Friday, December 14, 2007

2008 NOTY Nominee No. 254

He was a member of the 2003 UCLA marching band and we heard about him a few days ago but postponed posting and now he is getting some play on the interwebs and we're very sorry for having waited.

We're not sure we'd go as far as Deadspin commenter Upstate Underdog. But here's what NOTY Committee Member TFH had to say when presented with our latest nominee:

Silence.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Let's Hope They're Packers Fans, Too

The riskiest thing about giving your kid a sports-related name is that sports are designed to let us down. Athletes aren’t heroes, they are fallible human beings. We watch them play and cheer and boo them wildly and genuflect at the altar of their physical gifts. But we really don’t know much about their underlying characters, and often find out too late. Some dad in Cincinnati in the 1970s proudly told his family and friends he was calling his new boy Pete or his little girl Rose because that No. 14 is a scrapper and a hustler. Every Kobe and Jordan and Barry and Wilt so named because of some irrational love for a man in a uniform—no doubt an O.J. or two was born in Buffalo circa 1972—couldn’t be blamed for changing his identity, or at least undergoing that procedure from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to erase the grade-school memories of their parents cutely recounting how they named junior after their favorite sports hero.

Are buildings a safer bet?

We ask because a couple of Chicago Cubs fans with the last name of Fields have chosen to name their newborn boy after a baseball stadium. Yes, Wrigley Alexander Fields was born on Sept. 12 to Paul and Teri Fields of Michigan City, Ind. Sadly, they had planned ``for years’’ to name their kid after a place known for ``colorful'' fans in the bleachers and a century of losing. Also view-obstructing poles and this guy and Sammy Sosa. OK, and ivy on the outfield walls and an authenticity rivaled only by that ``lyric little bandbox’’ (read: claustrophobic dump) alongside I-90.

If the Cubs make the playoffs and win the World Series, the Fields will have quite a story to tell young Wrigley some day. And if they blow it again? If they never win? If Wrigley Field is replaced, as it will be someday, by a luxury-boxed, wide-concoursed, corporate-named—Oops! It already is!—stadium with replacement ivy, and the building’s obituary begins with the fact that its occupants were the biggest losers in the history of sports? Then what?

Thanks to NOTY friend Dan Shanoff.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Meet the Mets

We've been away. But, like Frosty the Snowman, we'll be back again some day. And we'd like to thank you, dear readers, for the many names you've continued to deposit in our inbox, which we'll get to soon enough.

And, believe us, we're eager to resume our little graduate seminar in onomastics. We have felt remiss in not delivering an NFL season preview including emerging stars like Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby and Indianapolis Colts wideout Craphonso Thorpe, or a college look-ahead featuring Eastern Illinois linebacker Nick Nasti and Florida State recruit British Footman.

We've wanted to bring you the touching road stories of Canadian drunk driver Cash Dixon Ringo Starlight and Minnesota reckless driver Rarity Abdullah, who took his girlfriend and her four-month-old daughter for a ride on the hood of a speeding car. And we feel we have let you all down by failing to relate the heartwarming tale of little Tuesday Demargosian, whose grandfather held her photograph aloft at the San Diego ballyard to boldly--nay, defiantly--show support for an truly embattled icon. You stay classy, Barry Bonds.

Finally, since we love and encourage photographic validation, we'd like to recognize here NOTY's intrepid cellphone-camera correspondent, sports blogger Luke Halpert, who recently emailed us the above photo, which hails from the back of a box seat at Shea Stadium.

Ganga Mukkavilli. Break it down: Gang of Muck? Ganjaville? Any way you say it or parse it, it comes up strong. The only downside? A Mets fan.

Thanks to NOTY readers Jason, Roger, Goathair, Sean, Rich, Jason and Ryan.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hell Is for Children

With a few notable exceptions—our favorite being the Rev. Canaan Banana, a former president of Zimbabwe—you just don’t see many NOTY-worthy names breaking into senior management. Sports, yes, of course. Batter up, Destiny Frankenstein! A life of crimes petty and other? Your parole hearing will begin now, Free-King Afrika! Some combination of the two? Do they play shirts and skins in the joint, Reprobatus Bibbs?

On this complex societal issue, we believe most adults can take care of themselves. But when a child is involved? Our maternal hackles hackle. Consider the sad tale of a 5-year-old Aussie boy named Max Hell.

Max’s dad, Alex, attempted to enroll the little hellian at St. Peter Apostle Primary School in Melbourne. But the motherfu-, we mean the fathers wouldn’t accept him. Because of his name.

``I'm disappointed,'' Hell said. ``It's 2007, not 1407. I don't understand it, it's just a name.''

Just a name, Alex? Is Beelzebub just a name? This is the Catholic Church! It can't afford its good reputation regarding children sullied by some sort of public-relations scandal!

Alex Hell offered to change the boy’s name to Wembridge, his mother’s maiden name. The priests liked that idea. Then Alex consulted the NOTY Help Line, where he was told in no uncertain terms that Max Hell is a better name than Wembridge Hell. Actually, Alex Hell decided that his name is his name—he's of Austrian heritage and the name means ``light’’ or ``bright’’—and the priests could go to it.

The school withdrew Max’s spot in the class. About nine million Google hits later, it reconsidered and Max apparently is back in.

We have no idea whether Max is attending St. Peter Apostle or not. We do want the Hells to know, however, that their son has been admitted without prejudice to the Name of the Year Class of 2008.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Name of the Week: Elrazor Sharp v. Treazure R. Johnson

Convicted rapist Free-King Afrika blew the bard out of Othello Cheeks to win Name of the Week Week 9. In Week 10, an Elrazor goes near a Johnson. Careful!

Elrazor Sharp: He's a running back at Malone College of the Mid-States Football Association, an NAIA school in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We hadn't heard of it either.

At 5-10, 260, Elrazor isn’t built like a slasher. But the beef has never slowed him down, as he carved single-season team records for touchdowns (20) and points scored (120) at Minnesota West Community and Technical College before making the big leap to Malone.

He may have enrolled just to be in the company of other great names. Elrazor plays alongside the likes of Justin Jump, Shelby Santizo, Anthony Body, Kyle Slutz and the fearsome Kapostasy brothers, defensive back Cody and linebacker Kevin.

We love the El. Did his parents think ``Razor’’ alone wouldn’t be distinctive enough? Did they fear it might be too clichĂ©d even for NOTY? Were they friends of the family of Antwaan Randle El? Did they want to ensure their son a place alongside minor-league baseball name legend Razor Shines? Did they consider Elknife, Eltack or any of the sharp scales?

(Thanks to NOTY reader Amy.)

Treazure R. Johnson: It was big news in the legal world a couple years back when the one-name Washington, D.C. firm Venable LLP made a hire to grow its securities litigation and white-collar defense practices. As one of the venerable Venables put it:

``Treazure Johnson brings a formidable set of trial, enforcement and investigative credentials to our practice. ... Having led a number of high-profile prosecutions, Treazure adds major value to our securities litigation, white-collar defense and corporate governance work, all of which are critical to the firm.''

Treazure also brings a formidable name and major value to NOTY. Like her opponent this week, she's got an off-the-hook first name with a delectable spelling twist. Of course, we wonder what was wrong with the conventional spelling. As if Treasure wouldn't have been different enough? What were the Johnsons going for? A play on the color azure? NOTY immortality? (For the record, we envision a day when NOTY plays a role in baby-naming conversations everywhere.)

Treazure Johnson. It's a command! OK! The middle initial is a helpful reminder. We will treasure ours! An Asian middle name like ``Mai''—who doesn't love that video-game hottie—would have been overkill.

At the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division, Treazure was part of a team that successfully prosecuted Sunbeam Corp. and its chief, ``Chainsaw’’ Al Dunlap. She could be just the lawyer to help us unravel the greatest unsolved crime in NOTY history: the perfectly executed hoax that led to the election of Mummenschontz Bitterbeetle and Licentious Beastie as the 1994 and 1999 NsOTY and then to the Hall of Name—and finally to their banishment last year. (Separate post to follow someday soon.)

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Elrazor Sharp
Treazure R. Johnson
  
pollcode.com free polls

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You Talkin' To Me? Well, I'm the Only One Here.

When NOTY reader Luke Halpert, a young New York sports blogger and regular Deadspin commenter with the handle Cooler Than Warm Milk, emailed us the name Jean-Pierre Pierre, we weren’t impressed. Cute, but in a brave new world populated by the likes of Reprobatus Bibbs, Dominitrix Johnson and Destiny Frankenstein it’s going to take a lot more than a Haitian double Pierre to get on the NOTY ballot. But Luke included a link, and we clicked through, and it was a photo that he had savvily shot with us in mind, and our hearts took a bumpy ride down the potholed streets of the city that never sleeps.

When we hop into a New York City taxicab, we do two things. We tell the driver our destination and we look at his hack’s license, not necessarily in that order. Because there is no bigger smile than glancing through the bulletproof plexiglass and seeing a quality name.

We asked NOTY Committee Member TFH to describe how he felt when he saw below the photo of his cabbie of African descent the words

RAYMOND
EXCELLENT


which at the time, when the cabbie's last name appeared atop the first, translated to Excellent Raymond:

The feeling could be described as that of a card player after being dealt a straight flush. Or going through a bin of old LPs at a garage sale, seeing the typical Rush and Laura Nyro records you've seen in a thousand other bins, when suddenly the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose album you've been looking for since 1982 appears.

Beautifully said. From Marty Scorcese’s Taxi Driver to Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Andy Kaufman and Judd Hirsch’s ``Taxi!,’’ the New York cabbie has been a symbol: of fear, anger, striving, rage, silently suffering obnoxious asshole fares, reckless driving and the occasional autoerotic act. In his review of Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver, ur New Yorker Pete Hamill called the yellow-cab hack ``the most enduring oppressed minority in New York City history.’’

We couldn’t agree more. Which is why we’ve always given the cabbie a good tip, and his onomastic due. NOTY and the modern cabbie grew up together in the 1990s. In the couple of decades before, the American-born, Brooklyn-accented, weakly named Jewish and Irish driver’s-seat raconteurs were gradually replaced by a new generation of immigrant dreamers from Haiti, Senegal, Nigeria, Russia and Pakistan, many with serious NOTY chops.

Excellent Raymond has been by far our biggest taxicab score. For TFH, it holds the where-were-you-when power of the Kennedy assassination or the first lunar landing. ``It was 5:30 AM,'' he writes, ``and I hailed the cab on West 89th Street b/t CPW and Columbus. I was going to Lower Broadway to shoot the victory parade from the first Iraq War.’’ (Editor’s note: We don’t think he’ll have to endure that assignment again.) Soon after, Excellent Raymond—you can’t say one without the other—was elected the 1992 NOTY and then joined the inaugural class of the Hall of Name.

Naturally, other NYC cabbies have been nominated, too. There was Muhammad Muhammad. Diogenes Lopez. Innocent Adimeili. The appropriately named Hermon Hackshaw. And now Jean-Pierre Pierre.

Luke aka Cooler Than Warm Milk was cabbing it home from a Chinese restaurant near the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea when he realized who was driving. He was ``thinking that this was one of the great names of all time and about halfway through the cab ride I realized I should send this to you guys.'' For which we are eternally grateful.

That we don't love Pierre squared as much as Luke loves him is beside the point. What matters is the thrill Luke was lucky enought to experience. Because, sure, we could comb the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission's registry of drivers. But nothing compares with the full-body frisson of a chance encounter in the back of a cab.

(Top photo courtesy of New York Hack, the blog of cabbie Melissa Plaut, author of the forthcoming Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

`Fo’ Shizzle My Nizzle’ Should Work, Too

This just in to the NOTY Action News Room:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—New Zealand authorities have blocked a couple's bid to officially name their new son "4real," saying numerals are not allowed.

Pat and Sheena Wheaton said they decided to name their new baby "4real" shortly after having an ultrasound and being struck by the reality of his impending arrival.


We’re hoping that New Zealand's Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages comes to its senses and validates Baby 4Real. In case it doesn’t, the sheep-loving staff at Kissing Suzy Kolber took time off from hanging out with Michael Vick, tapping Roger Goodell’s phone, and very, very ably managing the Sarah Shahi fan club to brainstorm some solutions for the happy couple. Then they emailed them to us.

Fareal
Fa'Real
Phawreel (if it's a girl)
Dizzbereal
FourReal
IV'Real
NotFalse
ThenumberafterthreeReal
Pho Real (if of Vietnamese descent)
Fo Real
Iaintevenbullshittin

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Name of the Week: Free-King Afrika v. Othello Cheeks

After a brief early-summer hiatus, the NOTY Committee is tanned, rested and ready. When we last convened, Jeopardy! loser Tigger Jourard nipped Quebec hooper Manix Auriantal in an all-Canadian Name of the Week Week 8. This week, an all-courtroom NOTW.

Free-King Afrika: Back in 1985, a judge in New York state dropped 10 to 20 on one James Jenkins, AKA James Davis, for rape and sexual assault. Like other prisoners before him, he apparently decided to turn his life around. Not by finding God or keeping his nose clean. He set his sights higher still.

He set his sights on Name of the Year.

Yes, James Jenkins AKA James Davis changed his name in the joint. To Free-King Afrika.

Let’s try to parse the meaning. Is James Jenkins AKA James Davis saying he is the king of a free Africa? That Africa isn’t free? That the king of Africa should be freed? Is he speaking colloquially, and disrespectfully, about ``freaking Africa?'' Or is he perhaps alluding to one of the proposed origins of the name ``Africa,'' that it derives from the Greek word phrike, meaning ``cold and horror,'' and the prefix a-, or ``without''? Is Free-King Afrika saying he is now without horror?

To quote Little Carmine, this name is one mellifluous box. Free-King Afrika reminds us of former Philadelphia 76er World B. Free (above). Then you’ve got some Bernard King (right). And Bernard’s little brother, Albert King. You probably even have some Jimmy King from the Fab Five.

But wait, there’s more. You’ve got geography—an entire continent! (below)—and there’s nothing the NOTY Committee loves more than a little geography. Just ask L.A. St. Louis and Paris London, who finished one-two in the 1998 NOTY Tournament. Free-King recalls some classic NOTY nominees, like MOVE survivor Birdie Africa and African Grant.

Free-King Afrika also raises the time-tested malletheaded debate: Is a legally changed name a name by NOTY standards? The courts have ruled yes, and the precedent has come to be known as the Dragonwagon Doctrine, after beloved 1993 NOTY winner Crescent Dragonwagon. (It's also known in some quarters as the Thunderpussy Doctrine, but that’s a case we’ve yet to discuss.)

And we also have to wonder: Was underachieving James Jenkins AKA James Davis inspired to change his name by NOTY cellmates like Conceptualization Gibbs, 2007 NOTY No. 1 seed Intelligent Infinite Botts and the great Assumption Bulltron, who also was jailed in 1985? (Coincidence? We think not.)

We’ll probably never know. Because we've seen Mr. Afrika's picture. And we’ve inspected his record. And we've noted that he used a ``firearm'' and a ``knife/cutting instrument'' in the assault. And he was released in December. So we ain’t askin’.

Othello Cheeks: If there’s one guy with the stones to ask Free-King what inspired his name change, it just might be this week's other nominee. Othello is also in the legal system, but not for offing Desdemona. Our guy is the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed last week against New York City.

Like Free-King, Othello has game. In addition to the old candy-eating, rock-swiping, anthem-singing Sixers point guard Maurice Cheeks, our man also channels Othella Harrington and Ralph Sampson’s old running-mate, Othell Wilson, not to mention Ohio State’s own Othello Hunter, an NCAA NOTY favorite this spring .

Better still, our moor’s lawsuit arises under the civil rights law known as “Section 1983.” Perfectly sensible, since Cheeks, Doc, Toney and Moses led the 1983 Sixers to a 65-17 record and a Whiz-with-onions sweep of the Lakers in the finals.

(Thanks to NOTY readers Carolina and Ned.)

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Free-King Afrika
Othello Cheeks
  
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, June 8, 2007

It Was Either That or `Moby'

Yes, it arrived via an NOTY fan, via a chain email, already doctored. But you, dear reader, demand verification, and we supply it.

Charley Willard Horse Dick appears to have indeed been born to Dacia Tonasket and Brian Dick at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, Wash., on May 2, 2006.

We're a bit late, but happy first birthday, big fella.

(Thanks to NOTY reader Geoffrey.)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Name of the Week: Tigger Jourard v. Manix Auriantal

Candy Graham withstood the test of time and popped Rocky Cherry to win Name of the Week Week 7. This week, we're celebrating Victoria Day a bit late and Canada Day a bit early—not to mention the appearance of an ice-skating team from somewhere up there in the Stanley Cup finals—with this once-in-a-lifetime NOTW match-up of northern friends. So strap on your CCM's with the Tuuk blades, talk your way past the U.S. border guards despite your TB, and pick your favorite Canuck.

Tigger Jourard: The wonderful thing about Canadian No. 1 is that she got to be on Jeopardy! last month. The sad thing is that we don't have a transcript from the show to see whether her chat with Alex Trebek went anything like this:

AT: Our next contestant is a faculty administrative assistant at the University of Western Ontario. Please welcome Tigger Jourard!

(Applause.)

AT: So, Tigger, you're an adult, correct?

TJ: Yes, Alex.

AT: Then why do you allow yourself to be called by the name of the bouncy, orange, striped character introduced in Chapter 2, ``In Which Tigger Comes to the Forest and Has Breakfast,'' of
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne's lovable 1928 classic about Christopher Robin and the adorable gang from the Hundred Acre Wood?

TJ:

AT: Our next contestant is...


We can't find any explanation on the World Wide Highway for Tigger-the-trivia-whiz's name. But we're sure there's an endearing tale about the parents' love of all things Milne. Fitting, then, that their daughter grew up to be as clever as clever.

Well, almost as clever as clever. Tigger busted out in Final Jeopardy! on this question:

The largest art theft in U.S. history was at 1:24 a.m. on this date in 1990, while Boston slumbered after partying.

We had no idea either. Until we considered the city.

Manix Auriantal: Canadian No. 2 is a 6-2 guard for the Quebec Kebekwa of the American Basketball Association, the league that starts every season with 437 teams and ends with 12. Yes, the Quebec Kebekwa. That would be a phonetic spelling of Quebecois, or Quebeckers in English. Sort of. We think. We have learned, and are disappointed to report, that the loser of a name-the-team contest was the Jumping Frogs.

Manix played for NCAA Division II New York Institute of Technology, the Ulriken Eagles in Norway, and the Montreal Royal/Montreal Matrix of the ABA, and was cut from the Canadian national team. He was a 2006 ABA All-Star along with—we shit you not—former NBA player Armen (Armon) Gilliam, who's almost as old as we are, and none other than 2007 Homophobe of the Year Tim Hardaway.

We love Manix because he's old school. Most of you kids are too young to remember the cult detective show that we really, really hope is responsible for Manix's first name. We can only imagine how the concept pitch would be received in Hollywood today:

Armenian-American gumshoe. Regular guy. So regular his name is Joe. Joe Mannix. Fought in Korea. Bigtime PTSD. Army buddies want to kill him. Drives a big American-made convertible. And here's the clincher: He uses a lot of Armenian proverbs in conversation.

But enough about Mannix. Back to Manix. His family is from Haiti. Two of his three college-basketball-playing brothers are named Hennssy, who played for Wisconsin, and Rodwins, who preceded Manix at NYIT. (Sadly, the eldest is named Ralph.) Together, the Auriantals have been dubbed Quebec's ``first family of hoops.''

We're thinking of them as the first family of NOTY.

(Thanks to NOTY readers Mark and Michael.)

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Tigger Jourard
Manix Auriantal
  
pollcode.com free polls

Thursday, May 31, 2007

They Should Have Made Them Spell Each Other's Names

Since people were making book on the National Spelling Bee, prognosticating about the National Spelling Bee and extensively live-blogging the National Spelling Bee, we felt obligated to select the 2007 NOTY NSB All-Name Team. No Anurag’s this year, but plenty of euonyms.

Anqi Dong: Prefers to be addressed by his nickname, A-Rod.

Alex Warman: Stayed in Washington after Bee to begin job as spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Second-round exit means he should fit in well in the administration.

Vaibhav Vavilala: Goes by ``Vibe.’’ (She does.) We can't stop saying her last name. Vavilala, Vavilala, Vavilala. Richard Lewis wants to borrow it for his mantra.

Jessie Ding: Heard the Bee bell early. Now has to live with that sound forever.

Haley Annal: Because you have to be a little Annal to make it to the National Spelling Bee.

Shoman Kasbekar: Desperately wanted to hook up with fellow competitor Priyanka Shome.

Jasmine Shaquielle O'Neal Willis: Really. No, really.

Blessing Raclobao: We've got no joke, because we're completely flabbergasted that s/he actually failed to spell the word ``adjective.’’

Emma Manning: Bombed out in the fifth round, the Bee equivalent of the AFC Championship Game, so she clearly can’t spell the big one. We predict, however, that next year Manning will appear in a lot of commercials and finally win it all.

Honorable Mention: Forrest Lamb, Kyle Rogacion, Justin Song, Brandon Whitehead, Rachel Money, Chester Yap, Sierra Willoughby, Austin Tamutus.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nomen Est Alleged Crack Dealer

Nomen est omen, the Romans said. Name is destiny. We’ve wondered whether people named Thankgod, Laughter, Excellent and Goodluck have a leg up on the rest of us. Or whether the threat of character eventually betraying name—what we like to call a ``reverse gloat’’—is just too powerful. Then we met former North Alabama basketball star Reprobatus Bibbs and our world turned upside down.

Let’s get the rest of the Latin out of the way first. Probatus is the past participle of probare, ``to try, test, prove’’ or (the meaning we’re looking for here) ``prove to be worthy.’’ Reprobatus is the past participle of reprobare, a combination of re, ``reversal of previous condition,’’ and probare. The English word reprobate traces to 1432, meaning to disapprove. The more modern meanings appeared later: in 1545, ``one rejected by God’’; in 1592, an ``abandoned or unprincipled person.’’ In contemporary lexicons, a reprobate is someone who is morally corrupt or foreordained to damnation.

So why not just name your kid Lucifer? Or Beelzebub? Or (insert Church Lady voice here) Satan? The parents of Reprobatus Bibbs might as well have done that—though we can’t find a story explaining why Cleveland and Frances Bibbs chose to name their only son Reprobatus. The only possible positive spin that we can find comes from a 13th century book called The Golden Legend. Bear with us while we relate the story.

A giant from Canaan named Reprobatus wants to work for the most powerful dude on earth. When he sees his employer, an omnipotent king, making the sign of the cross for protection from the devil, he goes to work for Satan. When he discovers that Satan is afraid of Christ, he goes in search of Christ.

One day, Reprobatus is sitting by a river when a kid asks for help getting across. As Reprobatus starts walking, ``he feels the waves rising, darkness overcomes him and the child [gets] heavier and heavier.’’ Freaked out, Reprobatus prays to Christ and the waters calm. When they reach the other side, the kid tells Reprobatus he had made himself heavy because he’s actually God. To prove it, he has Reprobatus stick his wooden staff in the ground. The next day, it bears leaves and fruit.

So to call their kid Reprobatus, the Bibbses would have to have been Bible scholars. Possible, yes. But still. When it comes to picking a name, it’s best to consider the modern meaning over an obscure 13th century reference.

The result of this choice was a Garden of Eden tale. Repro—and that’s what he was called, Repro, which brings to mind the voice of Astro from The Jetsons—started off innocent and pure. In high school in Courtland, Ala., he was first-team all-state in basketball and honorable mention all-state in football. In 1999, his high school teams won state championships in both sports, and the basketball team repeated in 2000. Repro's basketball coach said he was the best athlete he ever coached. After attending a junior college in Florida, Repro came home to play for North Alabama. As a junior, the 5-11 guard hit three last-second game-winning shots. As a senior, he averaged 15.5 points per game.

Then, with just a few games left in the 2005-06 season, the apple fell. During a year-long sting operation, Reprobatus allegedly sold crack and pot to undercover cops. At his girlfriend’s apartment one day, the cops called to make a buy. When they showed up, Reprobatus flushed drugs down the toilet, the police said, but two grams of crack and digital scales were found inside a 1996 Chevy Caprice. Reprobatus was charged with four counts distributing crack, possession of crack and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Our information on Reprobatus ends there. The local papers in Alabama haven’t written about him since. We checked a registry of Alabama inmates and the only Bibbs currently incarcerated is an Erline (who did something very bad; she's in until 2051). So maybe the charges against Reprobatus were dropped. Maybe he’s free on bail awaiting trial. Maybe he served his time. We don’t know, but something tells us the news isn’t good. How could it be? You wouldn’t be wrong to think that fate ordained that the son of Cleveland and Frances—and brother of Verenda, Stella and Veronica—one day would fail, one day had to fail, to live up, or down, to his name. Nomen est omen, baby, nomen est omen.

(Thanks to NOTY reader Rob.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mmmmmmm... Haggis

The NOTY Committee is taking a break from the year-round, round-the-world business of recruiting quality name talent.

Until we return (next week), here's a fix of some recently declared candidates for oh-eight.

Queena Flomp Traggis: Echoes of 2004 NOTY third-place finisher Queena Formica. This Queena's active in the Hellenic Society of Lowell (Mass.). Her first name is a derivative of Queen. Here middle name apparently is the sound of a falling cat. And her last name? We can't get haggis out of our mind.

Boone Bugger: We're told the Northern Illinois infielder pronounces it ``booger,'' which would make him a quality pick.

Booker Woodfox: If basketball doesn't work out for the Creighton University shooting guard, he's got a marquee-ready name. We're thinking either porn or the next Mod Squad remake.

Darwin Mushrush IV: This suburban Philly high-school basketball player may not know it, but he's part of a proud family that traces its roots on these shores to the late 1700s. In the interest of improving Mushrush genealogical efforts, we'd like to point out that neither Darwin IV, Darwin III, Darwin Jr. nor Darwin Sr. are on the apparently not-so-definitive Mushrush Cousins Mailing List.

NOTY: Bringing Mushrushes Together.

(Thanks to a bunch of NOTY readers.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Name of the Week: Candy Graham v. Rocky Cherry

Mackintosh Muggleton surprised the oddsmakers—but not the film critics—to win Name of the Week Week 6 in a close decision over Nigerian politician Goodluck Jonathan. This week, we're getting a bowl cut, pulling on our tie-dyed bellbottoms and breaking out the Hot Wheels with a couple of names that would have been sure hits in our 1970s elementary school.

Candy Graham: NOTY regrets to inform its readers of the untimely passing last week of Candy Graham of Fort Wayne, Ind. She was 74.

Candy was a successful businesswoman—a bank president in Bowling Green, Ohio—at a time when that surely wasn't easy. She was a board member of the Girl Scouts, business groups and art museums. She was president of the Salesian Club and went to church.

She was an upstanding citizen.

To whom other people, upon learning her name, no doubt had one universal reaction:

Land shark.

(Thanks to NOTY reader Polly.)

Rocky Cherry: Welcome to The Show, Rocky—and we don't mean Major League Baseball.

The 27-year-old right-handed relief pitcher was promoted to the big club last month by the Chicago Cubs. He went 1-1 with a 2.89 earned-run average in eight appearances before he was sent to Triple-A last week. (The Cubs organization, by the way, has its share of good names, including Felix Pie, Angel Pagan and Buck Coats.)

Yes, Rocky is our nominee's real name. As he told MLB.com:

``The funny story is that my dad's name is Pat and my uncle's name is Jan,'' Cherry said. ``They're both names that could be girl's names. When they grew up they got pretty tough because people were making fun of them.

``When I was born, my uncle's idea was, `Let's name him something tough,' like that song `A Boy Named Sue.' That's what they named me, and that's what on the birth certificate.''


Like that song ``A Boy Named Sue''? Huh? We read Johnny Cash's lyrics, and Rocky's right about the concept—``I give ya that name and I said goodbye/I knew you'd have to get tough or die''—but his experience is actually the opposite. He wasn't named Sue or Dana or Dolores. He was named Rocky. Two months after the release of Rocky II.

``I've heard every joke from `Yo, Adrian,' to `Rocky Balboa' to `Rocky and Bullwinkle'—you name it, I've heard it,'' he said. ``I enjoy it now, and it's a good name for my personality.''

The MLB.com reporter then figured he'd throw Rocky a curve. Did he know that his name sounds like an ice-cream flavor? Haha!

``I've heard that one, too,'' he said. ``I've heard some other ones that I probably can't mention.''

We can.

(Thanks to NOTY Committee Member Jay Gatzby offspring Jordan.)

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Candy Graham
Rocky Cherry
  
pollcode.com free polls

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We're on TV Again! (Don't Blink)

We watch three things on the picture box: HBO's shows about the New Jersey and Hollywood mafias, and Comcast SportsNet's show about the blogging mafia. We know which one people will still be watching 20 years from now.

That, of course, would be ``Blog Show'' starring Jamie Mottram of Mr. Irrelevant and Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog. We were honored to be part of Episode No. 9 yesterday, as we were to be featured on Episode No. 2 a few weeks back.

Friday, May 18, 2007

She Is Not a Fronkensteen

We asked our good friend Big Daddy Drew of Kissing Suzy Kolber to give us the nuts and bolts on a lock No. 1 seed in the 2008 Name of the Year Tournament. Welcome to NOTY, Drew.

In your lifetime, you will never encounter a name as grossly incongruous as Destiny Frankenstein. Unless you know someone named Aphrodite Buttfungus, or Petunia Mudhole, or Diamond Shithog. This blog has taught us that isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

But Destiny Frankenstein is likely to remain one of the more ill-fitting names in human history. The Broken Arrow, Okla., native (bad John Woo movie alert!) was first discovered by the intrepid Will Leitch of Deadspin (who has name issues of his own; fucking Illinois bloodsucker). Destiny was an All-American shortstop for the Kansas Jayhawks softball team and played semi-pro softball last year for the National Pro Fastpitch champion New England Riptide. (Suggested slogan: ``They’ll pull you under!!!’’) She’s also a former academic All-American, a good Christian, a loyal teammate and by all accounts one heckuva nice person. Why, people should steal her brain!

In reality, she should be named Janet Nicelady, or Lisa Lionheart, or something else that connotes her inherent goodness. That’s the name she deserves. Instead, she’s stuck with the preferred first name of a stripper trying to forge a new identity after fleeing an abusive fiancĂ©, and the last name of an unhinged scientist willing to play God and stitch together dead body parts for the sake of his own legacy. It’s also the name of a really shitty Kenneth Branagh remake. And yes, her last name is pronounced that way. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Yet Destiny seems remarkably mature about having such a crummy moniker. In an interview with the Boston Globe last year, she said, ``Well, it helps you remember me.’’ You can say that again. It’s not often you come across a name that makes you shout out, ``Holy fucking shit, that’s a weird name!’’ Destiny has taken heckling from opposing fans with a grain of salt and even laughs when ``Monster Mash’’ is played for her PA music.

And I think there’s something to be learned in this. Destiny doesn’t seem to mind if you think she has a silly name. In fact, she gets a little kick out of it. How many 22-year-olds are this amicably self-deprecating? Not many. So here’s to you, Destiny. A very strong Name of the Year candidate, and a young woman worthy of recognition regardless of her patently ludicrous given name.

``I've learned to just have fun with it,’’ Frankenstein told the Globe. ``What's really cute is that kids don't know what Frankenstein is, so their parents will be laughing, and they'll be like, `huh?’ ’’

Yes, that’s children in New England for you. Undereducated and damn near brain dead. It seems Destiny Frankenstein will have the last laugh on them all.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Everybody's Working Fer the Weekend

He has a theme song.



He has mad football skills, according to his coach at South Houston High School, a former NFL player and college coach named C.L. Whittington (who was fired from a college job for allegedly hitting two players).

``I coached Michael Strahan and he’s so far ahead of Michael right now. ... I’ve seen a lot of athletes in my time and he’s one of the best all-around athletes I’ve coached.''

He has a lock on a top-three seed in the 2008 NOTY Tournament.

He is Weekendfer Saurit.

Weekendfer comes to us courtesy of the great college football blog Everyday Should Be Saturday. When names like his cross the NOTY transom, we usually go the extra mile, unearthing onomastic news you can use: a bizarre parental explanation, a heartwarming story of teenage stupidity, a sociological treatise.

With Weekendfer, we're stumped. We've been able to learn that he's 6-0, 275 pounds and runs a 4.7 40; that he plays soccer well; that he puts the shot far; that he plays defensive line, linebacker, running back and special teams; that he has good grades; and that he is being recruited by Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Houston and other schools.

But when it comes to his name, pretty much bupkis. Texas Football tells us that his name is ``unique.'' No shit! And that Weekendfer is ``of Venezuelan descent.'' But we're pretty sure that ``Weekendfer'' isn't Spanish for ``Jeff.'' And when we Google ``weekendfer,'' we get nothing but the EDSBS post, box scores, college recruiting lists, typos for ``weekender'' and Scandinavian travel deals. We've seem a lot of strange names in our day, and a lot of strange derivations of names, but our imagination isn't powerful enough to conjure what could have prompted Weekendfer.

So consider this an NOTY plea. To football writer Robert Avery at Houston Community Newspapers, to the Houston Chronicle reporter in his late 20s who was sure he'd be covering the Astros by now but is still stuck on high schools, to editor Raul Zavaleta and his staff at The Trojan Torch of South Houston High: Get to the bottom of Weekendfer Saurit.

(Thanks to NOTY friend Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hello, Mullah. Hello, Dadullah.

Our love of international affairs goes way back. Who could forget the scorecard of foreign terror hits on the dorm-room refrigerator? (The Party of God won every year.) So it’s no surprise when the Name of the Year ballots fill with Sitholes, Dongs, Wangs and Wongs, and other imports.

When we learned of the death of fundamentalist badass Mullah Dadullah, our first inclination, of course, was to nominate him. He had a little bit of Understanding Allah (14th place in the 2000 NOTY Tournament). And a lot of Abdul Abdullah (1994 nominee). And, covering the terror angle, he even had a little Dr. Jihad Slim (13th place in 1999). Plus, you had the amazing photo and unimpeachable verification on page fucking one of the New York fucking Times. And his beard rocks.

Most important, he was a spiritual heir to NOTY all-stars like Hall of Name inductee Honka Monka, Shula Hula, Chester Kamenester and the legendary Clinton Hinton. In 1985, Hinton triggered a great constitutional debate over the value of rhyming names. ``Normal first name. Normal last name,’’ NOTY Committee Member White Moses said at the time. ``If Clinton Hinton wins Name of the Week, I’m nominating Gary Hinton.’’ Whatever. Mulla Dadullah is no Gary Hinton.

Then, like the Middle East itself, things got more complicated. When we finally extended our attention past the photo—which looks like performance art to us—the Times reported that Dadullah, killed by Afghan and American security forces near Kandahar, wasn't just any terrorist. He was one of the world’s most prolific killers.

Mullah Dadullah [was] thought to be responsible for ordering numerous assassinations of clerics, government officials and health and education workers, as well as kidnappings and beheadings, including of foreigners. The intelligence officials said he was responsible for training and sending scores of suicide bombers to Afghanistan.

Hey, we don’t need no stinkin’ fatwa. And we don’t want to appear to be taking a position on ethnic strife halfway across the world. We’re only about the names.

So we crossed ourselves. Whispered a Kaddish. Recited the Omm’a Givens. And decided to abide by our principles and nominate Mullah.

Then we double-checked the name. Mullah, we learned, is just his title.

So Dadullah might be headed to Allah. But not to NOTY.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Name of the Week: Mackintosh Muggleton v. Goodluck Jonathan

To no one's surprise, Xzavie Jackson treated Spicer Bell like a living-room Scrabble player to capture Name of the Week Week 5. Facing off in Week 6: a child actor and a Nigerian politician.

Mackintosh Muggleton: No gimmickry here. Just good old-fashioned fey British snootsiness. In American, Mackintosh Muggleton (the tyke on the far left) sounds like the name of a clownishly evil cartoon character. In English, it sounds like a parody of a caricature of a Victorian schoolboy. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry meets Mary Poppins.

Mackintosh Muggleton—you can’t write one without the other—is a kid actor making his debut in 28 Weeks Later, in which post-apocalyptic flesh-eating zombies in London finish the work they started in 28 Days Later. Rolling Stone calls the movie ``a sequel that doesn’t suck.’’ Mackintosh Muggleton, the magazine says, plays his part ``without an ounce of bogus cuteness.’’

Some reviewers are even taking note of the high quality of Mackintosh Muggleton’s name. And that of his on-screen sister, the worthy Imogen Poots (above, middle). This is CNN:

Tammy (the splendidly named Imogen Poots) is a teenager with pale, wary eyes. At 12, her brother Andy (the even more splendidly named Mackintosh Muggleton) is Britain's youngest resident.

We love that, when writing about things British, American writers use British-sounding words like ``splendid’’

(Thanks to NOTY readers Nate and David.)

Goodluck Jonathan: We’ve always had a soft spot for the aesthetically pleasing name stylings of English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. How can you not respect people whose parents have shunned bland Anglo appellations like Phil or Kevin and rolled the dice with names reflecting the rapture or mystery of birth, regardless of what the future might hold? What if Thankgod Amaefule turned out to be an atheist? If Laughter Chilembe were a manic depressive? If Have-a-Look Dube went blind? If Givemore Manuella didn't pay child support? Two of the 15 members of the Hall of Name reflect our love for this tradition: Excellent Raymond and Largest Agbejemison.

Comes now this week’s NOTW nominee. Goodluck Jonathan bears some notable name trademarks. He’s got a creatively compound first name, a la Thankgod. He’s got a first name for a last name. And he’s a full sentence.

So far, Goodluck has been living up to his name. He's a state governor in Nigeria’s oil-rich south. In two weeks, he is to be sworn in as the country's vice president. He survived an apparent assassination attempt last month during elections marred by violence and accusations of fraud against his ruling People’s Democratic Party. Afterward, he ducked out of the country to visit Harvard ``to prepare him for the challenges ahead.’’

In a story about oil, corruption, violence and failed promise in Nigeria, the Baltimore Sun talked to Goodluck in December:

``Government is all about providing services to the people,'' Gov. Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State, said as he relaxed on a sofa at his luxurious, marble-adorned official residence. ``That is our commitment. Any money that gets into our hands is for the people.''

Last fall, Nigeria’s anticorruption commission seized $13.5 million from Goodluck’s wife, Patience Jonathan, ``after she allegedly laundered the money through an associate.''

(Thanks to NOTY reader Fritz.)

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Mackintosh Muggleton
Goodluck Jonathan
  
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, May 11, 2007

The God Delusion, Resolved

When God Shammgod was nominated for Name of the Year back in 1996, we didn’t give him much respect. His name was already suffering from media overexposure and, in truth, we thought it was a contrivance.

In that pre-bracket era, there were just 11 names on the NOTY ballot, and voting was limited to whoever showed up for the NCAA regional semifinal at our one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. God finished dead last, the only nominee not to receive a single vote. The winner was Honka Monka, whose name we verified by dialing her home in Queens. (Actual dialogue: ``Is Honka there?’’ ``No. Who’s calling?’’ ``It’s Paul.’’) Johnny Economy, Esther Sylvester, Lloyd Mangaroo, DeJuan Wheat, a descendant of Godfrey Sithole—they all outpolled God.

In addition to having a basketball move named for him, God has, of course, become a name legend on the information superwebs. Around NCAA time, he’s cited in just about every all-name post. And whenever he pops up again, we feel a little guilty for disrespecting his name back in the day.

This morning, we got a chance to make it up to God, courtesy of Alan Paul, who writes a column about living in China for The Wall Street Journal’s website.

God is 30 now. He’s been playing in China, among other basketball paradises (Poland, Saudi Arabia), since he: missed a last-second layup that would have put Providence in the Final Four, mistakenly turned pro after his sophomore year, was drafted by the Washington Bullets (Bullets!) in 1997 and was released after one season. Paul reports that God played last season in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, `` one of the most polluted cities in the world,’’ for a team that finished 4-26. As described by Paul, it’s a pretty grim existence. God eats at Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, the only Western restaurants in the city, and has to ``endure hours of repetitive, endurance-test practices,’’ ``wade through cigarette-smoke-clogged hallways’’ to get to the locker room and ``stay in hotels without shower curtains and with old cigarette butts on the bathroom floor.’’

If Shamm, as he prefers to be called [italics ours], is in China and he's not playing ball, he's likely online, downloading NBA games or highlights, talking on Skype, emailing or IMing with his wife, kids and countless friends, including NBA stars Chauncey Billups and Kevin Garnett.

Paul was taken with God, says he's a good guy who deserves better. They hooked up in Taiyuan and a few weeks later in Beijing, where they dined at a T.G.I. Friday’s. Over chicken wings and fried shrimp, Paul asked God where he wanted to play next season.

``Hopefully the NBA.'' He dunked a wing into a dish of hot sauce. ``And if not ... we'll see what works out, but I've been saving money and making good investments. I'd really like to stay in the U.S.''

It's a very nice piece. But nothing new on the name of God. Then we discovered that Paul had blogged about the visit when it happened. And delivered the goods: new details from God about his name.

We remebered reading years ago that God Shammgod was his legal name at birth, that it was changed when he was a kid—to Shammgod Wells, his father's and mother's surnames—and that he changed it back when he got to college. Providence coach Pete Gillen told the Providence Journal in 1995:

``He's gotten closer to his father recently, and he's doing it for his father.''

But God told Alan Paul that he originally changed his name to Shammgod Wells because he had been ``teased mercilessly as a child.'' And that it bothers him that people still think he chose to call himself God.

When he got to college, he was told he had to use his real name or legally change it, which would have cost $600, money he says he didn’t have. He stressed this to me several times and really wants it in the story. He feels that misperception has really given him a bad rep and I’d say he’s right. That’s what I remembered first about him—the guy who changed his name to God.

Come home, God. All is forgiven. At NOTY, you’ll always be our co-pilot.

(Photo by Alan Paul)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Memo to Golden State: Get Her to Sing the National Anthem!

Yes, we stayed up last night watching everyone’s new favorite team, the Golden State Warriors, lose to the Utah Jazz in overtime to go down 2-0 in the NBA Western Conference semifinals. It was another remarkable game, really what’s keeping the playoffs interesting. And since we’re rooting for the streetballers outta Oakland—how do you not love a franchise that had a hip-hop CD containing the song ``Blocked By Bol''?; yes, you can listen to cuts—we had to find a reason to write about them.

Then we remembered: Dominique Warrior.

Dominique is a sophomore guard at Prairie View A&M. She didn’t play much this past season, just three minutes in the Lady Panthers’ 95-38 loss to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAAs. But she was a second-team NOTY all-tournament selection by our own Captain Pally. She’s got a little Dominique Wilkins. And a lot of Warrior. Which gives us an excellent excuse to post some inspirational footage for Baron Davis’s beard and the other members of the team.

Dominique I: Dunking.



Dominique II: More dunking.



Warrior I: A retrospective of the 1974-75 NBA championship team. (How we adore old-white-guy local-announcer voices.)

Warrior II: Four seconds of GM Chris Mullin back in his playing days.



If that doesn’t loosen up the locker room, we don’t know what will.

(This has been a High C-STW joint production.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Name of the Week: Spicer Bell v. Xzavie Jackson

Name of the Week Week 5, a joint effort of the High C and STW, features another battle of one-name wonders: Spicer Bell and Xzavie Jackson. Last week, Dominitrix Johnson spanked Marktwain Johnson to capture the crown.

Spicer Bell: Ol’ Spice is executive director of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, a philanthropic organization in Maryland. He’s also a former state school superintendent of the year.

At a time of prominent ethical transgressions, it’s great to have a solid citizen like Spicer competing for a spot on the 2008 NOTY ballot.

Spicer comes to us from one Jackie Jennings, a columnist for the Daily Times newspaper in Salisbury, Md., who wrote about names apparently because she regrets naming her daughter Andersen. Jackie says Spicer is a well-known family name in her parts. But as a first name, she writes, it ``may not have played so well in the Bronx.’’ Why not, oh white middle-class suburban newspaper columnist? Because people of color live in the scary, scary Bronx?

In any event, Spicer apparently isn’t a big fan of his name. ``I can't say that I loved it,’’ he says. We do. Spice-related names have titillated us since NOTY Committee Member White Moses, in a fit of pique over the nomination of people with common first names, years ago crafted the fictitious entrant Billy Joe Spicemonger.

That was topped—after the emergence of Hall of Name member Assumption Bulltron—by the invented Ecclesiastes Devildog. We also remain flattered (and impressed) by the 100 NFL names created by NOTY friend Big Daddy Drew of Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Photo explanation: It ran with the column about Spicer. Alas, apparently her name is pronounced Jamie.

Xzavie Jackson: Shall we compare thee to a Scrabble rack? You’ve got four power tiles: J, K, X and Z. Your first name yields the thrilling ZAX. You’ve got letters worth three, four, five, eight and 10 points. Damn.

Xzavie is a 287-pound, undrafted free-agent defensive end out of Missouri who’s in the Cincinnati Bengals’ training camp this week. SI.com football ``guru'' Peter King mentions Xzavie in one of his Word-Count-doesn’t-go-that-high, Andy Rooney/Larry King parody columns. (Also in there: Phil Leotardo, ``old friend’’ and CNN-firee Daryn Kagan, Barbaro, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ payroll and this: ``Coffeenerdness: I always chuckle when a fairly fit person in line at Starbucks will order a drink straddling the line of fit and fat. The other day, a woman said: `Grande skim triple mocha, extra mocha, extra whip.' Big cup of a light flavored coffee, loaded with extra sugar and extra heavy cream. What's the point, exactly?’’ Jesus.)

As for Xzavie being on the Bengals, King writes:

That's notable because there never has been a player in the history of American professional sports whose first or last name began with the letters ``xz.’’

How King is sure, we don’t know, because there are a lot of sports that people are paid to play, and Xzavier, a variant of Xavier, is sweeping the nation. A one-minute Interweb check yielded Syracuse QB Xzavier Gaines, Kansas State defensive tackle Xzavier Stewart, teen skateboarder Xzavier Walton and Baltimore algebra whiz Xzavier Cheaton.

Our friends at KSK would agree that King misses the point. Yes, the X-Z combo is cool. But what makes Xzavie great is that it doesn’t have an R at the end—on purpose—and the X and the Z are pronounced separately. Then there's the backstory. Xzavie's mom is named Princess, his dad is Harvey and his older sister is Zareth. As the Kansas City Star reported in 2003:

``My mom wanted some unusual letters in my name, too,’’ said Jackson, pronounced X-Zavie.

``So they took an X, took the Z out of my sister's name, and a couple of letters come from my daddy's name, the A and the V. They put the names together and threw some letters in there and came up with Xzavie.’’


Xzavie's full name is Xzavie Lee HeBron Jackson. Yes, his middle name is HeBron, which is, of course, Hebrew for LeBron.

Thanks to NOTY reader Jason.

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Spicer Bell
Xzavie Jackson
  
pollcode.com free polls

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Macho Is Still the Man

We've long recognized that by today's lofty standards Hector Camacho isn't a name deserving of much NOTY attention. If Camacho turned up at the Golden Gloves, or on American Idol, or in the police blotter, he wouldn’t merit more than a quick smile. If he fought Terdsak Jandaeng, he’d be onomastic road kill. We wouldn’t waste a high seed on him.

But in 1983, he wasn’t just some guy named Hector Camacho. He was Hector Macho Camacho, the Macho Man, and we were glassy-eyed NOTY novices. The macho-containing surname, coupled with the nerdily contradictory Hector, was cool. Macho went right up on the dorm-room door, along with Dexter Manley, Herman Veal, Baskerville Holmes and Cornelius Boza Edwards. Undoubtedly influenced by alcohol and our respect for undefeated superfeatherweights nicknamed Macho, we declared Camacho, by voice vote, the first Name of the Year.

In retrospect, we defend our choice. Certainly not on aestethic grounds; we mean, Baskerville Holmes is a name of legendary proportions, especially given the modern etymology of his surname. But as a character—and at NOTY we’ve always believed that character matters—the Macho Man has been hard to top.

Camacho grew up on the crime ridden streets of Spanish Harlem, had fathered a child by the age of 15 and bragged that he had once chased a man down Harlem’s Third Avenue with a sawed-off shotgun.

A few months after winning the 1983 NOTY, Camacho won a second title, defeating Rafael ``Bazooka’’ Limon for the vacant World Boxing Council superfeatherweight crown. With hands as speedy as a woodpecker's beak, our man racked up more wins and more belts in more divisions. He took out another favorite name, Freddie Roach, though the mellifluous Livingstone Bramble refused to fight him to unify the lightweight crown.

Then, in 1986, he fought Edwin Rosario for the lightweight title. Mike Tyson and the onomastically underrated Julio Cesar ChavezJulius Caesar plus Cesar Chavez—were on the undercard! Camacho wore flag-of-Puerto-Rico trunks, which offended some islanders because the star was aligned with his crack.

Macho won the first three rounds. Then Rosario opened a flask of whupass:



After that and subsequent pummelings, Camacho retreated into a defensive posture. He won by split decision.

Puerto Ricans and other boxing fans who saw the fight have argued about the scoring ever since.

God we loving boxing. And Macho is boxing. He beat drug charges. He beat Boza Edwards, Ray ``Boom Boom'' Mancini, Vinny Paz and Tony Baltazar. The flamboyant young Macho was compared to Ali (for theatrics, not a keen sense of social justice). In 1991, Macho finally lost, to Greg Haugen, because the ref deducted a point when he refused to touch gloves at the start of the 12th round. He won a rematch, then entered the ring as Captain America for a lightweight title fight against Chavez, which he lost. He beat Robert Duran twice (combined ages of fighters the second time: 89). He warmed our hearts by knocking out Sugar Ray Leonard for the IBC middleweight belt. He lost to a young Oscar de la Hoya. Then, in December 2004, now 42 and preparing for yet another fight, he robbed a computer store in Biloxi, Miss.

When the boys in blue finally got the cuffs on the elusive ``Macho Man,'' he was holed up in a $35 a night hotel room at the Imperial Palace hotel and casino in Biloxi. Keeping him company in the room was a small stash of illegal pills called Ecstasy.

It gets better. The owners of the store, Solomon and Samantha Wheeler, said someone crawled through the ceiling, fell into the store, ransacked the place, and stole seven laptops and cash.

Pictures taken by the Wheelers showed blood splattered on computers and walls. But here's the part that bothered the Wheelers the most—there was urine soaking parts of Mrs. Wheeler's office. ``He actually peed in my fax machine, and down around the carpet,'' Mrs. Wheeler said. Her husband then picked up the story. ``The only thing we could think of was maybe he fell through and urinated in the process, because everything from about head level down in that corner was soiled upon, and I had to clean that up. It was quite disgusting.''

Six months later, Camacho fought on the same card as his son, Hector Camacho Jr. After the 10th round, Camacho Sr. tussled with his opponent, Raul Munoz. Both corners raced into the ring to break it up. Fans threw beer at them.

After the raucous [sic] inside the arena had calmed down, the Camachos went back to the dressing room. Inside the dressing room there was no sign of frustration or distress in the Camacho camp. Camacho Sr. and Camacho Jr. both left the arena in separate limos.

Macho won.

Yesterday, he lost. Macho pleaded out on the burglary charge and left a courthouse in handcuffs, bound for jail. The judge wasn’t sympathetic to his explanation that he ``just tripped out’’ on tequila and broke into the store to retrieve a laptop because he missed his family in Puerto Rico.

``I'm just not a drinker,’’ Camacho said. ``I wasn't in the best state of mind.''

Oh, and a bail bondsman said Macho has owed him money for two years. And his cellphone rang in court. And he still faces sentencing, up to seven years. And a trial on an Ecstasy charge.

Hector Macho Camacho: Worthy of our love in 1983, still worthy now.

Update: We completely forgot that just last fall Macho sparred with his NOTY-eligible girlfriend Bonita Money at a restaurant in the Bronx. ``I love Bonita,'' Macho said, perfectly. ``It just got a little out of hand.''