JIM:

So now that Claire is engaged and a wedding looms about 18 months away, what comfort can the Father of the Bride take… except perhaps to dream of a little pink grandchild? After wondering whether the hypothetical baby will be a boy or a girl, the next question in my mind concerns the choice of a name.

What's in a name, you ask. Well, my middle name is "Ottavio." My Dad was the 8th of 16 kids and his folks named him Number Eight. When it was time for him to go to school, one of his older sisters - someday to be my Aunt Jenny - renamed him "James" after the President who gave America the Monroe Doctrine. Although Pop never legally changed from "Ottavio Antonio" to "James Ottavio," I was dubbed "Junior" anyway. "Jr." is still on my driver's license, although I haven't used it for years.

Uncle Attilio is still remembered by old timers in Summit Hill as "Christopher." Aunt Jenny had just learned all about Columbus when she christened him.

Joanne and I were delighted when our son Marc and his German wife named their first Antonia. "Antonio" was my Italian grandfather's name, my dad's and brother's middle name. We also were relieved not to have a Brunhilda or Monegunda or Valkiria land on the family tree. Worst of all would have been "Eva Braun Castagnera."

Had our first grandchild turned out to be a boy, we were pretty sure he wouldn't be an Adolph. Yahoo Answers asked whether it's illegal to name your baby "Adolph" in Germany. One German responded, "It's not illegal, but I wouldn't because people will probably be mad at you and your kid will get [made] fun of."

Reportedly, an American couple named their kid "Adolph Hitler Campbell." When the local supermarket's baker refused to write the full name on the baby's birthday cake, the parents apparently complained to Child Protective Services. According to the story I read, the complaint didn't get too far.

In a world of seven-plus billion, parents sometimes seem desperate to give their progeny unique names. Celebrities are no exception. I found these on a website called "51 craziest names by celebrity parents" [http://www.indianhindunames.com/craziest-baby-names.htm]:

- Bluebell Madonna

- Fifi Trixibell

- Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily

- Jermajesty

- Moon Unit, and

- Hopper

I'll leave it to you to research or just guess who the celeb-parents are.

Speaking of "Hopper," in grade school I had a friend who got that nickname. It was a synonym for privy or commode back in the day. Don't ask me what he did to deserve it. A "Boogers" and a "Monkey Moola" also ran with our gang. I was, variously, "Castoroil" and "Guinea". Wiki-answers claims the latter was a "vile racial slur." Maybe so, but nobody I knew ever thought of it that way.

In the Fifties and Sixties, almost all boys had nicknames. A fellow felt left out if he didn't have one. I remember sitting around our clubhouse trying to come up with one for my best friend Bobby. He was feeling deprived. We came up with "Skip," but it didn't take. Bobby notwithstanding, most parents didn't have to reach for weird or unique handles for their kids. We urchins took care of that for ourselves. Girls were no exception. At Marian High my class included a "Moosey" and a "Bloomp-Bloomp," both of the fair sex. Nice part was that, when we grew up, those goofy nicknames went away along with our pimples.

Claire:

I'm not even married yet – only engaged one week! – and already questions about babies and grandchildren? I read that this would happen; the ol' endless reel of Life Landmark Questions. When are you getting married? Then, when are you guys having kids? And then, even when you have a baby: when are you going to have another?

All I can say is this: we don't know. We don't have any baby names picked out, so feel free to come up with some of your own! But I wouldn't hold my breath about seeing them put to use if I were you.

Somebody pass me the Valium.