Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A note for our website visitors

As you may have noticed, we have not used this site very much this year, even though our annual festivities have begun over at Deadspin. If you're just checking in for the first time, there's still plenty of opportunities to help us choose the 2019 Name of the Year. The first half of the second round is open right now. Go forth and check out the polls.

The reason why we're distributing via Deadspin rather than over here is that the Blogger platform on which this website is built is badly outdated and incompatible with many modern design formats, which makes the process of gathering research, posting polls, and including images unnecessarily difficult. We're in the progress of transferring over to a new platform and are still looking for anyone who may want to help us with that transfer. If you are, email us at nameoftheyear@gmail.com and we may contact you after the business of deciding the 2019 Name of the Year is complete.

In the meantime, expect all of this year's polls and posts to be published via Deadspin. The first of the two links included above will update as the rounds progress. And of course you can follow us on Twitter for updates.

We apologize for the inconvenience that we may have caused within your RSS readers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Our High Committee Winner, And Votes To Come

Hi. Remember us? As you may recall, many months ago you crowned Canadian hockey player Jimbob Ghostkeeper as your Name of the Year. It was an excellent choice. In fact, if you ask me, young Jimbob possessed the best name in our entire 2018 field.

But my opinion is not the only one that matters in the world of NOTY. Our High Committee consists of more than a dozen individuals, all of whom have their own tastes. Some of us swoon over names that reference pop culture. For others, the mellifluous sound of a well-metered name is paramount. Still more of us are unable to resist the pull of a name that sounds like it was invented in a boys’ locker room.

Despite our varying preferences, we attempt to reach a annual consensus on who we feel deserves the Name of the Year crown. The naminee chosen by our High Committee vote is no less of a champion than the one selected by all of you. In our archive, the two winners live side by side in onomastic harmony.

This year’s High Committee vote came down to a tight three-way finish. Would Jimbob Ghostkeeper achieve the rare People’s Choice-High Committee double, as did Vanilla Dong in 2007 and Shamus Beaglehole in 2014? Would Salami Blessing ride the top overall seed to victory, just like Kobe Buffalomeat did last year? Or would Dr. Narwhals Mating reach the point of climax despite the controversy surrounding his name change?

Ultimately, after receiving the most overall points in our advanced scoring system and receiving the most first-place votes from our Committee, it was Salami Blessing, a recent engineering school graduate from Nigeria, who came out on top.

That Ms. Blessing would win the High Committee voting despite already claiming the honor of our top overall seed speaks to her drive and ambition. She recently picked up a degree in chemical engineering from Covenant University, located outside of Lagos. During the 2014-15 school year, her GPA was an eye-popping 4.64, a figure that speaks to her skill as a student.

She was able to maintain her high grades thanks to her dedicated study habits. She often spent long hours in the library, driven by her passion for engineering and her desire to make a name for herself. In an interview with the publication Punch, she said she would like to follow in the footsteps of Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian business magnate who is the richest Black person in the world.

“What really kept me going were prayers, purpose, dedication and sustained commitment and determination,” she said, regarding her approach to schoolwork. “I had the drive and discipline to tackle any task with enthusiasm and determination.”

Here at NOTY, we love Ms. Blessing’s attitude -- and her name. Her handle evokes encased Italian meats, old-school network dramas, and miracles descending from on high. We send our congratulations to her on her victory, and we hope she will achieve the big things she has planned for her life.


Last year's High Committee winner has been decided, but there are still many more names to chew on, debates to debate, and votes to come. We'll be back shortly with news on the 2019 bracket. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jimbob Ghostkeeper Is Your 2018 Name of the Year

Here at NOTY, it’s axiomatic that a truly great name has it going both ways. Just look at the Hall of Name: Assumption Bulltron, Nimrod Weiselfish, Tanqueray Beavers, Princess Nocandy, Vanilla Dong, Destiny Frankenstein. And we haven’t inducted a new class in a while, so no Barkevious Mingo, Taco B.M. Monster, Nohjay Nimpson or last year’s winner, Kobe Buffalomeat. First name and surname, front and back, top and bottom. These great names bring it every which way. 

Your 2018 Name of the Year does too. With surprising ease, Canadian hockey player Jimbob Ghostkeeper waffleboarded away Dr. Narwhals Mating in the championship final, racking up a whopping 57 percent of the more than 7,500 votes cast.

Let’s start with the champ’s surname. Ghostkeeper is a 1981 Canadian horror movie in which unseemly things happen to a trio of snowmobilers stranded in an abandoned ski lodge in the Rockies. The plot is loosely based on a Native folklore tale. That make sense because Ghostkeeper is an English translation of a Cree Métis name, Kanachakhtwin, or “keeper of the spirits.” Ghostkeeper also is a Calgary band fronted by Shane Ghostkeeper. He was asked about his family name in a 2010 interview

“There’s a few stories going around,” Ghostkeeper says. “One anthropologist lady where we grew up said it refers to the fact that there are medicine men in my family. It’s been a long line, and it keeps getting passed down, and it has to do with having knowledge of ceremonies that are used to conduct communications with the other entities that exist among us, the spirits. 
“But one of the funny stories that my dad and his family like to tell is that his great-grandpa, in a Métis settlement area called Kathleen, north of Edmonton, was known for taking care of the graveyard, so they called him ‘Ghostkeeper’ as a nickname—and then his kids took it on as a legal last name.”

Cool etymology either way. But Jimbob? What’s Jimbob doing there? Plenty. First, kudos for the closed compound, bucking the traditional two-word construction. Second, there’s a complementary dissonance between “Jimbob” and Ghostkeeper” that makes the name pop, and it also scans nicely when spoken. Finally, while the first name sounds Southern, you can find it in Canada, where Bob's your uncle and Jim Bob might be too.

So add Jimbob Ghostkeeper to the list of famous JBs: Jim Bob Duggar, patriarch of that TV family with 19 kids, one of whom molested some of his sistersthe hyphenated Jim-Bob Walton, the youngest son on the 1970s TV show about a Depression-era rural Virginia family that spawned the catchphrase "Goodnight, John-Boy"; and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who told the Detroit Free Press in 2015, “I'm from Tennessee and I’m from pretty southern Tennessee. I mean, it’s on down there pretty good. There’s a lot of people with two names. A lot of spaces out there in my classroom growing up.”

A lot of spaces out there. That's fantastic. Up in in Alberta, though, no space for Jimbob—or possibly JimBob, depending on whether you find the 2018 Name of the Year playing for the Midget A Rangers of Fort Saskatchewan or the Steelhounds of the Edmonton Non Contact Hockey League. If this is out winner—and we really hope it is because he loves hockey and baseball and believes Joey Chestnut is the greatest athlete of all time*—then based on the initials we conclude lowercase. In any event, Ghostkeeper apparently is a big guy who, per this thread on a Canadian hockey forum, isn’t afraid to swap knuckles

Native, and now champion.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and to our friends at Deadspin for cohosting the tournament. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @NOTYtourney and submit your 2019 nominees to nameoftheyear@gmail.com. Until next year, good night, Jimbob.

*Update: It is him. Jimbob didn't respond to our DM on Twitter, but he did email Deadspin:
Hey guys, thanks for the best name of 2018! Hahaha never knew I was even nominated 
- Jb Ghostkeeper 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

2018 Name of the Year Final: Jimbob Ghostkeeper v. Dr. Narwhals Mating

For one of the two men who have made it to this year's Name of the Year final, destiny awaits. 

By this time next week, Canadian hockey player Jimbob Ghostkeeper or California family practitioner Dr. Narwhals Mating will be etched in NOTY lore. By navigating another wildly competitive field, the 2018 winner will join an exclusive club—one that brings deserved glory, but also reflects the weight of owning a spectacular name.

First let’s recap paths our finalists took through the bracket. Ghostkeeper, who played a few games for the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers midget AA hockey team in Alberta, tore through the Bulltron Regional like a winger on a breakaway. The No. 2 seed skated past, in order, Travis-Couture Lovelady, Dr. Dimple Royalty, Mosthigh Thankgod, No. 1 Salami Blessing, and, in the Final Four, Makenlove Petit-Fard.

Handicappers—literally the sports book Pinnacle—had Dr. Mating as the favorite to win it all. Seeded No. 1 in the Chrotchtangle Regional, the doctor (whose original name, we’ve learned, was Raymond Rex Spisak) took care of Clinton Bacon, Mahogany Loggins, Beau Titsworth, and Gandalf Hernandez. His Final Four opponent, Delicious Peters, was a light lunch.

The winner of this championship throwdown will earn more than just an inside track to the Hall of Name. Our 2010 co-winner, Australian rules footballer Steele Sidebottom, generated headlines around the globe. A year after his 2014 title, English soccer coach Shamus Beaglehole turned up in a crossword puzzle by New York Times contributor Brendan Emmett Quigley. Ooh, 36 Across, we think we know that one.

But possessing a name strong enough to earn these laurels can be a burden. Consider 2008 co-champ and former Kansas softball star Destiny Frankenstein. In a recent article in the Tulsa World about the family name, Destiny’s father, Wes, said that schoolmates asked to see the bolts in his neck and made endless references to Young Frankenstein. “You just get tired of the class clowns,” Wes said. “They really rode it hard.”

Destiny said she didn’t experience the same level of schoolyard teasing. In fact, she campaigned openly during her NOTY run. “I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they thought I could beat them up, but I never beat anyone up,” Destiny said. “I was a softball player, and softball players have big muscles apparently.” 

But then Destiny met and married a fellow Oklahoman named Steven King—yes, Destiny Frankenstein married Steven King—and opted to take his surname. Destiny told the paper she’s still proud of the Frankenstein name but was happy to trade it for something shorter. 

We're not worried about Jimbob Ghostkeeper or Dr. Narwhals Mating ditching their monikers. After all, Dr. Narwhals Mating changed his name to Dr. Narwhals Mating. And who wouldn’t want to be named Jimbob Ghostkeeper?

Vote for one of them below, and follow us on Twitter

Thanks to Evan Gregory of the Gregory Brothers for filling in the bracket each round. And to our friends at Deadspin for hosting.


#2 Jimbob Ghostkeeper vs. #1 Dr. Narwhals Mating

Friday, April 20, 2018

2018 Name of the Year: The Final Four

We've come a long way since we set our field of 64. Over the past few weeks, Tuna Altuna has been canned, Corky Boozé has been bottled up, Lola Honeybone has been broken, and Genuine Potts has been flushed. We’re down to our Final Four: Jimbob Ghostkeeper, Makenlove Petit-Fard, Delicious Peters, and Dr. Narwhals Mating.

All of the name-inees we select for our yearly celebration theoretically possess the exact same chance to claim the title. NOTY prognosticators, however will tell you that some names are worth paying attention to from the start, while others don’t stand much of a chance of passing the first round (sorry, Clinton Bacon.) It’s the same logic that gets applied to the NCAA tournament each year: Any team could win any game, but we all know a 16-seed will never beat a one.

This was a pretty good year for predictive NOTY analysis. Two of the names that ended up in the Final Four, Dr. Mating and Mr. Petit-Fard, were the top seeds in their respective regionals and were clear favorites to advance this far. Jimbob Ghostkeeper, seeded on the two-line, was no slouch either. It became clear that the Canadian minor-league hockey player would make a deep run after multiple people changed their Twitter display names to match his.

Even Delicious Peters, a nominal underdog as a nine-seed, was easy to spot as this year’s Cinderella. When we introduced our 2018 bracket via Deadspin, commenters picked out Peters as one of their favorites. If you don't find that to be a telling measure, consider that last year's Deadspin commenter favorites included Boats Botes, the eventual People’s Champion.

You may agree with our assessment that these names were destined for greatness or you may accuse us of playing Quindarious Monday Morning Quarterback, but no matter what, you now can put your money where your mouth is. The English bookmaker Pinnacle is offering odds on Name of the Year. That's right, you can bet on NOTY. 

We weren't consulted, but the lines seem pretty accurate: in order, Mating, Petit-Fard, Ghostkeeper, Peters. Two more rounds of balloting will crown your 2018 Name of the Year. Bring us home by voting below. And, as always, follow us on Twitter for updates.


#2 Jimbob Ghostkeeper vs. #1 Makenlove Petit-Fard

#9 Delicious Peters vs. #1 Dr. Narwhals Mating

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

2018 Name of the Year: The Elite Eight

An elephant is sitting on your chest. You can barely breathe. 911. EMS. Stretcher, aspirin, nitroglycerin, oxygen mask. Stickers all over your chest. EKG. Screaming ambulance. A harried doctor approaches. You might be having a heart attack. We need to stick a wire into your heart.

Dr. Prospero Gogo,” he says. “Please consent for catheterization.” 

Another pill. Sleep. You wake under a warm blanket, groggy but pain free. Good news: You’re alive. Bad news: You need a bypass. A coiffed man in a long white coat strides into your fluorescent room. 

“Hi, I’m Dr. Loki Skylizard,” he says, “and I will be operating on your heart.”

Across the country, NOTY nominees are keeping America healthy. Dr. Loki Skylizard (NOTY 2014) is a cardiothoracic surgeon who changed his name as a child and stuck with it. Dr. Prospero Gogo (2017) is a cardiologist in Vermont. If Florida is your home, Dr. SkyHawk Fadigan (2013) might do your next pap smear. Lyme disease got you down in New Jersey? Paging infectious disease specialist Dr. Jihad Slim (1999).

As E.R. took off in the 1990s, so did physician NOTY nominees. Dr. Slim was joined by New York City pediatrician Dr. Barney Softness and then Brooklyn dentist Dr. Constant Jose. This decade has brought a rush of white coats: Dr. Speedy Nutz, Dr. Festus Dada, 2011 NOTY winner Dr. Taco BM Monster, Dr. Suparman Marzuki, Dr. Electron Kebebew, and this year’s No. 1 seed in the Chrochtangle Regional, Dr. Narwhals Mating.

The vivid imagery of Dr. Mating’s name—horny horned whales, the unicorns of the sea, copulating freely—contrasts his obscure origin. Narwhals Mating was first listed as a member of the Hennepin County (Minn.) Medical Society in 2000, when he graduated from University of Minnesota’s medical school. After a family-medicine residency in Wisconsin, Dr. Mating moved to California’s central valley, where he practices now.

This year wasn’t our first Narwhals sighting. A reader submitted his name in 2011, during a period of NOTY hiatus. When we did not respond, they wrote again, concerned that the good doctor was lost in a deluge of email. They weren’t wrong; the High Committee never considered his name. He was lost in the shuffle again in 2016. Finally, this year, Mating surfaced.

Your author, Steel, is the High Committee’s resident physician. He called Dr. Mating’s office for a peer-to-peer discussion of his onomastic origin. The doctor was out. But a public records search yielded news that Dr. Narwhals Mating used to be Raymond Rex Spisak.

Shudders? Horrors? Petitions for his removal? Nah. A legal name change is a legal name change. Precedent was established in the 1980s, when Birdie Africa and his family members (who were in involved in a crazy bombing by Philadelphia police) were welcomed to the ballot. Then came one Crescent Dragonwagon, the Hall of Name member who changed her name at age 16.  

So far, Dr. Mating has successfully operated on the 16, 9 and 4 seeds in the Chrotchtangle—Clinton Bacon, Mahogany Loggins, and Beau Titsworth. Of the five docs in the original field of 64, he is the last one standing. Will he slice open Gandalf Hernandez like his previous opponents? Or will the doctor be forced to hang up his stethoscope? Say ahhhh, and vote in all four Elite Eight match-ups below.

Thanks again to Evan Gregory for the updated bracket.



#1 Salami Blessing vs. #2 Jimbob Ghostkeeper


#1 Makenlove Petit-Fard vs. #2 Rev. Dongo Pewee


#9 Delicious Peters vs. #3 Quindarious Gooch


#1 Dr. Narwhals Mating vs. #10 Gandalf Hernandez

Friday, April 13, 2018

2017 Name of the Year: The Sweet Sixteen

Money, religion, and politics. Emily Post might suggest that they’re not to be discussed in polite company, because they’re likely to cause a squabble among even the most mild-mannered conversants. But then over the Easter ham or Passover brisket, your creepy uncle simply has to mention just this one thing he read online. Politifact rated it “Pants on Fire,” but he doesn’t care. You may know to ignore him, but a naive cousin or family friend might be less wise. Then suddenly tempers are flaring and you can feel your pulse behind your eyes. Feelings will get hurt. Relatives could become estranged. Kugle may be thrown.
So in today’s darker times, allow Name of the Year to serve as a beacon of fireproof pants. All of our names are real, submitted by our real-life readers, individually vetted and dissected by the high committee before being presented to the voting public for discussion and debate. We don’t allow Reddit-style resentment to muddle our view. So just as we do in our work of whittling hundreds of premium monikers down to 64, four-seed Chardonnay Beaver seeks to cut through emotional bias in her work as a mediator at Garfield High School.
“A lot of these issues are about unintentional or irrational reactions so my goal is to come in as a leader and just as a peer,” Beaver said in an interview with the Garfield Messenger. “So [I] come in and, you know, ‘What I hear you saying is this. Can you explain it to that person so they get a clearer view?’ Fixing misinterpretations so that they leave the meeting feeling good.”
Compared to the Fox News headlines-cum-White House tweets, such open-mindedness is refreshing. The most mature voices in room are now high schoolers like Beaver, who yearn to speak honestly about painful issues. Teenagers move us to march for our beliefs and change the world for the oppressed. And Name of the Year is proud to see our new leaders widely represented in this year’s Sweet Sixteen: Chardonnay Beaver, of course, but also Fruithandler one-seed Makenlove Petit-Fard, Bulltron three-seed Mosthigh Thankgod, and Chrotchtangle four-seed Beau Titsworth, among others. These youths represent the best of their generation not just in attitude, as above, but also in name, as you’re about to vote below.
With each post we remind you to follow us on Twitter, but this week we remind you to do so responsibly. Do not follow us on Twitter with malice and anger, like a certain orange president. Do not follow us on Twitter with deceit, like a certain 13-seed whose alleged threat to wallop a policeman was only misdirection. Instead, follow us on Twitter with kindness. Follow us on Twitter with an open mind. Follow us on Twitter with honesty or as Beaver might: with positivity. “If we just focus on the positivity and the energy of each other and we know how to act off of that, there are so many things we can do.”

Thanks to Evan Gregory for the Sweet Sixteen bracket above. Please vote below and, of course, remember to follow us on Twitter.



#1 Salami Blessing vs. #13 Miracle Crimes

#3 Mosthigh Thankgod vs. #2 Jimbob Ghostkeeper


#1 Makenlove Petit-Fard vs. #12 Dr. Megha Panda

#11 Covadonga del Busto Naval vs. #2 Rev. Dongo Pewee


#9 Delicious Peters vs. #4 Chardonnay Beaver

#3 Quindarious Gooch vs. #7 Candida Seasock


#1 Dr. Narwhals Mating vs. #4 Beau Titsworth

#3 Dr. Taekwondo Byrd vs. #10 Gandalf Hernandez