Thursday, August 16, 2007


A recent AP story posted in (check it out) tells of a Chinese couple who have applied to name their child “@”. Apparently there are some 129 surnames that account for 87 percent of all surnames in China, and people are looking for ways to distinguish their children with unusual first names. Last year 60 million Chinese people had names that use unfamiliar characters. The story does not expand on what these unfamiliar characters might be.

Of course there is no Chinese alphabet. Instead the Chinese use thousands of calligraphy characters. That may mean that the alphabet we are used to would contain what the Chinese would deem unfamiliar characters.

However I do believe the inference of the story is not that simple. I assume the unfamiliar characters referred to would be such things as #, %, *, & and so on. This could make for the following story:

“&*% you!” ^%# yelled at the driver who had just run the red light, almost creaming ^%#’s BMW. The other driver in the recklessly driven delivery van, with a sign reading @{->}~ and Sons Pork Fritters emblazoned on the side, flipped ^%# the bird and screamed, “&*%$ yourself!” Both drivers, distracted and hot under the collar, proceed to collide with separate vehicles, Officer :”:”: reported. Injuries were minor, however a small truck carrying typewriter keys rolled over spilling #^%~*%+*(&%’%^#$#=$&’s everywhere.

What was the symbol by which “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” became known as for awhile? Where is that @ these days?

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