Jon And Kate, What About The 8?

Posted in TV Shows on October 1st, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You may have heard all the brouhaha about the TLC reality show Jon and Kate Plus Eight that’s been in the news lately.  If not, a quick re-cap:  Jon and Kate Gosselin were a young couple who had a set of twins and a set of sextuplets, giving them a grand total of 8 kids before either one of them had even hit the age of 30.  They filmed a show for TLC chronicling their lives with all the little ones, and the special was such a success that they soon found themselves celebrities with their own reality show.  Apparently the sudden mega-stardom caused too much strain on the family, and the marriage did not survive.  Amidst accusations of infidelity and other ugly, yet very public issues, the couple filed for divorce earlier this year.  Scarcely a move has been made by either party since without full coverage from the media.

I watched a few episodes of the show back when the Gosselin’s were one big happy family, mostly because it was interesting to watch such a large family function as well as they did, err, as well as they seemed to function anyway.  But ever since the big family fall-out, things have been getting increasingly worse for the clan.  TLC announced yesterday that Jon would no longer be a major part of the show, and they were re-naming it Kate Plus Eight.  Ouch.  There are millions of people who follow the plight of the Gosselins; there are Kate fans and there are Jon fans, and then there are people who are mainly concerned for the welfare of the 8 kids.  The media has certainly vilified Jon, though it’s difficult to determine how much of it he has done to himself.  No matter how much the accusations about Kate’s controlling and domineering nature tend to be proven true by her behavior, she is always able to appear to be the better person through her public statements.  Maybe she really is the better person of the two, or perhaps she is more intelligent or has a better spokesperson advising her than Jon has.  But whatever the case, one thing is clear – those 8 kids they created together should not have to be caught in the middle of all of this, it’s disgusting.

The reason I decided to join in on the media storm and write about this is because of the latest chapter that broke yesterday – when TLC kicked Jon off the show.  His response?  He legally banned all production crews from the house he still co-owns with Kate, where the children live and the parents take turns visiting.  He has threatened to slap TLC with criminal charges if they come onto his property.  He hasn’t said whether this includes a ban on filming the children, but one can guess, based upon his actions, that it’s no longer ok with Jon that his kids star in a reality show.  It’s completely understandable – many people, including child psychology experts, etc, were constantly saying how unhealthy it was for the 8 kids to be filmed on a daily basis.  But Jon (along with Kate, back when they actually agreed on something) was always a staunch defender of the show and the fact that he and Kate had the kids’ best interests at heart.  But now that Jon got himself kicked off the show, it looks like he’s decided that reality tv is no longer a healthy lifestyle for his children.  And that’s fine and even makes sense, but one does have to question his intentions when his legal action to stop the show comes the very day that news is released that he is no longer a part of the show himself.  As a well-written gossip column stated, “Jon is acting like the kid who didn’t get picked to be on a team for the neighborhood baseball game, so he’s taking his ball and going home.”  Whatever his intentions, I am among the many former fans who just want what is best for the 8 kids while the rest of it goes away.  But before that happens, I am very interested to hear the spin Jon puts on his reasons for his actions – all of them.  He is giving a live interview on Larry King Live tonight on CNN, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that I will be watching (the midnight replay of course – there is no way this would ever take precedent over a new episode of The Office).  Then again, why bother watching the interview when I know the “highlights” will be shoved down our throats for the next few days – or at least until Jon’s careless behavior provides enough fodder to make yet another story…

Legitimate School Interruption or Propaganda?

Posted in Current Events on September 4th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Because I have two kids in the local city school system at the same time, I receive double the school memos.  So while Friday’s after-school-folder-clean-out yielded the usual classwork, homework and doodles, there were also some notices clearly indicative of these times in which we’re living: a list of swine flu H1N1 symptoms and (what I thought at the time anyway)  to be a routine parental notice with optional exclusion form.  You know the type –  I would not like my son / daughter to participate in the following school activity (fill in the blank, field trip, sex ed, open lunch, etc.), signed (parent’s name). This time the form was in reference to an address by Barrack Obama, the President of the United States, to the students of the country.  When I  received the memo, I was all in favor.  I would not be one of the parents who declined my child the opportunity to be involved with current events and history in the making.  I thought it was great that the President was making an unprecedented, concentrated effort to make a positive influence on America’s youth.  But then I read and the other news outlets, and I saw that some people seemed to be using this as a political soundboard, and I think it’s just sad that some people use everything our President does as a reason to bring up racial tension.

I would like to steer my blog from most politics, however, I am a parent of two kids who are in American public schools, so this is an issue that hits close to home.  So whether you watch the Obama student address or not, whether you approve of the President and/or his message to students, consider the significance of the Presidential address taking place this Tuesday, September 8, 2009 for what it is – history in the making.

This Boyle Madness

Posted in Current Events on April 16th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you heard about the newest media sensation, Susan Boyle?  She is a woman who appeared on the European tv show, Britian’s Got Talent and wowed the judges.  When I first saw the headlines, I couldn’t imagine how good someone could be to get that kind of attention.  I didn’t click on the headlines because they were only videos on and I avoid those – I like to read my news when I get it from the internet.  But I’m a news junkie, and eventually I caught the Talent clip on the real CNN – and the story unfolded.  The woman has talent.  She can really sing, and she makes a difficult song seem effortless.  There are plenty of people with nice voices, so what’s the big deal?  I think it is about the way Susan Boyle looks.  When she stepped up to sing, people (and you can see this in the judges’ and audience’s reactions) did not expect her to be a good singer because she does not comply with society’s definition of “pretty”.  Simon Cowell, specifically, who is a judge on the show, is known for judging people on their looks first and even making comments about them, which I think is immature and disgusting.  But I have to sound off on this topic because it’s been all over the news lately, and this morning, Susan was on The Early Show.  For some reason that I can only attribute to the way she looks, the Early Show anchors were treating her like she was mentally challenged – they were talking slowly, etc.  One of  the Early Show anchors stated, “Let’s see if she can sing early in the morning”, prompting Susan to do an acappella version of the song that made her famous, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.  It was wonderful, but maybe that Early Show anchor should be treated as if she is mentally challenged – it was early morning in New York, but Susan Boyle was doing the interview from her home in Scotland, where it was 11:30-midnightish!  Duh.

I personally think it’s an extraordinary story because Susan Boyle is 47 and with a voice like that, I’m surprised she wasn’t discovered sooner.  I’m sick of everyone picking on her looks and using them to define her as a person.  I think it’s terrible that society says that people have to look good to have worth.  Maybe that’s why plastic surgery runs so rampant, but to me, plastic surgery tends to stick out.  A lot of times, I can tell when someone’s had something done.  I think it looks fake and strange, and it baffles my mind that people would risk their lives to get knocked out and sliced open just to change something aesthetic.  Not including those who get disfigured, of course – I can’t blame those people, and I feel really sorry for them especially after noting how society acts about looks.  Good looking people are assumed to be more successful, they’re listened to more often,  and they’re just overall held in a higher regard in society than people who look different or what society deems as “ugly”.  To me, ugly is the mean, heartless person who doesn’t care about others.  I think Susan should be applauded for conquering society’s “ugly”.  Bravo Susan, for a job well done – I hope you get to fulfill your wish of singing for the Queen!

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a link to the clip of the episode of Britian’s Got Talent featuring Susan.  As one of the judges put it, she is a privilege to listen to!  I get chills and tears in my eyes as I watch those snooty judges eat crow while Susan triumphs!

The Bus Driver Did WHAT?!?

Posted in Current Events on March 17th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , ,

I read a news item a few weeks ago about Shawn Brim, a bus driver in Washington who stopped his bus, got off and adjusted his side-view mirrors, and then proceeded to punch a nearby McGruff the Crime Dog in the face!  What was he thinking?  He thought it would be funny, he said.  Understandably, everyone failed to see the humor in punching a children’s hero in front of a crowd of horrified kids, and the bus driver was arrested.

On the other side of the coin and the world, there was another bus driver whose actions can only be described as heroic.  Seems Brim has something to learn from Meher Mohammad Khalil:

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) — His job was to drive the bus. But Meher Mohammad Khalil is now being hailed as a lifesaver.  When gunmen jumped out of bushes and began spraying bullets at the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team Tuesday, Khalil quickly sized up his options and got everyone to safety.

“First I thought there were some firecrackers going off. Then, when I saw the elite force cars in front of me taking fire, I immediately lost my voice,” Khalil told CNN on Wednesday.

“At that time, the other elite car that was with us gave me cover, and then, when I saw he was giving me cover, my courage and my patience returned.  I decided to take the vehicle from there, and one way or another, even if I had to drive over someone, I would take this bus and escape.”

Khalil returned to the scene of the attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday to honor those who were killed and to place flowers in their memory.

One of the dead was Zafar Khan, a friend and fellow bus driver who had been in a vehicle behind Khalil.

“My eyes filled with tears that these were people that I was eating with and who died in doing their duty.”
Khalil had been part of a convoy heading to Gaddafi Stadium, where the Sri Lankan cricket team was to continue a match against Pakistan.

Six police officers were killed, in addition to Khalil’s friend Khan who was driving a bus with the match umpires.

The Sri Lankan cricketers praised Khalil’s quick thinking and action, saying he saved their lives.  Six team members were injured by broken glass and shrapnel.

Team captain Mahela Jayawardene wrote on his Web site of Khalil: “He probably saved our lives, showing remarkable bravery in the face of direct gunfire to keep the bus moving.”

Crowds mobbed Khalil as he paid his respects at the place where his life changed in an instant.

“He is a hero, a real hero, a real man of the people,” a man in the crowd said.

Private donors in Lahore have rewarded Khalil with 300,000 rupees (more than $3,000) — a small fortune for a Pakistani bus driver.

Today, Khalil says all he can feel is pain of the loss of life. And he called on the attackers to recognize that their victims are humans just like them, with mothers and sisters.

“For God’s sake, please stop this terrorism and let this nation breathe a sigh of relief,” he said.

Cute And Cuddly? I Think Not.

Posted in animals on January 11th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did you hear the one about the Chinese man who found himself in a dilemma?  His son’s toy fell into the panda enclosure at the zoo, so he jumped in after it.  The panda attacked him, and because the creatures are so coveted in China, he didn’t fend off the animal because he feared he would injure him.  He survived the attack, as did the other 2 victims of this particular panda.  But as the below article notes, in China, there is no “3 strikes, you’re out” policy for pandas because they are so highly regarded.  Particularly amusing is the tale of the drunken tourist who was also a victim of this malicious panda.  Read about Gu Gu the not-so-nice panda here:

(CNN) — Gu Gu is not your typical soft and cuddly giant panda.
Zhang Jiao was attacked by Gu Gu the panda when he fell into the pen at the Beijing Zoo on Wednesday.

Zhang Jiao was attacked by Gu Gu the panda when he fell into the pen at the Beijing Zoo on Wednesday.

For the third time, he’s tasted the flesh of an unwitting intruder in his pen at the Beijing Zoo.

His most recent victim was 28-year-old Zhang Jiao, who told CNN he fell into the panda pen Wednesday while trying to catch a small toy thrown by his young son.

“My son and I were playing with a panda doll, throwing it to each other, when I dropped with the toy” into the pen, Zhang said.

The barrier around the pen is about 5 feet tall, but on the other side is a drop of 9 to 10 feet, and Zhang says he could not climb out.

That’s when Gu Gu went on the attack.

The 240-pound giant panda sunk his teeth into Zhang’s left leg before moving on to the right leg.

“The panda is a national treasure, and I love and respect [him], so I didn’t fight back,” Zhang said. “The panda didn’t let go until it chewed up my leg and its mouth was dripping with my blood.”

Zookeepers needed to use tools to pry open Gu Gu’s jaws.

Zhang said he never imagined a panda could be so vicious.

“I always thought they were cute and just ate bamboo,” Zhang said.

According to Dr. Wang Tianbing, who treated Zhang, his wounds were severe, especially the damage done to the muscle and ligaments in his left leg.

“Normally, we think the panda is very tender animal, but actually it’s a bear, not a cat. If the animal thinks it will be hurt by human beings, it is very dangerous.”

Wang should know. In 2007, he treated another one of Gu Gu’s victims, a 15-year-old boy who climbed into the pen to get a closer look. A year earlier, state media reported that a drunken tourist tried to hug the panda, who bit him. In an odd twist, the tourist reportedly bit back.

But being an endangered species and much-loved national icon means there’s no “three strikes and you’re out” for Gu Gu.

In fact, there’s a possibility Zhang may face charges for entering the panda pen.

Zoo officials did not respond to CNN’s request for an interview but are reportedly considering new measures to keep tourists out of Gu Gu’s pen.

A panda’s mouth dripping with blood?  That sounds like a horror movie!

Indiana Jones-ette

Posted in Kids, Movies on December 14th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Remember that article I wrote about the unusual names?  The article spotlighted a little girl named Indiana Elizabeth Jones and her brother, Dow.  Well, this post is not going to be about them.

Rather, it’s an excuse to post a cute photo of my 4-year-old daughter wearing an Indiana Jones-like costume.  For the real buffs out there, I know it’s not exact, but it’s still cute…

A Stricken State

Posted in Current Events on December 9th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I took the tv away from the kids today (not that they watch it that much anyway) so I can watch the events in Illinois unfold as their governor Rod Blagojevich is arrested on corruption charges.  No surprise there, just an interesting story being followed by a former resident of that state.  In fact, we left Illinois for good in 2003 just months after Blago assumed office, which was mostly a coincidence, but I would say that his being elected to the governor’s office did add to the feeling we had that the state was falling apart.  It was that obvious from the beginning that Blago was no good.  Over the years, I’ve been following news stories in Illinois by reading, an online version of a suburban newspaper.  Every time there was anything in the paper related to Blago, there was no shortage of comments from readers about the purported corruption of the governor.  In October of this year, the governor’s approval rating was a measly 4%.  And today, the you-know-what has hit the fan.  The governor of Illinois is in prison – the second gov in a row from that state to serve time, as a matter of fact.  As we speak, err, as you read this, former Illinois Governor George Ryan is probably watching the Blagojevich coverage from the federal prison he currently calls home.  I’m just curious if it makes anyone nervous that our new President-elect is from a state that can’t seem to keep its leaders out of the slammer.  Hopefully, Barack Obama can set a new standard for politicians from Illinois – that would be refreshing.

But in the meantime, watching Blago’s saga unfold is compelling – the reporters on CNN are saying that the breadth of the corruption is unimaginable.  They’re saying Blago engaged in a ‘crime spree’ while in office and the details are troubling – including allegations of $8 million in funding being pulled from a children’s hospital because its CEO did not contribute $50,000 to Blago’s campaign.  And I’m not writing this to pick on Blago or make any sort of political statement – it’s not that I’m the type of person who smiles at the misfortune of others either, but hey, he did this to himself.  I just feel badly for the residents of Illinois who trusted this man to be their leader and their representative, and now they’re forced to watch with the rest of the world while he is exposed for what he truly is, giving their state a horrible reputation in the process.  The main victims in this situation are the Blagojevich family, and it’s sad that Rod’s two young children will probably have to grow up now without a father in their lives.  And unfortunately, Blagojevich is just the latest in a long line of corrupt officials from the Land of Lincoln.  Since the early 1970’s, 3 former Illinois governors have served time in prison, not including Blagojevich who is a current governor.  Here’s to hoping the politicians of Illinois can get their act together amidst their growing tradition of disreputableness.

Teenagers Driving You Crazy?

Posted in Current Events on October 10th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , ,

Then drive to Nebraska and drop them off.  For good.  Seems Nebraska has a “safe haven” law like a lot of states, however, they are the only ones to have neglected placing an age limit on the kids who are left at the safe havens.  These laws are designed to protect the safety of unwanted infants, encouraging mothers to drop them at hospitals instead of getting scared and doing something horrible and regrettable to the babies.  Most states set their age cap at 72 hours, but since Nebraska failed to set a cap, they are seeing an influx of people dropping off their troublesome teens, including people who don’t even live in Nebraska!  Read about it below:

(CNN) — Frustrated parents are dumping their teenagers at Nebraska hospitals — even crossing state lines to do it — and the state Legislature has scheduled a special hearing to try to stem the tide.

A 14-year-old Iowa girl was left Tuesday at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
 Nebraska’s “safe haven” law, intended to allow parents to anonymously hand over an infant to a hospital without being prosecuted, isn’t working out as planned.
Of the 17 children relinquished since the law took effect in July, only four are younger than 10 — and all four are among the nine siblings abandoned by a man September 24 at an Omaha hospital.

On Tuesday, a 14-year-old girl from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was abandoned at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, just across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs. The case marks the first time a parent has crossed state lines to abandon a teenager in Nebraska, authorities said.

“The few situations we’ve seen so far demonstrate the need for a change in Nebraska’s safe haven law,” Gov. Dave Heineman said in a statement Monday. “In the coming legislative session, I will advocate for changes that put the focus back on protecting an infant in danger. That should be our priority.”

All 50 states have safe haven laws, but only Nebraska’s lacks an age limit. Nebraska’s part-time Legislature is adjourned until January, but two state legislative committees will hold a joint hearing November 13 to discuss a remedy.

“They’ve got a huge problem,” said Linda Spears, vice president for policy and public affairs for the Child Welfare League of America. “It’s a pretty poorly constructed law to meet its original intent.”

When it was introduced in the Legislature, the bill had a presumed age limitation of 72 hours, said Todd Landry, director of the state’s Division of Children and Family Services.

“The original intent was to protect infants from the immediate danger of being harmed,” he said.

However, the law’s final language uses the word “child” and does not specify an age limit, leaving it open to interpretation. Other states’ laws specify the maximum age at which a child may be relinquished, ranging from 72 hours in several states to 1 year in North Dakota, according to the National Center for State Courts.

“Clearly in these cases so far that we’ve seen, none of these children were in any immediate danger of being harmed,” Landry said. “It is our opinion that the law does need to be modified.”

The law is being abused, Heineman’s statement said.

“Safe haven laws were not designed to allow families having difficulty with older youth and teenagers to abandon their children or responsibilities as parents,” he said.

The parents may not always be to blame, the Child Welfare League’s Spears said.

“The original safe haven laws were created for young moms who are having babies who didn’t know how to get help. I think these are families with older kids who don’t know how to get help and who are in desperate need,” she said.

Most state laws fail to provide for research into who is abandoning babies and why, league spokeswoman Joyce Johnson said.

“Those are the kinds of things we’ve been wondering about and saying we need to know more about, and you’ll never know if you just have a law that says you can anonymously leave a child somewhere, no questions asked,” Johnson said.

New Jersey, she said, is an exception. That state’s safe haven law provides funding for research and evaluation as well as $500,000 a year for public awareness, according to a September 2007 report by a New Jersey safe haven task force.

A woman who dropped her 15-year-old nephew at a Lincoln, Nebraska, hospital told CNN affiliate KETV last month that she and the boy’s guardian could no longer handle his behavior problems.  Watch woman explain why she left 15-year-old at hospital »

The woman, Cathy Poulin, said she tried discipline and medication, but nothing worked. The boy’s mother died several years ago, and his father left him, she said.

“We had to go to the next level,” Poulin said. “He can be made to get help.”

The Omaha man who left his nine children, ages 1 to 17, at Creighton University Medical Center was overwhelmed by the sudden death of his wife after the youngest child was born, he told KETV.

“I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone. What was I going to do?” Gary Staton said. “We raised them together. I didn’t think I could do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn’t take care of them.”

Staton is just the kind of parent whom safe haven laws fail to help, Johnson said.

“He was grieving, he didn’t have a lot of money, and all those children — he was trying to figure out how to feed them, how to clothe them, and deal with the grief of losing his wife. He needed help,” she said.
Heineman and Landry urged Nebraska parents who are having trouble coping to call the United Way’s 211 resource line or Boys Town, a nationally known nonprofit child services organization based in Nebraska.

Other options include community and faith-based support groups, crisis hot lines, treatment centers and other services, Landry added.

By Jim Kavanagh




Lookit The Cute Meeses

Posted in Current Events, Uncategorized on August 14th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Two baby moose are called what?  Twin baby mooses, I guess…  But anyway, check out this really cute video I received via email – a baby moose finds someone’s backyard sprinkler, then he goes over and “tells” his mommy and twin brother about it, and they all enjoy themselves tremendously.  The mommy moose grooms her babies in it, and the babies play together – it’s SO cute!

Sure beats the other baby moose video I saw this week – we won’t go into that (you fellow CNN junkies know what I’m talking about), just nature taking its course, I guess…  But let’s focus on the cute mooses (?) playing in the sprinkler instead:

Click here for some extremely cute baby animal action.

Meet Dow Jones And His Sister, Indiana

Posted in Current Events, Kids on August 2nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Maybe it’s because I have a daughter named Disney, but for whatever reason, these news stories about people with unusual names interest me.  Here is a follow up story to the one I posted the other day about a family with the last name of Jones who named their kids Indiana and Dow…
(CNN) — When you hear the name “Indiana Jones,” you think of an archaeologist carrying an idol and dodging a giant boulder. When you hear about “Dow Jones,” you might wonder if it’s up or down that day. However, in this case, Indiana and Dow Jones are siblings, 12 and 7 years old, respectively.
Dow and Indiana Jones participate in many sporting events. Indiana says, “announcers love to say our names.”

Indiana Elizabeth Jones shared her story with the iReport community, and we spoke with her mother, Jennifer Jones. The Port Deposit, Maryland, resident says Indiana got her name simply because her husband’s family is from that state.

As for Dow Joseph Jones, there was serious talk of naming him Jack Ryan Jones, to keep the Harrison Ford theme. (Jack Ryan is the character Ford played in a series of action movies.) Instead, her husband named their son Dow on a dare while Jennifer was asleep in the hospital bed after giving birth.

She said she cried when she found out and even thought about having Dow’s name changed. asked users to share their unusual names after a 9-year-old New Zealand girl named Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii won the right to change her name.

Dozens of members of community explained the stories behind their odd names, as well as what they’ve experienced in their day-to-day lives.

Some names might not seem problematic until they’re actually used on a daily basis. Open Weaver Banks of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey (speaking of odd names), says that she shared her story with in hopes that parents would think twice before giving their children an unusual name.

Open is an unusual name, but it’s not necessarily a name that one might expect to cause regular difficulties. Weaver Banks, however, says that she often has problems with it.

“I have a hard time using my credit cards for personal items, because clerks will accuse me of using a business card. I cannot tell my name to someone without having to explain it. Some days, it is exhausting, and I can’t even disguise the annoyance in my voice.”

Banks’ childhood was “painful” because of her name, too. “I still give my mother a hard time about the name choice, and she tries to explain that she was young, she liked how it sounded, it was 1970 and various other reasons,” she explains. “I actually tried going by another name for a year, and I realized that as much as I truly hate my name, it is embedded in me and so much a part of my experience.”

Some people avoid the use of their name altogether to avoid questions, confusion or embarrassment. “At times, for the sake of avoiding an uncomfortable conversation or throwing someone off guard, I answer to the names of ‘Mary’ or ‘Kelly’,” says Bluzette Martin of West Allis, Wisconsin. At restaurants, “the thought of putting an employee through the pain of guessing how to spell and pronounce ‘Bluzette’ just isn’t worth it to me.”

Martin was named after “Bluzette,” an up-tempo jazz waltz written by Jean “Toots” Thielemans. Despite her daily problems with this name, it certainly has its perks, like when she met Thielemans in 1987 at a club in Los Angeles. “When I met [him], he thanked my mother,” she says.

She called her mother in the middle of the night and told her that she had a surprise for her. She gave the phone to Thielemans, and he started doing his famous whistling, to the tune of “Bluzette.”

Even celebrities aren’t immune to the use of unusual names. Take boxer George Foreman’s children, all named George. (Or actor Jason Lee’s son, Pilot Inspektor, or comedian Penn Jillette’s daughter, Moxie CrimeFighter.) These are just-plain bizarre names, like that of iReporter Holden Holden.

Holden, a sophomore at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, says that having a double name has its pros and cons. He says he has a face people will remember because his name is easy to remember. Unfortunately, he says, he’s not very good about remembering names himself, so it can lead to some awkward moments.

Holden’s grandfather died a month before he was born but was always called by his last name as a nickname. “My last name is my mother’s maiden name, which she reverted to after she divorced,” he explains.

Holden also says that he plans to run for president in 2036. “Since my name is pretty easy to remember, it’ll be easier to garner votes that way.”

As for Dow Jones’ mother, she didn’t go through with changing his name. Now she sees it as something unique for someone with the very common last name “Jones.” And perhaps that’s the bright side to having an unusual name: It sets you apart from the crowd.

Dow’s sister doesn’t seem to mind.

“There is a new Indiana Jones movie out this year, so all my friends think it’s pretty cool,” she says.

By Henry “Hank” Hanks