The Quick 10: The Full Names of 10 Mononymous People

Everyone knows it's Beyonce Knowles and Madonna Ciccone, but do you know Bono's last name? OK, maybe you do, but I totally didn't. I didn't even know Bono's first name. But now I do, and here's a list of nine others. I have to say I'm inspired: I might think about just going by Stacy... which, come to think of it, isn't a very cool one-name name. Thanks, mom.

1. Bono - Paul David Hewson. One of his friends nicknamed him Bono in the 70s. According to the book Bono on Bono, his friend named him after a hearing aid shop they went by all of the time, because Bono sang so loud it was like he was trying to make deaf people hear him.

twiggy2. Twiggy - Lesley Hornby. Twiggy was her childhood nickname, and her agent suggested that she take that as her modeling name. Since her marriage, she goes by Twiggy Lawson.

3. Cher - Cherilyn Sarkisian. I understand why she goes by Cher; Cherilyn Sarkisian is kind of a mouthful.

4. Moby - Richard Melville Hall. I think this is somewhat well-known, but he says his middle name and his nickname are because Herman Melville is his great-great-great-granduncle.
5. Slash - Saul Hudson. He's another one who carried the nickname over from his childhood; a family friend named him Slash because he was always running around in a hurry. Another interesting fact about Slash: his mom was a costume designer for David Bowie.
6. Sting - Gordon Sumner. He was playing with his band (not the Police) one evening and wore a snazzy yellow and black striped sweater. The bandleader made fun of him, saying it made him look like a bee. Thus, Sting.
7. Rihanna - Robyn Rihanna Fenty. I don't have much to say about her, since she just swapped her names and dropped the surname. Rihanna sounds a lot edgier than Robyn, though, I'll give you that.
8. Fabio - Fabio Lanzoni. That's all I care to say about Fabio.
9. Prince - Prince Rogers Nelson. When your parents give you a name like Prince, you pretty much have to do something interesting with your life, I'm pretty sure.
10. Pelé - Edison (Edson) Arantes do Nascimento. This one was an accident - Pelé pronounced the name of his favorite soccer player wrong - "Pilé" instead of "Bilé." A classmate made fun of him by referring to him as the mispronounciation, and Pelé actually punched the guy for mocking him and got suspended from school. But the name stuck anyway.

Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.


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