Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, the High Committee Picked a Winner, Too

The NOTY High Committee is a gang of 12. A Politburo, really. Except that no one gets airbrushed out of the photo for violating party doctrine -- or the Dragonwagon Doctrine (governing legal name changes) or the Sithole Doctrine (governing pronunciation). That's because there is no party doctrine.

Instead, the High Committee has gathered amiably and annually since 1989 -- happy anniversary to us! -- with the sole purpose of selecting a Name of the Year. Magnus Pelkowski was the winner two decades ago. Everyone got hammered. There was even property damage.

The winner's name was tucked in a folder until next year. Sure, outsiders often submitted choices or, after the introduction of the 64-name bracket in 1998, their completed ballots, which we usually ignored. Then, in 2007, NOTY went global (and everything changed). We, the High Committee, still pick. But we have ceded the stage to you, the People.

The first year of popular balloting, we all agreed on Vanilla Dong. Last year we parted company. We got it right: Destiny Frankenstein. You got it wrong: Spaceman Africa. This year, you got it right (sayeth this Committee member). We, the Politburo, got it wrong.

Not that our winner, Dragonwagon Regional No. 2 seed Juvyline Cubangbang of Sacramento isn't a high-quality name. It is. Her improbable first name conjures a fountain of youth. Her repetitive surname -- you're dead! -- is as musical as it is formidable. You're no Steampunk Emperor, but here's to you anyway, Juvyline Cubangbang. (And a small consolation to Macadangdang fans: You beat Mingo, who had trouble inside the Bulltron Region, by a point!)

Here's the High Committee's Top 10 (on a 25-15-10-7-5-2 scoring system):

1. Juvyline Cubangbang 140 points (3 first-place votes)
2. Nutritious Love 121 (2)
3. Iris Macadangdang 108 (1)
4. Barkevious Mingo 107 (3)
5. Rev. Valentine Handwerker 80
6. Hung The Dang 74
7. Chastity Clapp 66 (1)
8. Uranus Golden 59
9. Taco Vandervelde 55
10. Velvet Milkman 49

Believe it or not, Zeppy O'Green and Virginia Woo-Raspberry each tallied one first-place vote. Let the airburshing begin.

To Lord Mingo's Glory Sing

Let the reveling begin! Lord Barkevious Mingo hath proclaimed today a day of celebration for all Mingovians of his greatest victory, that of the 2009 Name of the Year Tournament. Charity Day commenceth with the singing of the national anthem:

Mingovia the Great! Mingovia the Good!
The land of smoking craters
where once our en'mies stood...
The sunny pines of Barko! The brothelettes of Ming!
Let every filthy parcel
To Lord Mingo's glory sing!
Vanquished if you’re lucky – far worse if you should lag
In battle with Lord Mingo
You’ll end up bound and gagged
Today we feed the Kraken – Sweet Bubbles, Mingo's pet!
We sing as we make foes
Into Kraken-sized croquettes.
Now Mingo at the balcony – Our Steampunk Emperor, hail!
Half linebacker, half god,
Our love-shall–nehh-vaaaaaar FAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!!


It continueth with

a feast, with a roasted ostrich in every square and fountains of mead all around.

And it concludeth with

public sex and the killing of one – THAT’S JUST ONE, PEOPLE – servant for sport.

Tis a great day for all Mingovia, for victor and vanquished alike, for all who have participated in the 2009 Name of the Year Tournament.

Hail, Mingo!

Thanks, as always, to the Karl Rove of the Mingo campaign, Orson Swindle of Every Day Should Be Saturday, and to Mingo's art director, the incomparable LSUFreek.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Barkevious Mingo: Lord, Master, 2009 Name of the Year

Commence the tolling of the bells and the slaying of the fatted calves and the overturning of the motor vehicles: Barkevious Mingo is the 2009 Name of the Year.

The People – of Mingovia and elsewhere – have spoken loudly and clearly and with no apparent computer manipulation. After a month-long campaign, the West Monroe, La., native, future LSU outside linebacker and Bulltron Regional No. 4 seed defeated the spunky Michigan grad and Chrotchtangle Regional No. 1 seed Iris Macadangdang.

A record-shattering 10,400-plus votes were cast, for which the NOTY High Committee thanks you. Barkevious (the Victorious) captured 36 states and the District of Columbia and 54 percent of the popular vote. (They voted in France, too, or at least in French.) Remarkably, Mingo's march to glory caused no fatalities, leaving behind only the tattered souls and shattered egos of his worthy but vanquished opponents: Iona Knipl, Atilla Bucko, Chew Kok, Taco Vandervelde, Crystal Metheny, Nutritious Love and his final conquest, the mellifluous Iris. (For the record, Love finished third, and Velvet Milkman took fourth.)

Macadangdang – we could say that all day – was no slouch. The Kalamazoo native corresponded with us, which we love, and her own faithful created campaign posters in her honor (left), which, alas, we didn't see until now. Those who failed to appreciate the onomastic beauty in the pairing of her old-school first name and her assonant surname are NOTY naifs. Don’t listen to them, Iris. We loved you from the beginning.

But we didn't love you that much. There was no stopping the Steampunk Emperor, nor should there have been. To paraphrase the great Pele, say with me three times: Barkevious Mingo. Barkevious Mingo. And Barkevious Mingo. His first name isn’t just creative; there have been plenty of those before. It’s mind-blowingly one of a kind. Think about it (not too hard): What possible etymology or explanation can “Barkevious” have? (Note to beat reporters of Baton Rouge: Ask him.) And to pair it with a surname that sounds like a '50s dance or an ESPN catch-phrase or a social disease, well, the heart flutters. Prediction: first-ballot election to the Hall of Name in 2011.

So sound the trumpets. Spread rose petals along the footpaths. Let a thousand doves soar. All hail Barkevious Mingo, the 2009 Name of the Year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2009 NOTY: Joy to the World

We remarked not long ago that a reprise of last year's Destiny Frankenstein-Spaceman Africa knucklechucker might be more than one man (or one Committee) could fairly ask for. Well, life it seems is indeed not fair. It is something much more than fair. You the People are making Mingo-Macadangdang a NOTY final for the ages. As I type this, strongman Barkevious leads humblewoman Iris by just 110 votes out of a (non-computer-enhanced) record of more than 8,000 cast.

This year's tournament has drawn drawn plenty of attention on these here interwebs -- even in the pixellated version of an old gray lady. As always, the names do the work. We merely bask in their reflected glory. But bask happily we do, our birthday suits slathered in Coppertone. The particularly astute Caleb Hannan of the Nashville Scene observes that NOTY

is the kind of phenomenon that proves, without a doubt, that whatever you think of the internet and all the porn, identity theft and likely exploitation of minors that comes with it, there's no question that the set of tubes has brought all of humanity a level of joy and boredom-relief previously thought unattainable.

Hear, hear, young Caleb. Now we can die in peace.

The battle lines remain drawn. The Mingovians continue to marshal their forces -- now even with song. The Macadangdangites are taking a more Gandhi-like approach, yet proving no less effective.

A reminder: The polls will remain open until we decided to close them sometime late Monday. So vote either by clicking here or by scrolling down just a little bit, stopping to cast a ballot if you choose in the third-place contest before proceeding to the final.

Thanks to Every Day Should Be Saturday commenter vegas_buckeye for Mingobama.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009 NOTY: Third-Place Game

Not without reason has the consolation game gone the way of the short short and the set shot and the flannel uni and the single-bar facemask. After failing to win the big prize, the competitors have had enough. They'd just as soon pack up their things and get back to their daily lives. Another game? You've got to be kidding. Fans are just playing along, too. This promises to be one of the most desultory contests we've ever witnessed yet we will watch out of warped loyalty to you whom we don't know personally! The Olympics manage to get around this problem, sort of, by handing out dun-colored medals. But, believe us, the players aren't fooled. We saw the U.S. men "win" the bronze at the Athens Games in 2004. Tim Duncan would have rather been watching rhythmic gymnastics. Hell, he would have rather been competing in rhythmic gymnastics.

And yet we love the third-place game the way we love the short short and the flannel uni and the single-bar facemask -- especially the single-bar facemask: for its throwbackness, to a time when we cared (maybe) a little bit more about the spirit of competition and the glory of the fight (or at least to a time when marketeers hadn't figured out that no one gave a shit). Not to date ourselves or anything, but our favorite third-place game was the 1979 NCAA consolation between Penn and DePaul. Penn had just, um, lost to Michigan State by a score of 101-67. It wasn't as close as the score indicates. The Quakers trailed 31-6 and 50-17. The defeat was, obviously, utterly humiliating, even if Magic Johnson was the primary perpetrator. But Penn was required to return to play DePaul for no absolutely no good reason. They lost in overtime, 96-93. But who cared? The game was a happy reminder that an Ivy League team had made it to the Final Four, and a way to recover from the annihilation by Michigan State. Two years later, the NCAA ditched the third-place game.

As the lines to cast a ballot in the 2009 NOTY Final snake around the block -- the Mingovians and Macadangdangians are locked in an epic battle -- we decided to heed the call of at least one commenter and revive the tradition of the pointless consolation. Vote carefully, People. Absolutely nothing is on the line.

Monday, April 20, 2009

2009 NOTY Final: Barkevious Mingo v. Iris Macadangdang

One is a high-profile football recruit, the other a modest political science/Spanish major. One is from the South, the other from up North. They represent big conferences – the SEC and the Big Ten – but what else would you expect for the final of a tournament with a field of 64? Both have powerful grassroots interweb advocacy groups.

Bulltron Regional No. 4 seed Barkevious Mingo has been the force of the 2009 NOTY Tournament, racking up the biggest margins and – ahem – biggest vote totals so far. We are already on record as backers of the West Monroe, La., native, incoming LSU linebacker and Steampunk Emperor of the Kingdom of Mingovia. His name is a going-both-ways thing of beauty. Barkevious rallies the base not from us, however, but via the many proclamations issued on his behalf by puppetmaster Orson Swindle of the college-football blog Every Day Should Be Saturday.

Chrotchtangle Regional No. 1 seed Iris Macadangdang has been derided by some as an unworthy finalist. But her indigeneous Filipino name – not especially common, she tells us in an email sent to correct some facts we lifted from an outdated bio – is undeniably mellifluous, and paired with her old-school first name qualifies for NOTY greatness. The 2008 Michigan grad from Kalamazoo is by all accounts a lovely person. She even dabbles in ballroom dancing! (Yo, Dancing With the Stars . You love football players. How about a Mingo-Macadangdang tandem next season?) Iris draws online support from her acolytes at MGoBlog – and a Facebook group organized by her friends.

Cast your ballot. Voting continues through next Monday, April 27.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Your 2009 NOTY Finalists

For the title of 2009 Name of the Year and all its attendant glory -- and it's a lot -- it has come down to this:

Bulltron Regional No. 4 seed Barkevious Mingo v. Chrotchtangle Regional No. 1 seed Iris Macadangdang.

Voting begins tomorrow. Thank you for your patronage.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Word from the NOTY Committee

1. Final Four balloting ends in approximately 24 hours. The vote to determine the 2009 Name of the Year (People's Division) will begin on Monday.

2. We strongly suspect voting irregularities in both Final Four matches. And we regret not having invited the Carter Center to observe the process from the outset. But it's too late now. We see no recourse but to let the outcomes stand. We failed to take preventive measures until after the ballot boxes apparently had been stuffed. For that, we apologize.

3. Even if we threw out the 7,000 or so votes for Barkevious Mingo that may have been registered either by someone in with way too much time on his hands or a computer proxy, the Lord of Mingovia would still be leading Nutritious Love by 1,000 votes. In any case, Tennessee -- apparent home of the URL reloader -- is dead to us.

4. Iris Macadangdang's current 13-1 margin in Michigan and the total number of reported votes there appear aberrational, even if she is a Wolverine. We fear that Velvet Milkman is getting jobbed. So attention people of Kentucky (that’s where Murray State is, right?): You have one day to rally support for your six-time Ohio Valley Conference champion women’s golf coach and husband of economics professor Martin Milkman. Get to work.

5. Several people have asked why a name disappeared from the original ballot. Because we received a request to remove it, and we’re reasonable people, that’s why.

6. We're not sure why we numbered our paragraphs, but we did.

Thanks again to Every Day Should Be Saturday for another brilliant Mingovian image.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 NOTY: The Final Four

The road to the 2009 NOTY Final Four has ended. Let the voting begin. Both matchups are below. So vote in one, and then VOTE IN THE OTHER.

No. 4 Barkevious Mingo: Future LSU linebacker and current king of the kingdom rolled through the Bulltron Regional like Attila through Gaul.

No. 2 Nutritious Love: Sithole Regional champion is from Alabama, making this an intra-SEC tussle.


No. 8 Velvet Milkman: The Murray State golf coach went

all Tiger Woods on favored Uranus Golden and Juvyline

Cubangbang in the Dragonwagon Regional.


No. 1 Iris Macadangdang: Undergraduate emerged from

a weak Chrotchtangle Regional by defeating Dr. Shasta

Kielbasa and Chuck Fugger.



A Word from the NOTY Committee

The question of the day seems to be this: Where would Barkevious Mingo be absent the backing of the citizens of Mingovia?

It is true that the Bulltron Regional No. 4 seed, LSU linebacking recruit and ruler of all he surveys is benefiting mightily from his minions. He trailed Crystal Metheny in Elite Eight voting when the trumpets blared. The polls have been closed for 12 hours, but the populace continues to back its king; he's over 60 percent now.

And now the calls to arms for the Final Four and beyond have begun. Quoth a Barkevious liegeman named Harris:

Velvet Milkman will be tough competition and Nutritious Love is no slouch. Rise, Mingovians. Show them the bloody fate of all those who would dare challenge Mingovia and her Ruthless Leader.

Last year, we witnessed similar advocacy on behalf of the eventual People's champion. Spaceman Africa didn't have the fan base of an SEC school working on his behalf, but he had acolytes around the globe who, in a pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter world, spread his campaign via smoke signal, Telex, carrier pigeon, word of mouth and plain old-fashioned email. Imagine. We didn't endorse Africa's quest -- we were in the bag for Destiny Frankenstein, the High Committee's resounding choice -- but we were powerless to stop it.

This year, we like Barkevious a lot. His adjectival first name is you-can't-make-this-stuff-up original. ("I'm feeling rather Barvekious today. You?") His quick, retro and unusual surname trampolines off of an energetic common word (bingo!) and even a wonderful 1970s NBA name (ring-winning New York Knicks fan favorite Harthorne Wingo). Around these parts, Rule No. 1 of onomastic greatness is that a name should have it going both ways. Barkevious Mingo has it going every way.

But that's beside the point, at least when it comes to rallying the troops. If backers of the pronunciationally questionable (not that that's ever stopped a name) Crystal Metheny wanted to halt the Crusade-like march of the Mingovians, they should have organized their own virtual militia. In America, that's how we roll.

So Nutritious Love, Velvet Milkman, Iris Macadangdang -- ye women of the 2009 NOTY Final Four -- the gauntlet has been thrown. Do you accept the challenge of Mingovia? Or do you capitulate without bowing an arrow or slinging a shot?

Spread the word. Get out the vote. Pick the best name.

Mingo dirigible courtesy of Every Day Should be Saturday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 NOTY Final Four

That's a boyband, believed to be Irish, named Final Four. And this is the 2009 NOTY Tournament Final Four, whom we'd love to see on stage together:

No. 4 Barkevious Mingo v. No. 2 Nutritious Love

No. 8 Velvet Milkman v. No. 1 Iris Macadangdang

Voting commences on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Elite Eight: Chrotchtangle Regional

The last of the four Elite Eight matches. After you pick Iris or Chuck, scroll down and vote in the other three matches.

No. 1 Iris Macadangdang: One of her dorm-mates commented!
No. 7 Chuck Fugger: Mall executive.

Elite Eight: Dragonwagon Regional

Possibly the toughest Elite Eight matchup.

No. 8 Velvet Milkman: Murray State women's golf coach.
No. 2 Juvyline Cubangbang: Sacramentan.

Elite Eight: Sithole Regional


It's not Muskrat Love. It's Beaver-Love.

No. 4 Shavodrick Beaver: Texas quarterback recruit spurned Michigan.
No. 2 Nutritious Love: Alabama person adjourned Infinite McCloud.

Elite Eight: Bulltron Regional

Will the citizens of Mingovia rise again? Or will the unforseeable (at birth) pun pull an upset?

No. 4 Barkevious Mingo: 6-5, 210-pound incoming LSU linebacker; 800-pound NOTY force.
No. 7 Crystal Metheny: Iowa management-training executive.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

2009 NOTY: Your Elite Eight

It's too bad that James Surowiecki already wrote his book about how groups of people make better decisions than individuals. Because this year's NOTY balloting would have made an excellent chapter. Cheers to you, The People, who are are advancing what we, The High Committee, consider the most deserving names in the 2009 field.

Here are your Elite Eight matchups:

Bulltron Regional
No. 4 Barkevious Mingo v. No. 7 Crystal Metheny:
After their hero trailed in early voting to Taco Vandervelde, the citizens of Mingovia rode to the rescue. The demise of No. 3 seed Glorious Johnson? Possibly unjust, but we're also proud when The People pass up a cheap joke.

Sithole Regional
No. 4 Shavodrick Beaver v. No. 2 Nutritious Love: We had a soft spot for the defeated Calamity McEntire and Infinite McCloud, but this was simply a very strong region. We hate it when sportscasters lament that someone had to lose, but we lament that someone had to lose.

Dragonwagon Regional
No. 8 Velvet Milkman v. No. 2 Juvyline Cubangbang:
Velvet sent Uranus Golden into orbit; she was, we admit, underseeded. Juvyline crushed Scorpio Babers with a field-leading 79 percent of the vote.

Chrotchtangle Regional
No. 1 Iris Macadangdang v. No. 7 Chuck Fugger:
Farewell, Dr. Shasta Kielbasa. We were really hoping for Macadangdang-Dang regional final, but, in a squeaker, it was not to be.

Mingo art by LSU Freek via Every Day Should be Saturday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Word from the Commissioner

If someone had told me in 1983 that a quarter-century later I’d be handicapping a NOTY Sweet 16 for thousands of people -- reading on computers -- I would have asked whether he was smoking Crystal Metheny (whatever that was).

Yet here we are. Excellent work in the first round, People. You advanced a fine crop of tried and true names: food (Milkman, Kielbasa, Taco), sex (Beaver, Johnson, Love), rhyme (Macadangdang, Cubangbang), scatology (Fugger). They're battling some strong newcomers: the celestial Infinite McCloud and Uranus Golden; the hard-to-categorize Hung The Dang; and this year’s populist, Barkevious Mingo.

Will these new names establish themselves as future Hall of Name inductees? Or will they go the way of Chevy Van Pickup, Maximum Havoc Steinberg and Lester Kills On Top -- that is, good for a laugh but not immortality.

Here’s The High C's breakdown:

Taco Vandervelde v. Barkevious Mingo: "Ingo" names have never fared well (Ingo Fast, Lamont Mungo, Shango Hango). But this year is different. Barkevious is making noise.

Glorious Johnson v. Crystal Metheny: Metheny smoked Chastity Clapp to get here and should light up Johnson, too.

Calamity McEntire v. Shavodrick Beaver: The shorn beave was very popular with the Seeding Committee (sex name going both ways). But McEntire draws on her impossible first name to advance.

Infinite McCloud v. Nutritious Love: Love had her way with a flaccid Sithole Regional. Adjective-noun battle too close to call.

Velvet Milkman v. Uranus Golden: Uranus is out of this world and deep in the colon; a two-way threat. But Velvet already stroked Handwerker , a No. 1 seed and a legacy (think 1999 NOTY sixth-place finisher Cleopatra Valentine). The Milkman delivers.

Scorpio Babers v. Juvyline Cubangbang: Scorp' is reminiscent of late 2005 NOTY Tanqueray Beavers. But Juvyline mixes a fine Southern belle with a shootout in a Memphis bordello. Bang-bang!

Iris Macadangdang v. Dr. Shasta Kielbasa: I ate the kielbasa at Walker's during the Seeding Meeting. It was good. But not good enough. Macadangdang advances toward an inevitable showdown with Cubangbang.

Hung The Dang v. Chuck Fugger: Hang your dang on this one.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sweet 16: Chrotchtangle Regional

On to the final matches of the Sweet 16. Vote, scroll, vote again. Then make sure you've voted in the round's other contests. We'll announce the Elite Eight -- and start picking a Final Four -- later this week.

No. 1 Iris Macadangdang: She's a student.
No. 5 Dr. Shasta Kielbasa: She's a doctor.


No. 3 Hung The Dang: He's a student.

No. 7 Chuck Fugger: He's a mall executive.

Sweet 16: Dragonwagon Regional

Vote. Scroll down. Vote again.

No. 8 Velvet Milkman: Murray State women's golf coach takes out a top seed. This Twitterer isn't surprised.
No. 4 Uranus Golden: Sibling of Portland State hooper with a creatively spelled first first name himself.)


No. 14 Scorpio Babers: Dolphin is lowest seed left.

No. 2 Juvyline Cubangbang: Of Sacramento.

At Least He Got More Votes Than Frankie Nation

That's Chrotchtangle Regional No. 11 seed Ed Jew being consoled after losing in the second round to Hung The Dang.

Actually, the former San Francisco city supervisor is "getting a hug from a supporter" on Friday after being sentenced to 64 months in prison for "shaking down Chinese immigrant owners of tapioca drink shops ... for $80,000 in bribes."

San Francisco Chronicle photo by Paul Sakuma/AP. Tip of the hat to NOTY reader Randy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

NOTY Media Roundup

The good old mainstream media, of which we are a part, is catching the NOTY fever.

--The Chicago Tribune calls our anonymity possibily hypocritical.

--Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt's Freakonomics blog on the New York Times.com is hopeful of another Frankenstein-Africa death struggle.

--The NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C., would "blush" to print some NOTY names on its family-oriented website, the front page of which currently promotes stories about the shooting of three officers in Pittsburgh, a massacre in Binghamton, N.Y., and the arrest of a Maryland "beauty queen" on drug charges.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sweet 16: Sithole Regional

The top seeds all moved on in first-round action in the Sithole Regional. Two squeakers in the upper half of the bracket, two blowouts in the bottom.

We're putting both Sweet 16 matchups in one post. So vote, scroll and vote.

No. 1 Calamity McEntire: Boise State women's basketball assistant coach. Folded towels for Pat Summitt at Tennessee.
No. 4 Shavodrick Beaver: Tulsa football recruit.


No. 3 Infinite McCloud: Activities? "Mad shit, but mostly being fly 24' 7."

No. 2 Nutritious Love: Alabaman.