Newborn boy's name is Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa

*facepalm*
Why facepalm? That's actually short compared to many Hawaiian names I've seen.
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