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In this week’s edition of Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s Baby Name News feature, we find intriguing examples from the worlds of sports, show biz celebrity and British popularity lists.

Berries, here’s my constant dilemma: do I ask an expecting cousin/colleague/acquaintance if they’ve thought about baby names?  Let’s face it, I’m going to ask eventually.  Do I throw it out in the same breath as I offer my congratulations?  Or do I try to play it cool, waiting for a cautious “we were thinking about Isabella …”  

More often than not, I ask.

A friend recently indulged me, and rattled off their short list for a late November baby.  It was the kind of list that you would expect from a pair of thoughtful, stylish first-time parents: Josephine and Penelope and Eleanor and so on. 

Oh, and Brooklyn.

I raised an eyebrow.

But then I heard the story: their beloved niece, the nicely-named Sophie, had suggested it on a long car trip, reading it off an exit sign on the Long Island Expressway, offering it up as if no one had ever been named Brooklyn before.  Brooklyn wasn’t their style – but the moment was memorable, enough to add the name to their list.

It was a great reminder that inspiration comes from unlikely places.  Somehow I doubt my friends will end up with a baby Brooklyn, but the story almost makes me wish they would.

Speaking of unusual inspiration, here are nine names that caught my eye this week.

AlfieOliver and Olivia are the top names in the UK for the second year in a row, but here’s the choice that fascinates me: Alfie.  The nickname has rocketed into the Top Ten in recent years, reaching #4.  Most popular British choices aren’t very different from American favorites, and American parents often borrow from the UK, like Jack and Lily.  But Alfie is nowhere in the US and seems an unlikely import.  Or is he?  I once might have said the same thing about Oliver, and he’s climbing rapidly in the US.

ArthurSelma Blair’s new baby boy is Arthur SaintArthur is as regal as William and as cool as Archer, too.  There have been hints that Arthur was on the comeback trail – Courtney Cox’s Cougar Town character joking about adopting a baby boy to call Arthur, all those rumors that Natalie & Benjamin had chosen it for their little guy.  Let’s say that Arthur is officially back.

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