What’s in a Name?

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In this case, I think Shakespeare got it wrong. Would we revere this flower’s iconic scent if it was really named hideous maximus horriblous or pink excrement on a thorny stick?  I think not.

Names are terribly important to our perception of the objects, animals and people we encounter, although we may not always realize it. The subject of names is on my mind lately since so many of my friends and colleagues are having babies these days. The names of choice have been really charming, often referencing cherished ancestors who have long since passed, or names relevant to the family’s heritage.

The naming game is an epic one at Beekman farm, where Brent and Josh excitedly await the names of the newborn goats, names which are almost always chosen by the great Farmer John. He has never wavered from his naming system and it has never failed. No goat at Beekman has the name of another goat (Brent tells me there has never been a duplicate) and each name begins with the first initial of the kid’s mother. We’ve all seen photos of the fabulous Faintly, whose name is probably my personal favourite. (Settle down now, Polka Spot! Settle down!)

Names are like beautiful accessories to our personalities and personas. Most of us will only have one name in our lifetime, unless we decide to take the surname of a spouse or legally change it to shirk off any unwanted connotations. Our names are emblazoned on our mail, our passports, our deeds and credit cards. It is inscribed on our birth certificates and it will be chiseled into our grave stones. In many ways, it is our most valuable intagible possession.

We’d love to hear some of your favourite names in the comments section below. Just for fun, try also naming these quirky zoological characters, artistically photographed and collaged by Yago Partal, one of my favourite photographers. These furry fashionistas are crying out for great names!



To see more of Yago Partal’s zoo portraits, click here. You can also order prints.

Visit Yago Partal’s website to see more of his photographs and portraits.


by Andrew

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I did a search for FAINTLY, looking for news on the wee kid since last year… can you update?

BTW, I LOVE the name FAINTLY! When I first saw it, I thought it was strange to have an adverb as a first name… but HELLO! Now I know exactly how people feel when they hear my name (which I love as well): MADLEY 🙂

PS Love PolkaSpot’s name — so clever! and I know a TRULY too…


Many years ago, I worked for a school system. There was one unfortunate student whose name was Ikentina, with a middle name of Turner. Apparently, her parents were big fans. 🙂


Cardinal Sin, former Archbishop of Manila (Jaime Sin). His title and surname were a point of humor in the Philippines. His favorite pun while greeting guests at his official residence was, “Welcome to the house of Sin”. True story 🙂

Ken Newman

Hello Andrew. First off, I’d like to say that after visiting his web site, I really like Yago Partal’s work.
After viewing this entry in your “5 Beautiful Things” blog for the second time, I can’t get it out of my head that an alternative title for this post might be,” 5 reasons to avoid internet dating sites”. Please feel free to delete this rambling if you deem it senseless or inappropriate.

Angie Falzarano

Two weird names i have come across in my lifetime was an elderly lady named Cute one Satterwhite and a 15 yr girl named Baby girl. And yes her name was baby girl. I saw her passport.


1. John Bearlushi..since he kinda looks like John Belushi
2. George Clairelooney…since it’s like George Clooney
3. Dudley Leemoore..since he looks like Arthur/Dudley
4. Mary Emu Olsen..looks like an Olsen outfit
5. The the Fonz

bev peltier

Mookie the bear…sly the wolf…eddie…georgie the ostrich……hank the bull

Ken Newman

1. Boris Ursakov 2. Wolfner… James Wolfner 3. Marty Lorre III 4. Reginald Featherbottom Peepers 5. Buster Broadyoke Jr.


much better than those dogs in panty hose and heels I’ve been seeing on FB lately… 😉


The Bear – Bob
The Wolf – Lawrence
The Lemur – Jax
The Ostrich – Alistair
The Bull – Zeus