Who says the government never does anything for us? They're out there studying popular baby names! The Social Security Administration has released its report on the most popular baby names in 2009, and there are thankfully very few Apples or Suris (and Miley, as in Cyrus, has dropped in popularity), but as The New York Times noted, the name Cullen is growing in popularity at a most alarming rate, "leaping almost 300 spots from 2008 for the biggest increase of any boy's name; it wedged firmly between Braiden and Kason." (Braiden? Kason? If you're out there, please speak up.)

But the Times goes ever farther with its vampire baby theory: "The most popular boy's name was Jacob, an eternal favorite that happens to be the name of the buff rival of paler-than-thou Edward: Jacob Black. The most popular name for girls was Isabella, the progenitor of Bella, the love interest of both Edward the vampire and Jacob the werewolf. Just plain Bella logs in at 58."

I'm not buying that Jacob, a very popular name from the Old Testament, has much to do with which "team" parents are on, and Isabella has been in the top ten since 2004. As a rep from the SSA notes, many authors use baby name guides for inspiration -- naming characters is such a pain in the butt, no? -- but then there's this couple:

"Cullen was the choice of an eerily repetitive 555 couples. They included Brad Lafferty and Michelle Mikkelsen, who live in the Bronx. Ms. Mikkelsen said she read the last book in Ms. Meyer's series, Breaking Dawn - which includes the birth of a half-vampire, half-human child - while pregnant."

Personally, reading Breaking Dawn while pregnant would be right up there with Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist while watching The Brood as far as freaking me the eff out, and I feel bad disparaging their choice of baby names, but... Cullen? Really? Could we at least just go for Edward or something that won't get the kid beaten up every day after school by the kids names Jacob?