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

``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 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 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 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. 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 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.''

Monday, May 7, 2007

He Doesn't Pronounce It the Same Way That She Pronounces It

Our hearts always get warm when an old name sneaks back into the news. Last week it was JamesOn Curry.

JamesOn grew up in a mobile home along a North Carolina state highway. But he could stroke the J and had random capitalization. Before long, scouts from UNC to NOTY were raining down on the 6-3 guard like turmeric in chicken shashlik. The Tar Heels signed JamesOn. We gave him a No. 11 seed in the Bitterbeetle Regional.

JamesOn was worthy, for sure. UNC liked his long arms, big hands, and 40.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. We liked that he had it going both ways. And his creative construction—JamesOn combines the names of his uncle, James, and his father, Leon. And his midword capital letter. And his pronunciation—james-on, as in, James full stop On full stop. And the tasty treat on the back end.

If he’d only stuck with the recipe, the leading scorer in North Carolina high school history might have been following in the Nikes of Jordan and another James. Instead, in his senior year, Curry got involved with a different kind of herb:

Before dawn, law enforcement officials from two towns and the county sheriff's office had a magistrate sign arrest warrants for 50 students at five high schools. Curry was among them, charged with six felony counts of possessing marijuana and selling it on school grounds.

The reaction from those who knew Curry was nearly uniform: Not him, not the kid who, his father said, "came home with a basketball pacifier in his mouth." No way.

Way! Curry pleaded out. But Roy Williams’s scholarship offer to JamesOn went ClangOn the iron.

Fortunately, there exist in higher education charitable souls prepared to give ``second chances’’ to ``troubled’’ young ``kids.’’ At NOTY, we don't discriminate based on past behavior either. Right on schedule, JamesOn joined both Oklahoma State and a strong NOTY class that included fellow D-I prospect Tanqueray Beavers. Beavers won the 2005 NOTY Tournament, was killed the next year in a shooting at a T.G.I. Fridays and was recently inducted into the Hall of Name. JamesOn finished 31st—tied with Mayo Stuntz, another good food name—and averaged 17.3 points per game for Mother Theresa-like coach Eddie Sutton last season.

So we—as well as his we-wish-we-knew-the-derivation-of-their-names-too sisters LeConnda (LeBron, Condoleeza and Wanda?) and Tomosha (Tom and ... Kenosha? Tommy Moe and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi?)—were saddened to learn that JamesOn had been omitted from the NBA draft early entry list last week despite having met the deadline. Another legal mishap? A ruling by NBA Commissioner David Stern that random capitalization sends the wrong message to new parents?

The NBA just lost the paperwork. We understand. Close readers of the NOTY Archives might notice that in 1995, we lost the ballots.

Friday, May 4, 2007

HNOTY: Barbaro, Schmarbaro

We asked Kissing Suzy Kolber and No Mas regular Unsilent Majority to handicap the field for the Kentucky Derby. We paid him in sugar cubes and carrots. And he's off:

Like any red-blooded degenerate, I feel an annual compulsion to bet on the Kentucky Derby. Needless to say, I always give in. Like any suave horse-race investor, I go directly to the names; those odds beside them are just a bonus. Nobody knows who's going to win (good luck Mr. Favorite), so I figure it's best to go with the most impressive name. I trust you agree.

Any Given Saturday (12/1) PLACE
Great name all the way around, especially if it's meant to mock Oliver Stone. Everything after Natural Born Killers is crap. For the sake of his name, I wish his odds were a bit higher.

Bwana Bull (50/1)
If LaRon is Spanish for The Ron, then Bwana Bull is Swahili for Mr. Bull. Well that's just downright fallacious. It also fails to inspire confidence in the average gambler. Think about it, a bull can barely catch your average Spaniard (and they aren't even that fast what with all the red wine and napping...ah, to be a Spaniard). Is there a prop bet for taking out a drunken infield dweller? If so, book it.

Circular Quay (8/1)
I take it the name is a reference to the neighborhood in Sydney, Australia. From what I can tell it's a scenic waterfront destination filled with annoying window shoppers that clog the walkways. Well that's just all too familiar for me. Avoid at all costs.

Cowtown Cat (20/1)
A cool hipster from a backwater burgh...I think I know this guy. Regardless, all of these hybrid animals will crumble beneath the mighty hoof of the thoroughbred competition. I'm just not feelin' these bovine-inspired names.

Curlin (7/2)
He's named for (and co-owned by the great great grandson of) Charles Curlin, who was a slave and a confederate soldier. Funny, I didn't even know Toofer liked horse racing. I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, he was a slave during the Civil War, so I guess he came out a winner in the end. Then again, he was a Confederate, and they made losing an art form. I figure he'll win one of the Triple Crown races.

Dominican (20/1)
If he had hands, I bet they'd be quick like a middle infielder's. Alas, he's a horse. I prefer Dominican Lou; he's berry berry fas'.

Great Hunter (15/1)
That's not a name, it's what I aspired to become as a young boy playing Oregon Trail. For some reason the game always forced me to be the banker. Damn antisemitic Apple II GS.

Hard Spun (15/1)
I don't know what that means but I'm overcome with dizziness and arousal.

Imawildandcrazyguy (50/1) WIN
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the best bet in the field. It's not just a funny name, it's also quite fitting. The last time I saw that much gray hair Steve Martin was stuffing his crotch in the '70's. If his jockey was named Yortuk I'd put my full bankroll on this glorious bastard (his mother was a mudder but his father was a deadbeat).

Liquidity (30/1)
Apparently they're just waiting for the horse to lose so they can sell him to the glue man. That way he can be a liquid asset and a liquid consumable.

Nobiz Like Shobiz (8/1)
Tell that to Mr. Ed, Pie-O-My, Neidermeyer's horse, and Khartoum. But wait, you can't--they're all dead. "Shobiz" will chew you up and spit you out all over the bedspread.

Sam P. (20/1)
Stop him before it's too late!

Scat Daddy (10/1)
Further proof that anything can create jazz. Even if that means generating seemingly random sounds by sloshing around in its own ordure.

Sedgefield (50/1)
British people tend to suck at naming things. That's how you wind up with towns like Sedgfield. I mean, is that a place you'd want to live?

Storm In May (30/1)
Total downer.

Stormello (30/1) SHOW
I love it. I don't know why, I just do. He's dangerous, he's cloudy and he'd rather die than snitch (he saw what Killa Cam did to Anderson Cooper but he isn't sayin' shit). With Kent Desormeaux on for the ride he's a legitimate force.

Street Sense (4/1)
Naming a beautiful horse after your in-dash navigation system is just classless.

Teuflesberg [sic] (30/1)
If you're going to name your horse after the German ``Devil's Mountain'' you should probably invest in a German dictionary.

Tiago (15/1)
The Portuguese Assassin is just the latest world-class athlete to carry this name. With any luck Tiago Splitter could be drafted by my Washington Wizards this year. With a little more luck Tiago (the midfielder) will return to Chelsea in the near future. In Portuguese the word means ``supplanter,'' so when he loses he'll simply force his way into the winner's circle.

Zanjero (30/1)
His name resembles that of Sanjaya, so his grooming, vocals and other traits should follow close behind. He'll fade fast after baffling the announcer with his early pace.

Episode 87: Assalone Again, Naturally

A windowless office. The NOTY High Committee is seated around a long oak conference table. Photos decorate the walls—Tanqerary Beavers, Assumption Bulltron, Crescent Dragonwagon, Tokyo Sexwale and other NOTY legends. The room falls silent as the NOTY High Commissioner speaks:

HIGH COMMISSIONER: So how does it end?

COMMITTEE MEMBER K.C.: Bobby Baccala gets pinched for the sloppy hit on that Canadian guy in the laundromat. Remember how he grabbed Bobby’s shirt? Janice, already on the rag for the way Tony treats Bobby, gets mad and pops her brother. Like she popped Richie Aprile.

COMMITTEE MEMBER WHITE MOSES: You’re absolutely 100 percent wrong about that, K.C. Tony starts banging AJ's Latino ex-girlfriend. AJ suspects someone’s doing her—but not his dad—gets a gun, walks in on them and kills Tony. Fade to black.

COMMITTEE MEMBER STW: Is that your mob name? White Moses? You work for Hesh? Anyway, the Phil Leotardo shit is a diversion. Badness happens from within: Tony kills AJ for being a big pussy, puts Janice back on the bus to Seattle or whereverthefuck after she kills Bobby, catches Carmela finally doing Furio and whacks them both. It ends with T still in charge of this thing of theirs. But Dr. Melfi makes him start analysis. Five sessions a week.

COMMITTEE MEMBER TFH: Chrissy gets whacked.

HIGH C: Then what?

TFH: That’s it.

HIGH C: Have another sfogliatelle. Here’s how it ends: Christopha, desperate to get back into Tony’s good graces after his film career craps out, fixes the 2008 NOTY Tournament for Ding Kong. Tony, big in the hole to gamblers, puts a Sackrider full of ’scarole on Kong. When Kong loses to Destiny Frankenstein...

STW: Stop.

HIGH C: If you can get action on who’ll get whacked next on the show, you can get action on NOTY.

A cellphone rings. HIGH C pushes the top open and puts it on speaker. A raspy voice is heard.

VOICE: This is Fabio Assalone.

HIGH C: Nice name. Email yourself to That's nameofthe—

ASSALONE: Facia bruta. Don’t be a caffone. I know how it ends.

HIGH C: How in the name of Baskerville Holmes did you know what we were talking about?

VOICE: I’m in.

HIGH C: In where?

ASSALONE: I’m part of the NOTY family now. A made guy. I was nominated this week. Some fuckin' jamook, guy named Phil, saw my name roll by on the credits, did a screen grab and emailed it to you chiacchierones. I’m an accounting clerk on the show. David Chase's consigliere-in-training. I know everything.

HIGH C: For the love of God Shammgod, just tell us how it ends! We’ll make sure you win Name of the Week! We’ll give you a No. 1 seed in 2008! We'll waive the one-year waiting period for getting on the Hall of Name Ballot!

ASSALONE: The Hall of Name? Really? All right, all right. So Tony’s bangin' Melfi on the floor of her office. Carmela, Meadow, the ghosts of Livia, Adriana and Gloria Trillo, and the mole on Ginny Sack's ass burst in, guns drawn—don't ask. Tony rolls over the way he does when he's finished with some puntanna, looks up in horror and—

The line goes dead.

HIGH C: Assalone! Assalone! Fucking Verizon.

HIGH C looks around the table at the NOTY Committee.

HIGH C: You don’t think?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

But the Comma, Colon, Semicolon and Ellipsis Remain Very Much Underused

NOTY reader Amit nominates Air Force Senior Airman R'Chardrick Markray, who was shot and killed the other day outside a baby shower in a residential neighborhood near Las Vegas. Amit writes:

I'm calling it now. ``R’’ is the new ``Le’’ or ``Ja.’’

Or ``De,’’ ``Da’’ or ``La.’’ Together they are the most popular of the decorative first-name prefixes. Take last weekend’s NFL draft. Here are the 2007 Prefixed NFL Draftees—Mel Kiper had them on a separate board—in order of selection:

JaMarcus Russell
LaRon Landry
LaMarr Woodley
DeMarcus Tyler
Le’Ron McClain
DeShawn Wynn

De- and Da- mean ``of,’’ while Le- and La- mean ``the,’’ a fact that, as NOTY friend and Mr. Irrelevant Jamie Mottram notes, quickly prompted some Washington Redskins entrepreneurs to create the $17.49 T-shirt on the right.

And Ja? ``Yes’’ in German. ``Magnetic'' in Korean. Michael David Smith at AOL Fanhouse figured out that the Oakland Raiders' new quarterback is the first ``JaMarcus’’ ever taken in the NFL draft.

Which made us wonder: Why throw a prefix on a perfectly good name? Or on a perfectly ridiculous name? In an onomastic article posted at Behind the Name, Robert Fikes Jr., a librarian at San Diego State, examines how African-Americans have over the last two decades, to NOTY’s great joy, ``embraced the practice of conjuring atypical, fabricated names.’’ Fikes and his researchers examined ``thousands of names matched with photos’’ on the websites of pro and college sports teams and black fraternities and sororities and compiled a simply outstanding list of more 400 male and female first names, from A’quonesia to Zontavius.

Fikes tackles the prefix issue head on:

Among other things, a strong affinity for French-sounding names is quite obvious with the articles L', Le, and La used in abundance. Also very popular are the prefixes Sha, She, Shi, Ja, Je, Ka, Da, and De; and the suffixes isha, esha, ika, ius, ante, and ita. We also note the prediliction for mid-word capitalization (examples: LaQunda, LucQuente, D'Livero, AuTashea, DeLisha, NeClea) and the rising trend toward hyphenation (Fa-Trenna, K-Rob, R-Kal).

A quick scan of the NOTY Archives confirms his observation.

JeVon Kilgo (1997)
R-Kal Trueluck (1998)
K’Zell Wesson (1998)
JaMine Rozell (1998)
La’Keisha Laughinghouse (2002)
Q’Beashable Scott (2003)
D’Brickashaw Ferguson (2005)
De’Cody Fagg (2007)

These are more than just great names. According to Fikes, they are the product of 40 years of African-American naming practices.

Emerging from the struggle of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and with new found pride in Africa's greatness, was the popular trend of African and Muslim/Arabic names like Jamal, Abdul, Kareem, Rashad, Kenya, Zulu, Shaquille, Ali, and Hakeem. But clearly by the early 1980s a noticeable disconnect with the past had begun as witnessed by the startling increase in names having little if any meaningful origin. Judging from our survey of first names of young African American adults, the tug of war amongst the Afrocentrists, the assimilationists, and the multiculturalists of the 1990s did not produce a clear winner and in today's society and the word on the street is that anything goes.

Amen to that. The parental reasoning: Unusual names ``sound pleasing to the ear ... are spelled in some unique fashion, give the impression of being unique, or all of the foregoing.’’ Fikes writes that the names are intended to give the bearer ``status, respect, and individuality.’’ And also to flip the bird at Anglo culture, ``to put distance between that which is perceived as bland, ordinary, conformist, oppressive, and white.’’

Our only complaint with Fikes’s survey: no last names. So Velveeta, Monsanto, Be Cautious, Aquafina, Karmonica, La'Tangela, Tanquest, Lavoris, Le’Greg, Psyche, Andropolis and JueMichael: If you want a place in the 2008 NOTY Tournament, send us your surnames now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Iam the Doofus. Goo Goo G' Joob.

This just in to the NOTY Action News Newsroom:

Dateline: Missoula, Mont.:

A Missoula man allegedly broke into the home of a local couple early Thursday morning and tried to steal their stereo equipment, but was arrested after police found him asleep in the basement.

Later in the day, Iam Wright appeared in Missoula County Justice Court on felony charges of theft and burglary.

Iam Dork for falling asleep while breaking the law.

Police entered the woman's home and found Wright in the basement, lying on the floor with his eyes closed. He did not respond to the officers' commands until he was threatened with a Taser, at which point he complied with police.

Iam Smart for not getting Tasered.

Wright explained he was drunk and had passed out after a party at the residence, but the woman and her husband said they hadn't hosted a party.

All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz and Iam Fine.

What's more, the man was lying next to a black bag that belonged to the couple. It was filled with the couple's Bose stereo, a subwoofer, and the woman's backpack and wallet.

Wright faces possible penalties of 30 years in the Montana State Prison and fines of up to $100,000.

Iam Big Drunken Idiot.

(Thanks to NOTY reader Adam.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Name of the Week: Dominitrix Johnson v. Marktwain Johnson

Welcome to Name of the Week, Week 4. This non-celebrity death match features a couple of Johnsons. Last week’s winner: Ynot Bubba.

Dominitrix Johnson: A 6-foot, 185-pound junior guard at Illinois State who, amazingly, chooses not to use his full name in public.

Johnson, or ``Dom’’ as he is affectionately called by nearly everyone that knows him, had a [high-school] senior year to remember.

Affectionately by nearly everyone. Submissively by the rest.

We searched high and low but couldn’t find an explanation for how Dominitrix’s parents, Melvin and Bridget, settled on that particular baby name. We’re guessing there’s an excellent story, though.

Dominitrix’s teammates through the years have included Osiris Eldridge, Derek Demaree, Klavs Bedritis and, continuing our series of people with this last name, Reaynundo Sturdivant. His high-school coach was David Heeb:

``I knew he was going to be good, but I’ll be honest I didn’t ever think he’d be this good,’’ said Heeb. ``How can you project something like that? I always knew he was a competitor. He hates to lose at everything he does.’’

We’ll see how he does in NOTW.

Marktwain Johnson: Back in August 2005, Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen was involved in an ``altercation'' in a restaurant in Chicago. Allen apparently punched a guy, which prosecutors said instigated a brawl in which Samuel Clemens’s namesake was shot, possibly by someone in Allen's ``party,'' in the left arm and torso.

Marktwain's lawyer described what happened:

Johnson ``is inside the restaurant, standing at a counter waiting to be seated,'' Gordon said, adding Johnson was with several others.

``A short time later [around 3:30 a.m.], Tony Allen comes in with a large group of 10 to 15 people. Immediately when he comes in, he spots Marktwain Johnson and he begins to go into his tirade.''

``F--- him up,'' Allen told the shooter, according to Gordon.

Last week, a Cook County judge acquitted Allen of aggravated battery. Danny Ainge said Allen is ``relieved.’’ Allen’s mother said ``my baby is sound.’’ Marktwain’s lawyer said he’ll pursue a civil lawsuit.

And what would Mark Twain have said? Something to satisfy both sides, of course:

A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

Honesty is the best policy--when there is money in it.

I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

Who Is the Name of the Week?
Dominitrix Johnson
Marktwain Johnson free polls