You see, 3 months ago or so there was a new baby panda born at the zoo. For some reason this has been big deal stuff ever since the Chinese “loaned” (it’s really a lease, but who’s quibbling) a boy and girl panda to the Washington Zoo back when Nixon was President and Mao was still in charge of China.
Anyway, whenever pandas get together to make a baby panda there’s always some sort of contest to name it. And they’re not named until they’re 104 days old—and it’s invariably some wussy name that if it were a people cub would guarantee a daily butt-kicking on the playground.
When Pandas do this:
Anyway, I digress.
The San Diego Zoo has a website and a “pandacam” which is also where you could nominate names for the new panda. They had to be in Pinyin—which is the phonetic form of Mandarin.
OK, before I go any further, let me just say that yes, we entered the naming contest and no, our suggested name didn’t get picked as one of the 5 finalists even though it was, without any doubt at all, the single best name all of which will be explained if you’ll just be patient enough to keep reading this rant. So I’m just a bit ticked.
Why is it that these little defenseless critters always get such wussy, sissified names? I mean, for crying out loud they’ve got names like Ling Ling, and Ping Ping, and Ming Ming and Ding Ding. Bleeeeeech!
And the finalists for this contest are no better (bear with me a little more, I WILL reveal the best name which although it didn’t make the finalists, shall hereinafter be the name by which we will call this panda). The top 5 are: Fu Sheng which means “blissful San Diego” (WTF?), Xiao Long or “little dragon” (he’s going to weigh 300 lbs or more), Xiong Wei or “extraordinary bear” (sounds a bit like Yogi Bear who was “smarter than your average bear”), Yong Xiang or “eternally blessed” (by whom? And for what?) and finally, Yun Zi or “son of cloud” (what? clouds have kids?).
Now this male cub has 2 sisters. Their names aren’t too bad (for girls!). One is Su Lin which means “a little bit of something cute” and the other is Zhen Zhen which means “precious”. But they’re girls! This is the only boy. He needs something special.
He needs a name with just a bit of attitude (better yet, with ‘tude). He needs something unmistakably masculine. We can’t make the mistake made with Rudolph who had the handicap of both that name AND a goofy looking nose. This little guy begs for something that sounds tough like he can both protect his sisters and put a little “whup-ass” on them if they get out of line. He needs to sound like he’s from “the hood”.
Now my wife thinks that every living, pet-like creature should have pretty much the same name. If it’s a goldfish or a kitten or a puppy or gerbil or even a panda they should all have the same name. And she’s got a point.
(OK, you’ve been a patient reader so now I’m going to tell you the name that beats all other names).
It’s Spike. Spike the Panda. Just plain Spike. In Pinyin that translates to Chang Ding.
Chang Ding. It’s got a certain “j’ne sais quois”, doesn’t it? OK, that was hoity toity. It’s got ‘tude! It’s so right.
Chang Ding. Spike. I even think they’d like that in Beijng. Beats the hell out of “Blissful San Diego”.
Anyway, if you want to see the panda cub, go to sandiegozoo.org/pandacam. Tell ‘em Chang Ding sent you!