Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 NOTY: Sithole Regional, Part 3

Here at NOTY we've been burned in the past by frauds and schemes that make Bernie Madoff look like Spiral Lightninghawk. Someday we'll rehash the Mummenschontz Bitterbeetle/Licentious Beastie scandal; the perpetrators remain at large. And, as you know, we've already had to toss two names off of this year's ballot.

So blame the Audit Committee for lax enforcement. Blame the Seeding Committee for laughing too hard. Blame us all for wanting, in these cynical times, to believe in something wholesome and good. Because this one really hurts.

Sithole Regional No. 3 seed Dick Smallberries Jr. is INVALIDATED.

In the pantheon of Dick names -- Nascar racer Dick Trickle, Congressman Dick Swett, baby Charley Willard Horse Dick, de facto 1999 NOTY Dick Surprise -- it looked real, or at least real enough. "Smallberries" had a Wikipedia entry. He had a long list of voice acting credits in video games and anime. So when his name dropped in our inbox a year ago, we added it to the master list. And when we Googled, we found nothing dissuade us from our innocent belief in the possible.

And then we stumbled on this troubling thread on Mania.com -- "a leading website dedicated to providing avid Comic Book, Anime, Movie fans with news and feature stories about Comic Book, Fantasy, SciFi, Horror & Anime" -- about Smallberries' credit in Ah My Buddha, the anime adaptation of the "mature rated manga" by Toshinore Sogabe.

bearcounty: Please don't tell me that's his real name!?

EmperorBrandon: No, it's not his real name.


As we learned from the Nohjay Nimp...we mean O.J. Simpson trial, when in doubt, throw it out (or something like that). So in the absence of clear evidence that Smallberries is real, for the integrity of the 2010 NOTY Tournament and for the sake of future NOTY generations, we humbly take the prudent course. Fortunately, we've got a very deep bench.

Vote for someone else:

No. 3 Pocahontas Outlaw: Former ACORN board member. Glenn Beck liked her name!
No. 14 Chinook Bacon: Oakland teen charged with murder.
No. 6 Napoleon Einstein: Indian cricket player.
No. 11 Banana Yaya: Cameroonian soccer player.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 NOTY: Sithole Regional, Part 2

An excellent mix of name stylings in the second quadrant of the Sithole Regional, which is named, of course, for 1985 NOTY Godfrey Sithole.

Vote for one:

No. 5 Coke Wisdom O'Neal: New York photographer who "builds 22-foot-high wood boxes and shoots people standing inside them."
No. 12 Typhoon Nurse: Male Canadian basketball player.
No. 4 ShaMiracle Johnson: University of Georgia law student.
No. 13 Roy Spancake: Editorial Committee member, Pennsylvania Lodge of Research. Our first NOTY Freemason!

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 NOTY: Sithole Regional, Part 1

Sometimes we think NOTY would make an awesome reality show. Call it Behind the Names. Get Bear Grylls to host. Put it on Discovery. Ratings gold.

The first 2010 sweeps week episode would have to be about Sithole Regional No. 1 seed God’s Power Offor. NOTY friend Andy Staples of SI.com has done the biographical legwork on the Nigeria-born, 6-2, 205, h.s. junior defensive end from Hialeah, Fla. (pictured above). Here's the story:

Justice Offor believed that the birth of his son was a sign of God’s power. So that’s what he named him. In Nigeria, a far more onomastically creative and tolerant society than our own, people loved the name. But in Miami, where the family emigrated, the elementary school kids weren’t quite as impressed. “It was hell being named that,” God's Power told Andy.

So hellish, in fact, that when God’s Power was in fourth grade, his mother, Nma, arranged for him to legally change his name to David. Yes, David. The papers were ready to to be signed. Nma told her son to think hard.

And as sure a sign as any that there is a God and that he has Power, the future NOTY No. 1 didn’t sign.

"This name has done everything for me," Offor said. "This name made me who I am."

And the family knows it. When Andy emailed us to make sure we hadn’t forgotten about God’s Power, we told him that God’s Power would, naturally, make the field of 64; Here's what Andy replied:

Awesome. G.P.’s dad called me wanting to know.

That’s right, people: Justice Offor called Andy Staples to inquire whether his son, God's Power, would be on the 2010 Name of the Year Ballot.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Sithole Regional note: No. 16 Peachy Trader has been INVALIDATED. The North Carolina Wesleyan women's basketball coach's name is actually Artina. Apologies for the lax verification. Heads will roll.

No. 1 God's Power Offor: Above.
No. 16 Spiral Lightninghawk: Minnesota shoplifter. With a neck tattoo!
No. 8 Special Jennings: Xavier women's basketball player.
No. 9 Syessence Davis: New Jersey girls h.s. basketball player.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

2010 NOTY: Bulltron Regional, Part 4

Congratulations to LaceDarius Dunn of the Baylor Bears, whom we just watched sleepwalk through a halftime interview on CBS! LaceDarius didn’t have what it takes make the NOTY field of 64 when he was nominated in 2008. But he’s just a game away from the NCAA Final Four. Better than nothing, kid.

As for other remaining NCAA tournament names, we also like LaceDarius's mellifluous teammate Quincy Acy (fellow Bear Tweety Carter's first name is, alas, actually Demond -- pronounced DEE-mond, his player bio helpfully reports); Cam Thoroughman of West Virginia; Shelvin Mack and Avery Jukes of Butler; and Melvin Goins and Skylar McBee of Tennessee, all of whom retain their NOTY eligibility for 2011. Duke, naturally, has no good names on its roster.

Breaking news in the bottom of the Bulltron Regional: No. 7 seed Two Willis has been INVALIDATED. Turns out his birth name is Charles Willis II. Take off your helmet, son. You, over there, you're in. Good luck. You'll need it.

No. 7 : Nu'Keese Richardson: Former Tennessee football wide receiver/attempted robber.
No. 10 Dr. Speedy Nutz: California dentist.
No. 2 X'Zavier Bloodsaw: NAIA Texas College QB. Not a very good team.
No. 15: Daron Populist: LSU guard.

Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 NOTY: Bulltron Regional, Part 3

Yes, we intentionally paired No. 6 Stalin Felipe and No. 11 Hitler Makofane. Can you blame us? But the possibility of a Hitler-Hannukkah second-round smackdown? We honestly didn't notice until it was pointed out. History just happens.

And what's up anyway with Hannukkah Wallace, a Jamaican bobsledder (and former sprinter) who, sadly, failed to qualify for the Vancouver Games? The AP investigates:

His mother was pregnant with him and working at a jewelry store at the airport in Kingston. A tourist suggested "Hanukkah" for her soon-to-be-born son's name. Somehow, the extra "n" got into the mix, for reasons that Wallace never understood.

Of course, that doesn't explain why mom took the tourist's suggestion. But there may be a simple cultural reason. According to a lengthy and interesting Hannukkah-prompted discussion on Language Log, a blog affiliated with the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Jamaicans are pretty laissez faire namers. (Usain, anyone?) Bonus detail: One commenter said her husband trained with Hannukkah and "did not know if Hanukkah [sic] was Jewish, but he pronounced it "Ha-NOO-kuh."

Baruch atah Adonai. The contestants:

No. 3 Hannukkah Wallace: See above.
No. 14 Cynnamon Crabb: Wife of Iowa copper thief.
No. 6 Stalin Felipe: Falsely accused Hofstra student. (Don't be afraid to use your cellphone video camera!)
No. 11 Hitler Makofane: South African soccer player.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2010 NOTY: Bulltron Regional, Part 2

Yes, we concede that Lolita Respectnothing was underseeded -- "criminally," according to one commenter -- at the top of the Bulltron. We accept the blame. We've grown a bit numb to Native American names; after Vernon Kills On Top and Chief Kickingstallionsims, what's left to say, really? But while the Respectnothing might have felt gimmicky, the Lolita should have put her over the (Kills On) top. Light of my life, fire of my loins. Sorry, Lo.

Onward:

No. 5 Dirk Kool: South Dakota State linebacker. And he's punted!
No. 12 Sequoyah Stonecipher: Minor league outfielder. Middle name is Trueblood.
No. 4 Jesus Leonardo: OTB scavenger. Seriously, he scavenges for tickets at an OTB parlor in Manhattan.
No. 13 Indiana Faithfull: Maine h.s. basketball player. (Yes, it should be two L's.)

2010 NOTY: Bulltron Regional, Part 1

It starts with the Georgetown-Princeton of NOTY 1-16 matchups. And it gets better from there.

We begin with the top quarter of the Bulltron Regional, named for Hall of Name inaugural class member and convicted felon Assumption Bulltron.

In the interest of time -- mine -- early voting will proceed the same way as last year. Fill out the first two rounds of your NOTY ballot. Then vote for whoever advances.

No. 1 Nohjay Nimpson: Triple-jumper and biology major at St. Joe's.
No. 16 Lolita Respectnothing: Colorado girls h.s. basketball player and Oglala Sioux.
No. 8 Rich Tanguy: Mid-level healthcare sales executive.
No. 9 Courvoisier Riley: Not-particularly-smart Arkansas robber.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2010 NOTY: The Podcast

The NOTY Seeding Committee Meeting was a Capitol affair this year. The wind was whipping down the outdoor pathways of power. Packs of earnest young Model Congresspeople strode by on their way to Change -- nay, Save -- the World. Bureaucrats broke from their stressful 7-3:30 jobs for powerless lunches at Au Bon Pain. People wondered what the hell the guy with the headphones on was doing.

Our business was far more important than anything transpiring down the block in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The questions at our hand would change the course of NOTY. To wit:

Should SummerStarr Grey make it past the first cut? Is Rejoice Oldjohn at this point just another African name? Cinnamon Frost or Cynammon Crabb? Have we had it with legal name changers like Captain Danger Awesome? (We have.) Is Spontaneous Gordon an instantaneous No. 1 seed? Is Dick Mingalone a worthy representative of the Dick party? Can he fill the designated Dick slot if Dick Smallberries Jr. can't fulfill his duties? Should legacy Wonderful Terrific Monds II get a ballot slot, or is it one NOTY nomination per family? And what of the late Savior God-Scientific Allah, a Detroit boy who tragically fell out of a window and died? Will his multidenominational name live on in NOTY?

We answer those pressing questions, and more, in the 2010 NOTY Seeding Committee Meeting Podcast. Bang it here to listen now.

Your 2010 Name of the Year Ballot

Each spring at NOTY, we experience the Five Stages of Name.

First is anticipation. The mere prospect of moniker upon magic moniker triggers paroxysms of delight: Tis the night before Dionte Christmas. But then fear sets in. What if this is the year without a Barkevious Mingo, a Destiny Frankenstein, a Vanilla Dong? What if this year’s NOTY doesn’t live up to the glory of the past?

The fear subsides when we crack open the inbox -- it used to be a manila folder -- and peruse the names we’ve stored and ignored for months. Relief. We are Columbus sighting land. Armstrong setting boot on moon. Prometheus discovering fire. And if Prometheus’s last name is -- well, if it’s anything, really -- we are stoked.

Panic is next. How many emails? Five hundred? Six hundred? A thousand? How many names to verify? Price and Waterhouse, it turns out, are unavailable during tax season. (Send applications for 2011 NOTY Intern to nameoftheyear@gmail.com.) It seems an impossible task, clearing the onomastic Augean Stables, separating the DeJuan Wheat from the Rick Chaff.

But we click and click. And chortle and guffaw. And finish. Earlier we mentioned 278 nominees. Well, we accepted another five; good to have you, ShaMiracle Johnson. Four others were excised. Nicknames are out, Tiny Gallon and Munchie Legaux. And you, Gelo Orange? Fourteenth place in 2007 wasn’t good enough?

And then we took the final 279 and we gathered -- this year, sadly, only two of us -- just blocks from the Supreme Court, in the event of an emergency cert petition for ballot inclusion. For three hours, we laughed and cried and dinged and whittled the field first down to 120 or so and then to the final 64 you’re probably reading instead of this.

Pride. Joy. Accomplishment. Anticipation again: Who will be the 2010 Name of the Year?

Yes, we know, that last stage included four emotions. Whatever. Here's the ballot in printable form. It's part Pennsylvania Quakers, part David Letterman, all retro, all Bulltron Regional No. 5 seed Dirk Kool. Study. Analyze. Enjoy. Prepare to exercise your democratic freedom.

Online voting begins shortly.

A round of applause for twoeightnine design for this year's brilliant logo and ballot.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who Will Be the Next Mingo?

In the aftermath of last year’s Name of the Year Tournament, we wondered whether there’s any work left to be done here. What mountains can be climbed, what streams forded, what galaxies far, far away explored that Barvkevious Mingo -- lord and master, Steampunk Emperor of the Kingdom of Mingovia, 2009 Name of the Year -- has not already climbed, forded and explored?

And then our inbox began to fill.

In this crazy name game, as in life, possibility keeps us young. One day in the early 1990s, Assumption Bulltron appears in a sworn affidavit and we think the pinnacle has been reached. Then along come Crescent Dragonwagon and Nimrod Weiselfish and Tanqueray Beavers and Vanilla Dong and, our friend, Destiny Frankenstein and the great and powerful Mingo to remind us that this big, blue marble is filled with mind-blowing names.

This year, a hell of a lot of them. The NOTY Seeding Committee is running a bit behind schedule this year, but rest assured it is not shirking its solemn task. We received more than 400 nominations from you, The People, for the 2010 Name of the Year. We tossed out the obvious nonstarters -- fans of Asian-themed phallic allusions will be disappointed -- and compiled a list of only the most worthy. That 278 names turned out to be “most worthy” is at once a spine-tingling testament to the onomastic smorgasbord of the human race and a daunting freaking challenge. The NCAA thinks it has reason to expand to 96? We could go 256 in a heartbeat.

But we won’t do that. Because it would be an insane clerical task. So we’ll do the painful job that we are charged with doing: whittling the field down to the most most worthy 64. Will photographer Coke Wisdom O’Neal -- nominee No. 1 on our list -- make the cut? How about No. 22 Nohjay Nimpson, a track and fielder at St. Joe's? Is No. 66 Spontaneous Gordon, whose car crashed into a bus in Delaware, an instantaneous No. 1 seed? Might she (yes, Spontaneous is a she) encounter the wrath of Mississippi high-school football player Furious Bradley, No. 105? What of highly touted nominee No. 115, Florida h.s. defensive end God's Power Offor? He told NOTY friend Andy Staples of SI.com that "this name has done everything for me." Everything, that is, except win NOTY. So far.

Can No. 138 Spartacus Bernstein of Brooklyn ride a golden chariot to the Sweet 16? Will he and No. 16, Princeton astrophysicist Aristotle Socrates, and No. 133, Massachusetts high-school baseball player Romulus Marino, and No. 205, Indian cricketer Napoleon Einstein, make this an historic ballot?

Will it be a blessed Shabbat for No. 38, Jamaican bobsledder Hannukkah Wallace? Will No. 113 Karma Sherpa continue the proud tradition of New York City cabbies on the NOTY ballot? Should we record the name of No. 137, convicted New Hampshire drug operative Pencilman Jeffries, in graphite or ink?

No. 184, golf coach Pina Gentile? No. 186, Evansville guard Shy Ely? No. 216, Virginia Tech footballer Nubian Peak? No. 246, Colorado high schooler Lolita Respectnothing? No. 250, Milwaukee student Dinero Fudge? No. 270, victim-of-the-economy Waver Brickhouse? No. 274, Kentucky defensive tackle Mister Cobble? No. 278, Texas university president Flavius Killibrew?

Is any of them the next Mingo? Can there be a next Mingo? And what of the Steampunk Emperor? How’s our divine leader doing on the playing fields of Baton Rouge?

According to LSU head coach Les Miles, after redshirting his freshman season and converting from linebacker, Mingo could see some time at defensive end in third-down situations this fall.

“He can be a guy who puts his hand on the ground and comes off the edge and give us a pass rush,” Miles said. “He's maturing and will be good enough there. Certainly with time, he'll be potentially a great player."

All hail Mingo! He will putteth his hand on the ground and scorcheth the FieldTurf! He will vanquish SEC offensive linemen coming off his sharp and fearsome edge! He will be good enough there -- and potentially great!

We’ll be back soon with the 2010 ballot, or at least another update.