Wolf Files: Baby Name Games

Xena's six-year run ended in 2001. The name disappeared from birth certificates, just as it disappeared from the TV guide. Still, there are a bunch of second- and third-grade warrior princesses out there, with mothers who have some explaining to do.

"It definitely fits her personality," Jody Humphrey told the News Journal in Mansfield, Ohio, in January, speaking of her 7-year-old daughter.

"She is full of energy and spunk — just [like] her television namesake." Good Sports: If you're really looking for parents who make sport of their children, consider that at least two children were named Espn, after the ESPN cable sports network.

In 2002, Jason Curiel of Texas told the Dallas Morning News that he thought his wife was kidding when she made the suggestion. But the Corpus Christi couple loves sports.

"I thought she was pulling my chain and was going to suggest other names," he said. "But then he came and she was still for it. Even though the nurses would give me dirty looks and turn to my wife and say, 'His name, please?' "

A Glitch in the Matrix: In 2000, a year after the first Matrix movie took theaters by storm, there were 113 boys named "Neo" and another five named "Morpheus," apparently in honor of the characters portrayed by Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.

In the years after the movie, Trinity — the name of the female lead character, played by Carrie-Anne Moss — became one of the fastest-growing names for girls, tripling between 1999 and 2000 to 4,553. Even though the Matrix sequels met with disappointment, another 5062 Trinitys entered this unreality we call Earth. It's now the 57th most popular name for girls. Ten years ago, it was No. 951. Keanu's Hawaiian Punch: Reeves' popularity abroad actually caused a naming controversy in Austria, where parents aren't allowed to invent names. Parents who want to give their child a truly unusual name must prove that it once belonged to another person.

When one Austrian couple wanted to name their son after the actor, officials objected, thinking Keanu was just a stage name. But, after doing some research, they discovered the name relates to the actor's Hawaiian ancestry.

Fortunately, we Americans are free to name our children whatever we want. We don't have to answer to our government, but we will have to answer one day to our adult children. If the Apple doesn't fall very far from the tree, Paltrow will certainly be happy.

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Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.

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