Good idea: the National Zoo is letting us name its Giant Pacific octopus.
Bad idea: the names. All four are terrible:
Olympus: This octopus arrived at the Zoo just before the 2010 Winter Olympics, and for many zoogoers the octopus gets a gold medal for being a compelling animal.
Ceph: Octopuses belong to the fascinating group of animals called cephalopods (class Cephalopoda), which means “head-foot.” The arms or feet (podos in Greek) of these animals are on the front of their head (“cephalo” comes from the Greek kephale, for head).
Octavius: “Octavius the Octopus” is more than just a pretty, alliterative name. The prefix “oct” means eight–that’s how many arms an octopus has, and “Octavius” was the Latin name traditionally given to the eighth child.
Vancouver: Home may be where the heart is–three hearts in the case of the octopus–and this octopus came the Zoo from an organization in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the end of January.
“The octopus gets a gold medal for being a compelling animal”?? Well, then the National Zoo gets a gold medal for cheese.
Who came up with this shortlist? I’d never have burdened the poor thing with “Cthulhu,” but I’d like some creative names to choose from! Their ballot won’t even let you write anything better in. (My guess is they’re afraid of the “Octopussy” contingent winning).
In response to the bitter malcontents like yours truly, Alan Peters, the National Zoo’s curator of invertebrates , observes, “Naming an octopus is always a tough decision, but each of these names is unique and has a specific meaning.” Is this guy Sarah Palin’s baby name advisor?